ITIF President Rob Atkinson made the following statement on the U.S. Department of Commerce report, "The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States," delivered today to Congress.
"For years, ITIF has provided a clear message on U.S. economic competitiveness: We are losing our edge, particularly in innovation. A country that is not innovative cannot be competitive in today's global innovation race. The Great Recession and the stubbornly-slow recovery is a direct result of this fact and provide a sobering glimpse of our future unless we take a hard look at America's competitiveness and innovation strategy, or lack thereof.
That's why two years ago, we proposed and began working closely with Senators Klobuchar, Warner and LaMieux to develop a national innovation and competitiveness strategy and include it in the re-authorization of the COMPETES Act. I was delighted to see it come to fruition and I was proud to serve on the advisory panel with distinguished public and private sector leaders.
I hope this is a first step in the process of Washington waking up to the urgent innovation challenge and giving it the same attention as the budget deficit. But we need to do more than merely wake up. We must bound out of our complacency and partisanship as if our future depends on it, because it does.
To renew American competitiveness, we must focus on what ITIF terms the four T's: technology, talent, trade and taxes. The 11 recommendations in this report address the four T's in critical and interconnected ways. These recommendations can guide what we need to do to win the innovation race."
Atkinson served on a national Innovation Advisory Board, which provided the Commerce Department insights and recommendations for assessing and crafting an innovation strategy. The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 was signed into law by President Obama in January 2011.
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. The report makes three important findings:
- Federal investments in research, education and infrastructure were critical building blocks for American economic competitiveness, business expansion and job creation in the last century;
- Failures to properly invest in, and have comprehensive strategies for, those areas eroded America's competitive position; and,
- In a constrained budgetary environment, prioritizing support for these pillars are imperative for America's economic future and provide a strong return on investment for the U.S. taxpayer.
Speaking before an event at the Center for American Progress, Commerce Secretary, and former CEO, John Bryson highlighted the important role innovation plays in the nation's economy. "This is a topic of pivotal importance," said Commerce Secretary Bryson. "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 full report, as well as additional resources, can be found online at www.commerce.gov/competes.