Just a few days after Obama’s re-election campaign adopted the mobile payment system Square to help increase its fundraising efforts, the president is already taking further steps to cozy up to the tech industry.
Last night in his “virtual town hall” on Google+, President Obama addressed the SOPA/PIPA controversy that has internet denizens everywhere in a tizzy.
In the town hall, Obama said that he hoped Hollywood foces and internet companies would be able to find a workable solution that would not affect “the fundamental integrity of the Internet as an open, transparent system.” He also offered to help an out-of-work engineer find a job, after the man’s wife told the president that her husband had spent three years out of work since being laid off.
Now, Obama is urging Congress and the SEC to change financial regulations to make it easier for small startups to earn money.
Obama is proposing to increase the amount companies can raise through small public offerings without the expense of a lengthy and complex registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission registration process. The limit for such “mini public offerings”, according to the AP, would increase from $5 million a year to $50 million. Everyone gets an IPO!
So what exactly is going on here? Is Obama trying to be the next political ally of the Silicon crowd, a la Mayor Bloomberg? Obviously, this could just be crafty politics. The tech industry recently emerged from total political apathy to rally a diverse group of people to oppose SOPA and PIPA. There’s a lot of money in tech right now, and if this continues, the industry could become an important political force to be reckoned with.
Then again, some have said that Obama’s treatment of the unemployed engineer actually demonstrates just how out of touch he is with the job market — a market that often has no job offerings for older techies, despite a multitude of promising, new companies.
One thing is certain: Obama is going out of his way to appear friendly to the tech world. However, this is not a group of people likely to just take his words at face value. Tread lightly, Mr. President.
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