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By Focusing on Innovation, Both Sides of the Aisle in Washington Can Help the U.S. Make a ‘Comeback’

by Eric Yeager

The finger pointing in Washington over the debt-ceiling crisis, the topsy-turvy stock market, and downgrading of America’s credit rating should give Americans both a strong sense of alarm and a pressing reason to search our souls. Beyond the blame game and what might be in President Obama’s upcoming jobs speech, Americans should look back his State of the Union address in January to find one clear answer: American innovation can bring us back from the brink and prevent the defining economic disaster from which there may be no recovery.

In that speech, Obama recognized the importance of intellectual property to America’s economic recovery, saying: “No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs.… We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.” Obama added:

The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.  None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be or where the new jobs will come from.  Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution.  What we can do -- what America does better than anyone else -- is spark the creativity and imagination of our people.  We’re the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook.  In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives.  It is how we make our living.


Leading Citizens: Lead Congress so Congress Will Lead Your Country

by Chief Judge Paul Michel

Today, American economic security is threatened in a way Congress has failed to recognize.  Securing a stable inflow of petroleum is no longer our biggest resource challenge.  Rather, it is stemming the outflow of jobs, talent, technology and manufacture of advanced products.  All four losses continue to drain away national economic power. All result from the same cause:  chronic under-financing of our innovation infrastructure.  Although invisible, it is our greatest national asset.  Strengthening it can assure our prosperity and restore our technological leadership.  We urgently need to increase invention and make new products that Americans and others will need, want and buy.  To increase innovation, however, we must increase investment.

Increased investment in innovation is needed immediately because we are already losing our international lead in technology and our global competitiveness.  In a recent study, the United States came dead last of the 40 top technology countries in the world in strengthening its innovation infrastructure over the last decade.  American inventive activity has slowed to the point that filings in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by foreign entities now exceed filings by Americans.  Filings in the Chinese patent office by Chinese companies show exponential advances in twelve out of twelve top technologies.

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