Review: "That Used to Be Us" by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum

September 30, 2011

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In a review for The Washington Post, ITIF President Rob Atkinson argues the new best seller by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandlebaum suffers from an inaccurate diagnosis and insufficient cure. That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back is correct in some of its discussion of the causes of and solutions to our current economic woes, but Atkinson explains it misses the mark in some fundamental ways. Even if we return to what made us great and invest in education, infrastructure and technology, as the authors recommend, Atkinson contends our competitiveness as a nation and the prosperity of our workers will remain at risk from issues the authors either ignore or misunderstand, namely misguided tax policies and non-existent innovation strategies at home and rampant innovation mercantilism around the world.