At the outset of the 2016 presidential campaign, ITIF released a strategy memo titled “Tech Policy 2016: What Presidential Candidates Should Be Talking About.” It outlined an ambitious campaign agenda that hinged on three key themes—fostering innovation, boosting productivity, and competing globally—and it offered a series of specific policy proposals to advance such an agenda. That was the poetry we hoped to hear in the campaign. Now that the election is over, it is time for the prose of governing.
In this memo, we revisit the same three themes of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness, and we offer a revised set of actionable proposals that the new administration can accomplish in its first year through executive authority or by working with Congress on discrete legislative measures that would be comparatively easy to accomplish. Cutting across all of our recommendations is a basic recognition and a core conviction: America’s economic future will depend on successfully driving innovation, productivity growth, and competitiveness, and to do that, the federal government will need to adopt new and more creative approaches to public policy.