Op Ed: Protect Tech Businesses from Fed Overreach

October 3, 2023

Oran P. Smith, Ph.D

Senior Fellow

South Carolina is a state with great potential. One of the reasons for this is that in the Palmetto State, our leaders still believe in the power of free enterprise. Here, the door is wide open to innovative policy solutions that expand opportunity for all.

An important source of this opportunity is found in our state’s growing tech sector. Tech companies are increasingly investing here in South Carolina in cities like Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville. It’s no surprise they’re drawn to the Palmetto State—our business-friendly policies and technical college system make South Carolina a prime spot for these companies to invest.

The results speak for themselves. In round numbers, the tech sector has contributed over $12 billion to South Carolina’s economy in the last year alone. And the industry employs approximately 54,000 South Carolina residents with no sign of slowing.

Our small business community has thrived thanks to the investments of tech companies, too. Free and accessible tools have enabled our local entrepreneurs to reach more customers and expand their business models. The industry has provided businesses with the opportunities and tools to capitalize on their innovative ideas.

And it’s not just South Carolina that benefits from this industry’s success. Our country’s tech sector ensures that America remains competitive in the global economy. As an example, the national tech sector provides well-paying jobs that promote economic growth and competition. Last year, the tech sector employed over nine million Americans —and the number of tech-related jobs is expected to grow by as much as 15 percent in the next decade.

These jobs contribute to shoring up an economy that is still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by providing more opportunities for employment nationwide. The tech industry has remained largely untouched by these financial struggles and consistently contributes trillions of dollars to our country’s economy. These companies remain essential to economic growth.

Yet not everyone understands this. Misguided attempts to turn the federal government into a kind of Tech Police abound, which would undermine our country’s historic commitment to free enterprise and threaten the very competitive spirit that drives innovation and growth in the industry. Indiscriminate assaults on the industry and attempts to overregulate from Washington [and Europe!] only serve to disrupt the economy and threaten the jobs of hard-working Americans.

As such, it’s imperative that our South Carolinian representatives continue to preserve the path for growth in the tech sector both in our state and across the country. Our leaders must prioritize commonsense policy solutions to concerns in the tech sector that protect American innovation and stimulate competition. In addition to fostering economic growth in South Carolina, this will also help us maintain our competitive global economic edge and prevent other countries from outpacing us in the tech sector.

At a time when the threat of a recession looms and pandemic-driven inflation lingers, we must focus on unshackling free enterprise. The free market is the key to bringing more economic abundance to our state. Tech companies bring investments in infrastructure and the workforce to our state and local economies, and we should support them.

Embracing the tech sector and all that it offers without a heavy hand from DC is essential if we are to see the Palmetto State reach its full economic potential.

This op-ed by Palmetto Promise Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Oran Smith appeared in The Greenville News, The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, and Yahoo! News on Sunday, September 24, 2023.