(BW) Don't Expect Silicon Valley to Stop Asking for Political Favors (and a Quiz)

If legislators don’t stop granting favors to tech companies, they could transform Silicon Valley from a beacon of innovation into another dreary group of companies relying on government to protect them from competitors, argue George Mason University researchers Adam Theirer and Brent Skorup in a new paper about the history of cronyism in the tech sector. They also suggest that perhaps Silicon Valley should voluntarily disengage from the game.

Not likely. Silicon Valley’s lobbying spending has ballooned in recent years, with Google (GOOG) alone spending $18.2 million last year, more than AT&T (T), Boeing (BA), or Lockheed Martin (LMT), according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But if you really want to see the tech sector resembling every other deal-making, legislator-bullying, favor-seeking industry it claims to be different than, flip to Theirer and Skorup’s section on state and local governments. Tech companies have been getting deeply into the time-honored game of threatening to leave towns that want taxes from them. Some examples from the report….

Before you go and read it all, answer the quiz–how much did Google spend on lobbying last year (2012)?


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