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ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson called on Congress, in testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation and Export Promotion, June 22 to lead a drive to spur innovation. “For over 50 years after World War II,” he said, the U.S. was “the global innovation leader.” But in the past decade, we had “lost that lead and our rank seems to be rapidly slipping.” He said the government needs to “better support innovation” and “charge the Administration with the creation of a national competitiveness and innovation strategy.” Atkinson told the Senators, “Government’s role in addressing the innovation economy is not to regulate business or to direct the path of technological development….Government should be a facilitator that spurs firms to innovate in ways that serve the public interest.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce in an April 13 White Paper called for patent reform legislation citing a backlog of 750,000 applications, costing the economy billions of dollars in “foregone innovation.” It pointed to technological innovation as a “key driver of a pro-growth, job-creating agenda.”
The government agency which has been a well-spring of innovation that has created jobs, new markets, and new technology through the years is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). But when President Obama announced his new budget in February, he scrapped NASA’s moon-bound Constellation program saying the nation “plans to work with international partners in future space exploration.” This seemed to contradict the words as recently as Feb. 1 of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, emblazoned on the NASA website:
“Today we are launching a bold and ambitious new space initiative to enable us to explore new worlds, develop more innovative technologies, foster new industries, increase our understanding of the earth, expand our presence in the solar system, and inspire the next-generation of explorers.”
But a stunning and far-reaching restatement of the space agency’s goals was set forth by Administrator Bolden, and reported widely, including by FrontPage Magazine July 12. Bolton said President Obama had ordered him to pursue three new objectives: to “re-inspire children” to study science and math, to “expand out international relations,” and to “reach out to the Muslim world.” Bolden said the mission to reach out to Muslims is “perhaps foremost” because it will help Islamic nations “feel good” about their contributions to science, math, and engineering.
It’s doubtful few jobless Americans “feel good” about anything.
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