Why is innovation NOT a US priority?

Thomas Friedman’s Sunday NY Times article, which informed readers have already seen, raises this question. Why does the US continue to ignore innovation, particularly of the scientific kind, as a national priority? Why do the political conversations in the US continue to fall back on backwater cultural issues and divisive policy? Why does the war economy seem to be the most reliable financed of the innovation engines that Federal US taxes support?

While we still have enormous innovative energy bubbling up from the American people, it is not being supported and nurtured as needed in today’s supercompetitive world. Right now, we feel like a country in a very slow decline — in infrastructure, basic research and education — just slow enough to lull us into thinking that we have all the time and money to play around in Tbilisi, Georgia, more than Atlanta, Georgia.

How important is this issue?

A developed country’s competitiveness now comes primarily from its capacity to innovate — the ability to create the new products and services that people want, adds Curtis Carlson, chief executive of SRI International, a Silicon Valley research company. As such, “innovation is now the only path to growth, prosperity, environmental sustainability and national security for America. But it is also an incredibly competitive world. Many information industries require that products be improved by 100 percent every 12 to 36 months, just for the company to stay in business.”

What can we do about it in an election year? Go back to the original question – let’s find out why it is NOT a priority.

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