Former U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Kent Conrad
We frequently found ourselves on opposing sides of the debate during the decade we spent together in the U.S. Senate.
Yet, as it relates to an increasingly pressing matter of economic security — whose gravity has only grown since the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak — these two former Senate colleagues have a common perspective: America’s technological edge must be protected.
When we began our respective careers on Capitol Hill, scores of innovations born out of that edge had not yet been invented — and remarkable digital tools we now regard as ordinary had not yet been dreamed of. Today, those same tools are indispensable ingredients in the strength of our economy at large, as well as in the success of America’s small businesses.
Back in 2017 alone, the digital economy — which grew more than three times as fast as the overall economy between 2006 and 2016 — accounted for a staggering 6.9% of U.S. gross domestic product or $1.35 trillion. During that same year, the digital economy also supported 5.1 million jobs, which accounted for roughly 3.3% of the American workforce.
As it works to generate economic growth across America, the preservation of our country’s tech edge is particularly important to us as former representatives of states that rely heavily on a robust small business sector. In Georgia, for instance, “small businesses make up 97 percent of companies doing business” — a figure that only increases in the Flickertail State as nearly 99% of all businesses in North Dakota are considered small businesses.