Posts Tagged: innovation

The real deficit is one of confidence and readiness to change

Nicholas Kristof had a thought-provoking piece over the weekend in the New York Times pointing out how reckless politicians are hurting America from within:

The biggest threat to America’s national security this summer doesn’t come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home.

Motivated by ideology rather than practicality, some members of Congress are blind to the way their position will actually make America weaker, and how their “budget-cutting” stance will actually end up forcing the government to spend more (to finance debt payment at higher interest rates, for one). (more…)

Regulation that Creates Jobs?

The argument that Phil Longman and Barry Lynn make in the latest Washington Monthly is that America’s post-WWII boom, and the explosion of innovative companies which appeared in 1970s and 1980s America, depended on government anti-monopoly initiatives taken during Roosevelt’s New Deal.  It’s a provocative idea, and a hard one to prove in a magazine article, but Longman and Lynn point out that FDR’s Justice Department

set out to engineer rivalries within large industries whenever possible . . . and in sectors of the economy where efficiencies of concentration were far harder to prove — retail, restaurants, services, farming — the government protected open markets.

Competition among the fast-growing corporations of America’s post-war boom led to “an astounding burst of innovation,” one that the authors say is lacking in today’s economy — one dominated by fewer and fewer large corporations that not only throttle competition, but even cut back their own innovations in order not to upset a marketplace they comfortably control. (more…)

Innovation Nation

Today the government’s CTO and CIO are talking about open government as a driver for innovation.  David Brooks today urges new energy and focus on innovation as the key to driving improvements in the economy and enriching the social fabric.  One idea is a national infrastructure bank that would exist to filter and select projects in a way that a more parochial Congress can’t do.  Congress’s role in steering government funds to important projects shouldn’t be stymied, but it should be subject to competition.

The creation of another national institution that spends public funds is a tough sell.  So instead of removing Congress’s power of the purse, perhaps a national infrastructure bank — or a national innovation bank — should be a bank of ideas rather than a financial institution.  A national innovation bank could be a public-private partnership that would sift, gather, and publicize ideas that help fix social and environmental problems in measurable ways.  These ideas could get attention from Congress, from private industry, from universities, and from entrepreneurs in all walks of life.