George Allen, the favored Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, dropped by the Aol Dulles campus Friday and talked to employees and readers of the Internet giant about his ideas for the future of technology and innovation in the U.S.
“We talk about America being the world capital of innovation. You all here with Aol are leaders in innovation,” Allen told a crowd of about 50.
Allen highlighted an internal Aol initiative to help spouses of armed forces employees find good-paying jobs. He said he wants to bring jobs to spouses of armed forces employees and to all Americans.
"America is open for business," he said.
“The American people are the hardest-working, most creative folks in the world," Allen said. "It’s not their fault that we have this high unemployment or high under-employment in this country. It’s our government that is imposing, in many respects, burdens that have put us at a competitive disadvantages.”
Allen said intellectual property should be protected but the Internet should be free of government regulations. He said companies who sell on the Internet shouldn't be taxed unless they have an actual physical location.
“The Internet is such a great tool for sharing innovation and ideas,” he said. “I look at the Internet as the best invention for sharing ideas and information since the Guttenberg Press. If Martin Luther had nailed his 95 theses … and they were torn down, who the heck would have read them? That’s the way the Internet is right now. It gets information into places that are oppressed.”
The candidate went on to say that American’s tax system needs to be simplified. At 35 percent, America has the highest tax rate in the world. Allen said the world average is 25 percent and Allen said he wants to lower it America's tax to 20 percent, which could create millions of new jobs.
Whatever has to be done needs to be done quickly, he said.
“Obviously this election is a pivotal election. In 2013 a lot of tough decisions are going to have to be made, it’s like chewing a clove of garlic and take a big spoon of cod liver oil at the same time.”
Allen said the United States should continue to focus on space exploration and travel even as the Space Shuttle program has wound down, but that it will be difficult to tackle big projects until the economy improves.
“The reality is, it’s going to be very hard to afford,” Allen said. Allen said 33 cents of every U.S. dollar spent is borrowed. Although he is an advocate of NASA, Allen said the nation has to focus on improving the economy first.
Allen said one of the first things he would do if elected would be to cut through red tape to gain approval for off-shore drilling and other initiatives to improve domestic energy production. He highlighted a website his campaign has launched called toomuchatthepump.com, which shows drivers how much it cost to fill their tank two years ago and how much it costs today.
Allen said he was in favor of the project to expand , but that it has to be done in a much more efficient manner than what is being done now. Allen said he has the same stance on the rail project as Gov. Bob McDonnell and Del. Tim Hugo.
Allen faces a Republican primary on June 12, but he is heavily favored as the leading candidate. Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is running for the U.S. Senate seat for the Democratic Party.