What Lawmakers Don’t Understand About Tech Policy

Zach Graves and Daniel Schuman join us to discuss how Congress is designed to be a debate process, but it is hard to debate when you don’t have the expertise in a certain topic area, like technology. 

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Building Tomorrow isn’t in the business of encouraging government bloat, but in this episode we consider whether, sometimes, eliminating a government agency might be a penny wise, pound foolish decision. In particular, Paul and Will are joined by Zach Graves and Daniel Schuman as they discuss proposals to resurrect the Office for Technology Assessment, which had advised Congress on tech policy until getting the axe in the mid-1990s. Just as the Congressional Budget Office provides ostensibly non-partisan estimates of the cost of proposed legislation, the OTA would provide non-partisan reports weighing the costs and benefits of tech related legislation.

Do we lobby more than we use to? Why do employees leave their work at Capitol Hill? What is the purpose of executive orders? Which Congressional agencies focus on technology policy? What is the economic cost of not having privacy legislation now? How much power does the Congressional Budget Office have?

Further Reading:

How Congress Got Dumb on Tech—and How It Can Get Smart, written by Grace Gedye

Inside GAO’s Plan to Make Congress More Tech-Savvy, written by Jack Corrigan

Momentum builds for Congress restoring Office of Technology Assessment, written by Jory Heckman

House members call for Office of Technology Assessment revival, written by Katherine Tully-McManus

Related Content:

Decentralization and Privacy Are Inevitable — in Tech and in Government, written by Aaron Ross Powell

Emerging Tech (with Matthew Feeney), Free Thoughts Podcast

On Innovation: Don’t Ask for Permission, Building Tomorrow Podcast