Winning the Race 2012 Memos: Boosting Innovation, Competitiveness, and Productivity

As the 2012 presidential campaign moves in the final stage, ITIF is presenting general principles and specific recommendation ideas across several policy areas.

Since the economy has still not fully recovered from the Great Recession, the challenge for the next administration will be two-fold: restoring U.S. global innovation leadership and driving productivity growth. To achieve robust job growth, the United States needs a growing and competitive “traded sector engine” powered by innovation. America also needs strong productivity growth because it is the surest way of addressing the fiscal challenge presented by the baby boom retirement. The next administration needs to make both top priorities and not be diverted by non-crisis foreign policy challenges or other domestic policy issues. We need the next President to state, to paraphrase John F. Kennedy, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of U.S. innovation leadership.”

However, as long as economic policy is a fight between small government, free-market advocates and big government, Keynesian redistributionists it will be difficult to address major economic challenges. The next administration needs to put aside obsolete doctrinal views and focus pragmatically on ensuring that economic organizations in the United States (for-profit, non-profit and government) boost competitiveness, innovation, and productivity