From the Editor: Election Matters

Some say that business publications have no business writing about politics. They say it’s too emotional, or that it’s not relevant to business. I’ll grant you that the former is true and gives me pause. But the latter couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no getting around the fact that the laws and policies set by elected officials directly affect business.

One small example: For those who invest in biotechnology, the current administration’s stance on stem cell research hamstrings the development of drugs that would improve the lives of millions and create billions of dollars in profits for the startups that create those drugs.

Many other important issues will confront our next president:

* Trade policy. Do we continue to grant Most Favored Nation status to China, where the private equity market is finally taking off but the government has an abysmal human rights record?

* Government spending for basic research. Do we increase R&D commitments even if it’s deficit spending?

* Health care. If there is a renewed push toward universal health care, how would that affect drug and medical device companies?

* Federal agency appointments. One person can make a big difference-think Michael Powell of the FCC or Fed Chief Alan Greenspan.

* Financial market regulation. Will Sarbanes-Oxley be strengthened or gutted? Is new hedge fund regulation a precursor to private equity industry oversight?

* Terrorism. Should we focus more attention and spending on technologies to secure the home front?

* Iraq. Can it be stabilized, and at what cost to the U.S. economy?

We will discuss these issues and more in our October issue, and we want you to weigh in. Specifically, we want to know which presidential candidate will be best for the venture capital business. We’re lining up folks to write Viewpoints in support of their favorite candidate.

Rest assured we’ll give both sides equal space to make their case and let readers make up their own minds. To get involved with the process, drop me a line at

My colleague Dan Primack will also be conducting some presidential polls via the PE Week Wire email service. You can sign up for it by emailing