Snapchat CEO Joins Budget Hawks to Focus on Fiscal Issues
WASHINGTON — Snapchat Founder and CEO Evan Spiegel made a bit of a surprise appearance at the Committee for a Responsible Budget’s annual Budget Ball reception on Capitol Hill Tuesday night. The “camera company” entrepreneur was lauded for his focus on fiscal issues, but also took some time to differentiate Snap’s work from the social media companies currently under fire with legislators.
“Snapchat unlocks a form of self-expression that was unheard of 10 years ago,” Spiegel said, adding that perhaps unlike some other content sharing applications, Snap consulted legislative history to build a product “differently and more consistently with American values.”
CRFB took notice of Spiegel when, just over a year ago, he penned a letter to his company which included a harsh look at government spending, especially in light of future priorities.
In the letter Spiegel stated: “Investing in the future of our country to benefit our children’s children will be expensive. We will need to institute a more progressive income tax system and a substantially higher estate tax, and we will need corporations to pay a higher tax rate … While we are investing in the future, we will also have to reduce the federal deficit so that we are better prepared to meet any external shocks that may come in the future in our rapidly changing world. In short, people like me will pay a lot more in taxes — and I believe it will be worth it to create a society that benefits all of us.”
Spiegel stated at the reception that he believes three major events of the past have been critical in shaping the younger generation of Americans and their perspective. He contends the events of 9/11, the financial crisis, and COVID affect political attitudes and voting decisions of Millennials and Gen Z.
“If you look at these events and the way that our government has responded to them and worked through them, I think they are transformative in the way that young people look at the reflection of American values through our policy and our government,” Spiegel said.
CRFB and Spiegel advocate for greater review of spending programs to allow budgetary decisions to reflect national priorities, including providing assistance to younger and more disadvantaged Americans while reducing high levels of federal debt that will leave a massive burden on future taxpayers.
Spiegel, a self-proclaimed “product of D.C.” (his parents met on a blind date at the famed Old Ebbitt Grill near the White House), told Budget Ball attendees that Snapchat’s commitments to investing in the future shouldn’t just be educational and experiential for corporate profit, but for civic responsibility as well.
Alongside an intense focus on proliferating social connections and augmented reality, Snapchat has recently released a mini app within the product called Run for Office that allows users to see elections in progress around them and nominate friends for local office.
Spiegel claimed that over two million users had already used the tool since its recent release to find information, resources, and encouragement about potentially campaigning.
He said, “As we look to the future I think one of the things that gives us hope is how inspired our community actually is engaged with politics.”
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