November 2, 2000
JIM LEHRER: Now to a one-on-one, our last week debate on who should be the next President of the United States. Elizabeth Farnsworth in San Francisco has tonight's.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Joining me tonight are two executives in the
high-technology field. Floyd Kvamme is partner at Kleiner, Perkins,
Caulfield, and Byers, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. He has
advised Governor Bush on technology issues. David Ellington is co-founder,
chairman, and CEO of Netnoir, an African-American culture and lifestyle
Internet site. He has also served as president of the Telecommunications
Commission for the city and county of San Francisco. He supports Vice
DAVID ELLINGTON: There is a variety of reasons of course -- the first being his resume. I mean, he's been in public life for about 24 years, congressman, Senator, of course Vice President for the last eight and he helped to lead and been part of the team that's helped lead the biggest economy, the most roaring economy we've ever had in the history of this country. I find him to be truly competent approachable, and sensitive to those things that I really find near and dear to my heart.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Like?
DAVID ELLINGTON: A variety of issues. His position on technology issues, of course, which is why we are here tonight; but also civil rights, his approach to the environment, global issues, whether it is violence or in general, child, children's abuse and different countries in terms of labor. There is a host of issues that I really find that he's really sensitive to and I support.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: And Mr. Kvamme, why do you supports Governor Bush?
FLOYD KVAMME: Well, I think a number of things as well. First of all, I would say his leadership. I think he's done an outstanding in Texas. I don't think 70% of Texans would have reelected him had he not done an outstanding job and I think that's shown in his education record in Texas and a number of other areas. I think secondarily because of his entrepreneurial feel. Entrepreneurship is a real reason why America has had the technology boom that we've been part of. And he has understood that people are the assets today, not machines. And I think that's very, very important to have that understanding, and I think he shows a clear understanding of that. I think he understands part of entrepreneurship is a shareholder in a democracy. Certainly out here in the valley, all of our employees have stock options. We want them to be part of the company, and we think that's an important role. I think his Social Security plan for example, for the young goes in that direction and that's why I support that. And then lastly, compassion; I am -- I have got on the know the Governor. He is a very compassionate individual -- his education program not wanting to leave any child behind I think is a big part of that. But not only that, I mean, if you look into a situation like we had recently with his visit out here, where we were talking to single mothers who had young children, yes, their hopes were for their child. But he would like their hopes to be for them as well or for themselves. And I think that's important.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Entrepreneurial feel. What about Vice President on that?
DAVID ELLINGTON: Well, the first time I met the Vice President was here in the valley and actually, I was part of a group called Tech-Net and we had a meeting with him up in Sacramento. And that's the first time I realized that he got the industry, he got the technology. He embraced it. It wasn't foreign to him. He uses it on a regular basis. I think -- so he understands the entrepreneurial spirit because that's been demonstrated by the policies that he's helped to support. Whether it is H1B visas, the immigration issue, whether it is -- he's against Internet taxation and a host of things we find really important in our industry and we found them to support that 150%. But also though, you know, I have heard about and I understand Floyd's point about the Governor and his positions on education and whatnot. But I have a problem with that in juxtaposed to what's actually happened in the state of Texas as was earlier mention in that piece where Vice President Gore mentioned that the reality is that Texas is dead last in ranked in the country in terms of its education for kids as well as health care. I mean, so, I'm more concerned with, and that also affects entrepreneurs, it affects my ability to hire and train and have really qualified employees and making sure that they are safe and that they know that they have health care and that their kids are going to be educated and that they themselves can continue education and I have seen proposals by specifically Vice President Gore that have been much more supportive of that than from Governor Bush or anything he's actually executed on.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Mr. Kvamme?
FLOYD KVAMME: Well, I obviously think David has got the data wrong there. He's not dead last, he's alive first in education particularly for youngsters of color. And I think that's very, very important -- closing that gap. And he cares about that. He spent a lot of time on education in Texas and has done very, very well. I think the other point relative to the medical thing that a lot of people miss, the Vice President wants to talk about spending levels. The governor wants to talk about results. Those of us who go out to shop aren't proud of how much we spend, we are proudest of what results we get. I think the Governor has shown himself to be a very efficient spender of the people of Texas's money and I hope he would do the same for Americans.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: What about getting the Internet and getting the high-tech issues?
FLOYD KVAMME: Well, I am very, very impressed there. Brown University just issued a study showing that Texas's citizen centered e-tech program, e-government program is the number one in the country. And the Vice President talks a lot about. But in his reinventing government, he hardly used the Internet.
DAVID ELLINGTON: But that's not accurate. I mean, for example, his whole e-rate strategy has been one of the most phenomenal natural ways to fund. In general terms, the e-rate would set aside -- it is another program to allow for certain amount of funding of schools to help support the Internet and access to the Internet for schools across the country. That was attacked by the Republicans in Congress, and it was undermined in the -- Governor Bush at the time has not supported it. The point is in, terms of people of color, you know, there is one whole piece of - that I'm concerned about - and it's also a general philosophy because are in the technology industry; we're not in a kind of a vacuum - we're affected by all the issues as well. Of course, both - it needs to be said, think both candidates do pretty well on the tech issues in a variety of ways and on the big things that we deal with. But, beyond that, it's a philosophical approach to government, and I just have a bigger issue with Governor Bush's approach, which says to me Gore's for states' rights; he's much more for -- and here we have a Vice President who has actually reduced government more than in any -- modern history terms of actually reducing 300,000 jobs in the federal government, in the work force. He has tried to be attacked on that issue, when it's really kind of - it's fallacial to actually try to suggest that Vice President gore is about big government. That's exactly the opposite. If anything, they've reduced the size of government and increased the economy. How can you do both and still be for big government? I don't understand.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: The economy as a whole, making it continue to grow, who would be -- why do you think that Governor Bush would be best on that?
FLOYD KVAMME: Well, there's no question about that. And again, I have to respond to what David has said because I'm afraid, David, you are again wrong. The facts are that tax freedom day for the average American has moved beyond April --it is into early May now and has been on a steady course upward through this last administration. We are paying a higher percentage of the GDP for our government services, than at any time in history. And the 300,000 jobs, David, that was the military that was -- principally offset that.
DAVID ELLINGTON: That's a significant part of
FLOYD KVAMME: That's a very significant part.
DAVID ELLINGTON: There is also reduction, period. But the point is, in the overall reduction in federal work force and that's the goal. And why was that? Because again, Vice President Gore supports a stronger military, and he's actually allocated more money for the military in his budget, and he's also -- to help pay folks. One of the things -- Floyd and I know each other. We met a few weeks ago and went on kind of a, what would you call it -
FLOYD KVAMME: A fascinating tour.
DAVID ELLINGTON: A fascinating tour. We actually went around and saw all five branches of the military, and one of the things that we observed is that how they are trying to figure of under the ways to upgrade the military. And they wanted some high-tech leaders to make impressions and try to give them our impressions, whatever. The point is that Vice President Gore has proposed actually increasing technology usage, but then also, trying to pay more to our existing servicemen because folks like us are competing with the services to keep them in.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Respond to that and I want to come back to the economy.
FLOYD KVAMME: But at the end of the day from a technology point of view, Vice President Gore has been here something like 70 time, Governor Bush something like 17 times and five times as many as our high-tech leaders, CEO's, support Governor Bush than Vice President Gore.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Why, what's at stake here, and why do they support Governor Bush?
FLOYD KVAMME: Because of his view for limited government, limited regulation. You see, regulation costs in a growth industry. You don't see: There is no growth industry that's a regulated industry; it doesn't exist. So, we are a growth industry. That's where our jobs come from, and regulations also hurt people who want to start a company. Small businesses that get over regulated can't be started. And that's why we think that's so critically important -- the whole nature of running everything through government. David talked about targeted tax cuts. When you target, there is -- somebody has to set the targets. If that's government as opposed to across the board, you have a problem.
DAVID ELLINGTON: Yeah, but of course we're talking about, the point that's been driven home to all of us, you know, we're talking about 1% of the folks receiving the largest chunk in the benefit of that tax cut. We all pay taxes.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: What's at stake for the high-tech economy?
DAVID ELLINGTON: What's at stake for us, for example, here in the Bay area, it is very expensive to live. We need this kind of a -- we need support and relief from middle class folks, because they are going through such a tough experience right now because things have just gotten so expensive: Housing, education, food, basic requirements. And, the suggestion that across the board is going to -- again, it reminds me of this thing called trickle down economics -- I think we've all heard from that same party that proved that it didn't work and ended up causing us more deficits and really, undermine the growth of the economy.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Now, you both
DAVID ELLINGTON: We've had eight years of great economy, how you can fight with that?
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: You've both had experience internationally too -- the global economy, who would be better?
FLOYD KVAMME: There is no question that Governor Bush would be better in a global economy. The controls that we have on our high-tech exports have a huge problem. This country's deficit has gone in 1992 from $40 billion to $400 billion this year because there are controls on all exporters. That's not necessary. We need to provide jobs for American workers.
DAVID ELLINGTON: There is a variety of reasons why.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: There isn't enough time.
DAVID ELLINGTON: This current administration, of course there is GATT. We are a part of international agreements. Also the fact is there are certain national security issues involved when you are talking about some of the products trying to -- encryption technology and a host of other things that also supported bipartisanly by the House and Senate on both side of the aisle supporting it. That's kind of -- it is not an issue for us in this campaign in that sense, I don't think.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Okay, David Ellington, Floyd Kvamme, thanks for being with us.
JIM LEHRER: Still to come on the NewsHour tonight, motivating people to vote in Florida, and living in space.