Real vs. Political Innovation

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“Over the past decade or longer, U.S. innovation stalled in almost every sector except information technology and agriculture, say scholars who study innovation,” the Washington Post reported after the president’s address. It quoted Obama’s exuding: “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.” But in a deflating counterpoint to Obama’s soaring rhetoric, the Post story said: “Evergreen Solar [a symbol of “green” technology] announced this week that it plans to cut 800 jobs, shutter its Massachusetts plant and move to China.”

The famed economist Ludwig von Mises opined that the path to prosperity is “through the work of savers, who accumulate capital, and of the entrepreneurs who turn capital to new uses.” Sabrin said Obama “is governing in the tradition of all interventionists…using the cronycapialism toolkit at their disposal—deficit spending, regulating, subsidizing, inflating, and funneling money to a humongous military–industrial complex.”

The National Journal in its July 9 edition published a roundup of experts on innovation. It said, “One of the nation’s most troubling economic developments in the past few years” was that our Patent and Trademark Office “issued more than half of its patents to inventors outside” the U.S.

In Simon Tripp’s analysis of the economic impacts of the human genome project, he wrote that from the time of the project’s start until 2010, research and industrial activity generated an economic impact of $796 billion, personal income exceeding $224 billion, and 3.8 million job-years of employment.

The federal government invested only $3.8 billion between 1988 and 2003. This shows a return on investment (ROI) to the U.S. economy of 141 to 1. So, every $1 of federal investment has resulted in $141 in our economy.

This doesn’t sound like Obama-land, where according to a March 3 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, the Obama, Pelosi, Reid stimulus package cost us $228,000 per job and added $821 billion to the national debt. When the government subsidizes one segment of the economy, it typically penalizes other sectors.

In 2010 alone, Tripp wrote, the genomics-enabled industry generated over $3.7 billion in federal taxes and $2.3 billion in state and local taxes.

While the Obama administration was bragging about all the jobs it had created with its Keynesian spending programs, and unemployment kept creeping upward, the human genome sequencing projects and associated research in 2010 alone generated $67 billion in U.S. economic output, $20 billion in personal income for our citizens and 310,000 jobs.

One of the key benefits of the remarkable genome sequencing [unlike any Obama program] is “that its usefulness is perpetual,” Tripp writes. While other major projects have a life-certain, the human genome sequence will not wear out or become obsolete.

It is a “perpetually useful fundamental platform for understanding and advancing science.”

Ahead, for instance: increased agricultural productivity for an expending population, cellulosic biomass convertible to scarce chemicals and cheap fuels, and medical advances that will make ObamaCare look like a sick puppy.

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  • StephenD

    I don't think very many American's are against our government cooperating with research and development and innovations that can prove to better the lives of all. The problem comes when a political agenda steers the effort. When my money is directed to counteract the "threat" of Global Warming for instance, it bothers me when my money is being used. When we have our money "researching" ways to instruct men in Africa how to wash their genitals after sex to counteract rampant STD's, it bothers me. A more frugal use of funding not based on political expedience and this would be a non-issue.

  • Bowmanave

    Hi, thanks for the invitation to Saturday’s event, which I wasn’t able to attend, but I’ve enjoyed reading the various online accounts of it, particularly Peter’s and the video from Rob Stewart.

    However, the main reason for non-attendance is my cynicism about the potential of blogging to effect political change, at least insofar as it merely provides a conduit to more traditional methods of discourse.