Technology and the State of the Union

John Moe Jan 25, 2012

Our show today is about President Obama’s State of the Union speech. A few things kind of stood out for me as relating to technology and there may be some tea leaves to read even if tech wasn’t going to be in the big headlines.

Obama is pinning a lot on tech jobs – Obviously, jobs are a big issue heading into the election and unemployment numbers are being watched closely. The President said that we should double the tax incentives for high tech companies who bring jobs back to America. But as our guest Jonathan Zittrain said, it’s hard to tell what a high tech job actually is. “If somebody is building an iPhone for Apple, or a PC for Dell, I don’t know if that counts as a high tech job or not. It’s a form of manufacturing, but a plastic mold can as easily be for a doorstop as it can be to contain the guts for a computer,” he said.

SOPA? Nopa.  – Obama made mention of protecting copyright holders, especially from overseas trafficking. But he didn’t specify legislation and didn’t bring up SOPA or PIPA. That surprised some people but not me because those bills are totally dead. It would be like bringing up Herman’s Hermits.

Interactive? Not so much. – The White House offered two online feeds of the speech: one of them was the regular speech and the other had charts and graphs and explanations of the points he was making. There were also opportunities to chat like crazy about the speech all over the place. But not everything is social and this was really just a case of the President giving a prepared speech. I’m old fashioned but I’m kind of glad that we didn’t have to hear the President of the United States mention someone’s Twitter handle.


We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.

$5/month special ending soon!

Don’t wait: there’s less than 24 hours left to get (almost) any Marketplace thank-you gift.