How Do We Strengthen US Competitiveness
In a world where seemingly every nation is scrambling to bolster innovation and entrepreneurship, how can the U.S. strengthen its competitiveness? According to a new report from the Department of Commerce, the formula is simple and based on looking at the country’s track record for promoting innovation—increased government funding for research, education and infrastructure. It argues that “failures to properly invest in, and have comprehensive strategies for” those three pillars are responsible for the shrinking gap between the US and other nations.
Specifically, the Competitiveness and Innovation Capacity of the United States recommends the following:
- Continue to support government funding for basic research
- Enhance and extend the R&D tax credit
- Speed the movement of ideas from basic science labs to commercial application
- Address STEM shortcomings (in participation and performance)
- Increase spectrum for wireless communications
- Increase access to data to help spur innovation
- Coordinate Federal support for manufacturing
- Continue and strengthen efforts to foster regional clusters and entrepreneurship
- Promote America’s exports and improve access to foreign markets
- Ensure that the conditions exist in which private enterprise can thrive
Speaking before an event at the Center for American Progress (CAP), Commerce Secretary and former CEO John Bryson highlighted the importance role innovation plays in the nation's economy.
"This is a topic of pivotal importance," Bryson said. "Our ability to innovate as a nation will determine what kind of economy – what kind of country – our children and grandchildren will inherit, and whether it's a country that holds the same promise for them as it did for our parents and grandparents."
The Competitiveness and Innovation Capacity of the United States was mandated as part of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, which was signed into law by President Obama in January last year. The report addresses a diverse range of topics and policy options, including: tax policy; the general business climate in the U.S.; barriers to setting up new firms; trade policy, including export promotion; the effectiveness of federal research and development policy; intellectual property regimes in the U.S. and abroad; the health of the manufacturing sector; and science and technology education.