The shutdown of the federal government has earned deserved derision from all corners of American society, and the negative impacts of the debacle will be felt by millions even if it only lasts a short time. However, this is just one symptom of a broader illness affecting governmental budgeting that is sabotaging our economic future by severely inhibiting innovation, business development and long-term economic growth.
Restoring America's Lagging Investment in Capital Goods
This report analyzes U.S. business investment the past three decades. Business investment in capital equipment, software and structures grew by 2.7 percent per year on average during the 1980s and 5.2 percent annually during the 1990s. However, from 2000 to 2011 it grew by just 0.5 percent. As a share of GDP, business investment has declined by over 3 percentage points since the 1980s. Moreover, investment that was once broadly distributed across industries is now much more concentrated in a few select domestic service sectors, while industries that once powered U.S. investment growth and global competitiveness have seen sharp declines. This decline in investment negatively affects U.S. productivity growth and competitiveness. The authors argue that “short-termism,” the growing focus on short-term profits over long-term planning by many firms, and the diminished global competiveness of the U.S. economy has contributed to declines in private capital investment. ITIF calls on Congress to establish an investment tax credit and on the Administration to create task force to investigate the causes of and solutions to market short-termism.
R&D Tax Incentives to Stimulate Competitiveness, Jobs and Growth
Ezell will moderate a discussion on the use of tax reforms to spur innovation. It will include an analysis of recent laws passed by the government of Belgium to create a tax code that provides stronger support for innovation, R&D and entrepreneurship.
What Really Is Competitiveness?
Competitiveness is an important concept for measuring economic health but many get the meaning wrong. The true definition of competitiveness is the ability of a region to export more in value added terms than it imports when including for “terms of trade” to reflect all government “discounts” and import barriers.
Managing the Helium Reserve: Auctions are the Best Way to Allocate Scarce Resources
Unless Congress acts soon, the Federal Helium Program will begin shutting down on October 1. If this happens a valuable federal resource will lie unutilized and 42 percent of current domestic supply will disappear at a time when the helium market is already experiencing shortages. Congress should reauthorize the program with two changes. First, the government should increasingly use auctions to maximize its revenue. Second, since the Reserve will soon be depleted, annual sales should decline gradually, giving the markets time to adjust.