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It’s time for all of us in business — whatever our political viewpoints — to call out the current dysfunction in Congress for what it is: certain businesspeople using politics to make money and advance their positions.

In today’s environment of misinformation and deflection — where the causes of our collective ignorance are masked in our growing contempt for our leaders — we must look at Congress and the government and see the problem clearly. The institution is not broken, but the idea of collective responsibility and governance is…and business broke it.

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Technology advances, but it also matures and becomes less lucrative. That’s one reason Lockheed Martin is spinning off its cybersecurity services business. Yet Dell is betting $50 billion on EMC, a manufacturer of several mature technologies. What does it all mean for the federal market? Federal Drive host Tom Temin asks Jonathan Aberman, the managing director of Amplifier Ventures and founder of Tandem NSI.

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When politicians talk about finding efficiency in government, they rarely talk about innovation in national security.

Listening to presidential candidates try to outdo themselves with plans on how much larger to grow the military, I am struck by how much the focus is on size. The discussion is on scale and types of forces. Candidates refer to numbers of ships and Army brigades as an analogue for our national security capabilities.

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The proposed merger of Exelon and Pepco is a cautionary reminder of persistent tension between innovation and businesses of scale.

Exelon is a nuclear energy giant. Pepco powers Washington, D.C. and a number of mid-Atlantic states, and has a less-than-stellar reputation for customer service due to its slow response to natural disasters and caller hold times longer than the life spans of certain invertebrates. A merger of these two companies appeared likely as one by one, state power commissions approved the deal until the last of them — the Public Utilities Commission of the District of Columbia — said, at least for now, “no way, no how.”

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The free market economy needs regulation, and we know that thanks to the work of Machine Gun Kelly.

The handsome con man and his ambitious wife survived during the Great Depression engaging in one of the leading entrepreneurial activities of the time: kidnapping for ransom. But they weren’t just brazen criminals, they were working the weaknesses in the system. A key one? They made sure to commit their crimes across state lines.

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small washpo

It’s that time again. The carnival side show known as the congressional budget process is playing out downtown, and greater Washington is reminded how dangerous it is being a company town when the mill owner is moody.

Yes, a government shutdown would affect our entire economy, as a portion of our workforce would be left without paychecks for period of time. However, the possibility of a reimposition of sequestration limits on federal spending is an ongoing threat. For two years, a short-term congressional agreement allowed federal expenditures to rise higher than sequestration limits. Many suggest our region has adjusted to the lower spending totals, but that is just wrong.

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Democracies are fragile and unique political systems and we should be doing more to protect ours.

It’s historical fact. Almost 1,800 years stretched between the fall of the Roman Republic and the Declaration of Independence establishing our American democracy. And with our current state of affairs in politics and frenzied media, it’s clear to me this nation is in danger of forgetting just how rare and difficult it is to maintain a representative democracy.

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To create jobs, it’s helpful to think about gazelles, those fast-growing entrepreneurial start-ups that rapidly scale into sustainable businesses with high-value jobs and prospects. In the greater Washington region, both community leaders and entrepreneurs invest time identifying these business successes and encouraging new ones to grow. I’ve been looking at data, hunting for patterns, spotting industries in which local gazelles are appearing. What I found both surprised and concerned me.

The U.S. economy has had two cycles of explosive growth in technology over the last 20 years. The first period I refer to as the era of the “Internet printing press.” It lasted from 1995 to 2001 and framed the establishment of the Internet as an infrastructure to support countless business opportunities. The second period I describe as the “era of sharing” — it stretches from 2003 to today. Our region’s participation in each of these two eras of expansion has been very different.

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Baseball great Satchel Paige cautioned, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

I want to quote him every time I discuss with community leaders what work will be required on the regional infrastructure over the next 30 years. They need to look over their shoulders more often; technology is coming and it’s coming fast. And it’s changing not only how but where we live.

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