Technology companies are willing to pay a lot for a lot of things, but they’re not going to give up any of it for free.
That is the view of the technology industry’s leading investor and top lobbyist.
In a speech this week at the annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management, Andrew Liveris, the chief executive of General Electric, described the way the technology sector is trying to compete in the government marketplace as a “game changer.”
Liveris’s comments came during a panel discussion on the future of technology in government and the private sector, sponsored by the Center for American Progress.
The event, hosted by the left-leaning American Enterprise Institute, was held at the Omni Hotel in Washington, D.C. The panel discussion featured executives from companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, Airbnb, and Google Ventures, among others.
Liveris argued that while technology is an important part of the economy, it is also a key driver of inequality in America.
“The fact is that the world’s most successful tech companies are the ones that are taking on the most difficult problems in government,” he said.
“And in fact, those problems, if you go back to the 1980s, have been the ones where government has been doing the most work,” Liveris said.
The tech industry, which has become an important contributor to President Donald Trump’s White House transition team, is eager to use its influence to make the government work for the many, not just the few.
Liveries comments come after Trump signed an executive order on Friday to open up government to the private companies and tech giants.
Under the order, the executive branch can allow for “innovation” to be funded through grants and contracts.
“I think that is a game changer,” Liveries said at the panel.
“If you look at government as a way to get things done, it’s got to be a way that you can take the pressure off people, it has to be an environment where people can get paid fairly and fairly for their work, and we can create opportunities that are really hard to find.”
Trump has proposed funding for technology startups through a “Made in America” tax credit.
The technology industry, however, argues that such a tax credit will only help companies like Facebook, which have been profitable for years, and Airbnb, which is currently struggling.
“There is a lot more money that could be invested in things that are not going well for the economy,” Liverys comments.
“We are seeing a lot less innovation in government than we would like to.”
For more on the tech industry’s position on the administration, read The Wall Street Journal article “The government is doing the best it can with what it has,” Liveres said.