The Clinton Presidency:|
Unleashing the New Economy and Expanding Access to Technology
President Clinton and Vice President Gore came into office with an
agenda to use the revolution in information technology to improve
Americans' quality of life and reinvigorate the economy. Since 1993,
they have made smart investments in science and technology that have
helped build the New Economy. The Clinton-Gore Administration's work
has created a strong economy spurred by new technologies, increased
access to computers and the Internet to share the benefits of the new
economy, and put in place a strong research and development strategy
that will continue to pay off in the years to come.
Investing in Science, Technology and Biomedical Research
Building the New Economy
|THEN:|| American technological edge begins to erode.|
America was on the cusp of a new Information Age. The U.S.
edge in technology was beginning to erode in some of our prominent
industries, in part due to the lack of a coherent plan on how to
effectively tap information technology's potential. The Cold War
had ended, but the government continued to invest most of the
federal research dollars into defense, rather than into civilian
research that directly contributes to long-term economic growth,
creates jobs, improves education and protects the environment. In
1993, only 42 percent of the federal government's research and
development investments went to civilian research.
|NOW:|| Technology powering strong economic strength.|
President Clinton and Vice President Gore wanted to use
information technology to improve Americans' quality of life and
reinvigorate the economy. They increased funding in civilian
research and development by 43 percent, without significantly
reducing the investment in defense research, and increased R&D
support to universities by 53 percent. President Clinton also made
investments to spur private sector innovation, help improve our
environment, and improve the nation's health.
- Between 1993 and 2000, President Clinton invested an
additional $10 billion in a range of science and technology
programs included in the 21st Century Research Fund. This
includes the largest increase ever for the National Science
Foundation, which supports much of the research that trains
the next generation of America's scientists and engineers.
President Clinton also fought for the Next Generation
Internet, which is connecting universities and national labs
at speeds that are 1,000 times faster than today's Internet,
and major increases in long-term information technology
research. In 2001, investments in the 21st Century Research
Fund will total $44.9 billion.
- The President worked with Congress to extend the Research and
Experimentation tax credit for another five years, through
2004, the longest expansion of this policy ever. Extending
the tax credit will encourage companies to undertake new
multi-year research activities, secure in the knowledge that
the 20 percent tax credit will continue to be available.
- The Clinton Administration has invested in programs such as
the Climate Change Technology Initiative to develop clean
energy to reduce the pollution that can lead to global
warming. This Initiative is a comprehensive program of
research investments and targeted tax incentives to spur the
development of clean energy technologies. The President has
also increased the investment in nanotechnology research,
which is the manipulation of matter at the atomic and
molecular level. Nanotechnology research could lead to
breakthroughs such as the ability to store the equivalent of
the Library of Congress in a device the size of a sugar cube,
materials nearly 10 times stronger than steel and a fraction
of the weight, and the ability to detect tumors when they are
only a few cells in size.
- President Clinton and Vice President Gore have made
unprecedented investments in biomedical research, nearly
doubling funding for the National Institutes of Health since
1993 -- a $10 billion increase. As a result, NIH supports
the highest levels of research ever on nearly all types of
disease and health conditions, making new breakthroughs
possible in vaccine development and use, the treatment of
chronic disease, and prevention and treatment of disease.
The President's National Bioethics Advisory Commission issued
recommendations on ethical standards for the conduct of stem
cell research. Stem cells may one day be used to replace
cardiac muscle cells for people with heart disease, nerve
cells for hundreds of thousands of Parkinson's patients, or
insulin-producing cells for children who suffer from
- As a part of overall NIH funding, President Clinton and Vice
President Gore have strongly supported the efforts of the
National Human Genome Research Institute to map the entire
human genome. The completed map will dramatically change
medical care, opening new doors in the effort to learn more
about detection, treatment, and prevention of serious
diseases. On March 14, 2000, President Clinton announced
that he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed on a
statement of principle to ensure that discoveries from the
human genome are used to advance human health. Their joint
statement applauds researchers who have made their raw human
genome sequence data freely available to the global
scientific community and calls upon others to follow their
Encouraging the Growth of the Internet and Electronic Commerce
|THEN:|| Economic promise of technology.|
In 1992, the technology revolution was just about to hit.
Only 10 million people worldwide were connected to the Internet,
and as recently as 1994, just 24 percent of American households had
a computer. The United States exported $24.9 billion in computer
equipment in 1992, and the nation had not yet experienced the
benefits of the coming technology revolution.
|NOW:|| Leadership has helped foster technology and fueled the
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have fostered the
tremendous growth in technology in the past eight years and helped
to ensure that the New Economy has flourished, turning around the
stagnant economic growth of the 1980s. By August 2000, the number
of American households with a computers had grown to 51 percent,
and over 200 million people worldwide are connected to the Internet
- opening a world of possibilities to Americans. Exports of
computer equipment had grown to $41.4 billion in 1997, and the
number of patent applications increased by 40 percent since 1992.
The increasing prevalence of the Internet led to a growth in
electronic commerce, which has expanded the reach of small
businesses by allowing them to reach hundreds of millions of
customers around the world.
- President Clinton signed the Internet Tax Freedom Act, a
3-year moratorium on Internet access taxes and taxes that
discriminate against e-commerce.
- The Clinton Administration won an agreement in the World
Trade Organization to place a temporary moratorium on duties
on electronic transmissions, making cyberspace a "duty-free
- In October 1998, the President signed the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act, helping to protect America's intellectual
property in cyberspace.
- On June 30, 2000, the President signed the Electronic
Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, which gives
online contracts the same force of law as paper contracts.
Customers can finalize mortgages, sign insurance contracts,
or open brokerage accounts online.
- The President and Vice President have encouraged the private
sector to protect individual privacy through self-regulation,
third-party audits and enforcement mechanisms. In just over
a year, the number of commercial Internet sites with privacy
policies has increased from 15 percent to 66 percent.
- President Clinton signed the Children's Online Privacy
Protection Act, which requires commercial Web sites to get a
parent's permission before collecting personal information
from minors. In May 1999, Vice President Gore announced the
Parents' Protection Page, an important new commitment by
Internet companies to give parents the resources to protect
their children from inappropriate material on the Internet
and the knowledge to supervise and guide their children's
- President Clinton signed the first comprehensive
telecommunications reform legislation in over sixty years,
which lowered prices, increased customer choice, and sped the
deployment of new technology.
"I want to acknowledge the contributions of President Clinton and Vice
President Gore in shaping the administration policy, and in legislation
supporting research and development that's needed to make Internet a
global reality, and to continue its astonishing evolution."
Bridging the Digital Divide
Expanding Access to Computers and Technology Training
|THEN:|| Limited access to technology for most Americans.|
In 1992, home computers were rare, and as recently as 1994
only three percent of classrooms were connected to the Internet.
Today, more homes and schools are connected but a divide still
exists -- 77.7 percent of households earning $75,000 or more have
Internet access, compared to 12.7 percent earning $15,000 or less.
|NOW:|| Expanding opportunity created by technology.|
As the first Administration of the Internet Age, President
Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked to make technology
available for all Americans. Since 1992, the President and Vice
President have tripled funding for Community Technology Centers,
which provide computer and Internet access in low-income urban and
rural neighborhoods. The President and Vice President are
supporting innovative applications of information technology for
low-income families through the Department of Commerce, such as
telemedicine for prenatal care and distance learning for people who
have lost their jobs. The Administration has challenged the
private sector to develop new business models for low-cost
computers and Internet access -- to make universal access at home
affordable for all Americans. President Clinton mobilized major
public and private efforts to bridge the digital divide during his
third New Markets Tour, when over 400 companies and non-profit
organizations signed a "National Call to Action" to bring digital
opportunity to youth, families, and opportunities. The Call to
Action sets goals such as ensuring that every child is
technologically literate, and making home access to the Internet as
common as the telephone.
"Community technology centers provide low-income individuals with skills
training and the ability to produce their dreams. They are also an
important entryway to the technology industry. We think of President
Clinton as our first angel investor: his Administration's work has been
fundamental to Plugged In and to the community technology center
"As we enter the Internet Century, nothing is more important than
providing our young people - all our young people - with the skills and
resources to thrive in this new age. We're grateful for the support that
we've received from across the industry, the non-profit world and
government. Something exciting is happening here and the momentum is
- Magda Escobar, Executive Director, Plugged In, East Palo Alto,
California. Magda Escobar's community technology center shares the
opportunities created by the information revolution with residents of
East Palo Alto, a low-income community located in Silicon Valley, the
epicenter of the technological revolution. Plugged In trains teenagers
in web development to ensure that the opportunities of the technology
revolution are shared with the entire community.
Increasing Technology Access in Schools
- Steve Case, Chairman of PowerUP and Chairman of AOL Time Warner.
PowerUP is a national initiative to provide underserved youth access to
technology and guidance on how to use it. In conjunction with President
Clinton's "digital divide" trip in April 2000, PowerUP committed to
establishing 250 sites in 43 states at after-school locations such as
Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and K-12 schools.
The E-Rate is Opening New Doors for American Students
|THEN:|| Educational technology a low priority.|
A decade ago, computers were largely luxuries in the most
affluent school districts. In 1994, only three percent of
classrooms had computers that were connected to the Internet, and
in 1994 only 35 percent of public schools had any Internet access
at all. Students had little opportunity to learn to use computers
and to explore the Internet, and the government had not mobilized
its resources to expand the use of technology in our schools.
|NOW:|| Historic investments in educational technology lead to 95
percent of public schools connected to the Internet.|
Understanding the critical importance of incorporating
technology into the classroom, the Clinton-Gore Administration made
increasing access to technology in our schools a top priority.
President Clinton and Vice President Gore created the E-rate and
the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund to help connect every school
to the Internet, increase the number of multimedia computers in the
classroom and provide technology training for teachers. President
Clinton increased investments in educational technology and
training from $23 million in 1993 to $769 million in FY 2000. In
addition, with the Vice President's leadership the E-rate has
secured low-cost connections to the Internet for schools,
libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals, providing discounts
worth over $2 billion annually. The number of classrooms connected
to the Internet has increased to 65 percent in 1999, and the number
of public schools connected rose to more than 95 percent.
Victor Shen, Whittier, Alaska. Victor Shen, a 16-year-old high school
junior, is one of more than 30 million American children who are online
because of the Clinton-Gore Administration's E-rate. Victor lives in
Whittier Alaska, which is isolated from the rest of the world for six
months out of the year because of its remote location and severe
weather. Victor was cut off from commerce, cut off from transportation,
cut off from society, and cut off from pursuing his dream for the
future. Victor wanted to grow up to be a mathematician, but his teachers
didn't have the best resources to teach him; nor could they afford an
Internet connection to connect Victor to his dream. Thanks to Vice
President Gore's leadership in securing the E-rate, Victor's school is
now connected to the Internet and Victor is now connected to learning
and connected to his dream. The Whittier Community School is online
because of the 90 percent discount they received from the E-rate.
"The Internet allowed my students to go to a place and learn about
something they could never have done before. The Internet erases
boundaries of age and class. Everyone can access it in an equal way. In
Paradise, this is especially important because of the limitations some
of these children face."
- Beth Paterson, fourth-grade teacher at Paradise Elementary,
California. Paradise Elementary is a part of the Paradise Unified
School District, which serves Paradise and Magalia, an isolated and
rural community in the foothills of California's Sierra Nevada Mountains
with a significant low-income population. The E-Rate has allowed
Paradise to build $300,000 of network infrastructure, network computers
and install T-1 lines.
Expanding Electronic Government
Expanding Access to Technology
|THEN:|| Limited electronic access to government.|
In the early 1990s, the Internet was not widely available, but
by the end of the decade millions of Americans were online. In
1992, neither the White House nor any Cabinet agency had a web
page, and citizens were unable to access government information
online. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked to
ensure that the U.S. government used information technology to
bring government closer to the American people.
|NOW:|| Internet expands citizen access to government.|
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have used the power
of the Internet to make government work better for people. They
moved the government online, and in October 1994 they unveiled the
first White House Internet page, which provides a road map to the
federal government. Today, every Cabinet department has a web site
to make information and services available to the American people
at the touch of a button. In September 2000, the Clinton
Administration launched FirstGov.gov, making all of the
government's online resources available and searchable at a single
- Increased Education Technology Funding: President Clinton and Vice
President Gore increased our investment in educational technology
by over 3,600 percent -- from $23 million in FY 1993 to $872
million in FY 2001.
- Training Teachers to Use Technology: Grants supported by the
Department of Education are training over 600,000 new teachers to
use technology effectively in their classrooms.
- Connecting Schools to the Internet: The number of public schools
connected to the Internet has increased from 35 percent in 1994 to
95 percent in 1999. In addition, 63 percent of all public school
classrooms were connected to the Internet in 1999, up from 3
percent in 1994.
- Created the E-Rate: More than 80 percent of America's public
schools have benefited from the E-rate, which has helped connect 30
million children and up to 47,000 schools and libraries to the
- Tripled Funding for Community Technology Centers: President Clinton
and Vice President Gore tripled funding for Community Technology
Centers to reach at least 120 low-income communities, helping to
close the digital divide by providing computers and Information Age
tools to children and adults unable to afford them at home.
- Presidential Online Firsts: On June 30, 2000, President Clinton
signed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce
Act with a "smart card," marking the first electronic bill signing
in history. He also moved the tradition of the Saturday
Presidential Radio Address online when he held the first Saturday
Web Address on June 24, 2000. President Clinton was the first
president to participate in an online chat, which was moderated by
the Democratic Leadership Council and held November 9, 1999. On
February 14, 2000, President Clinton participated in the first
online chat with a news organization in history, hosted by CNN.com.
President Clinton also became the first president to shop online in
December 1999, when he went Christmas shopping from his desk in the