I really hate sounding like Chicken Little. But, given the intellectual and economic prowess of our Congress (that’s both the House and the Senate), I really have no choice. (Anyone else recognize the stupidity of bringing snowballs onto the floor to lambaste those who understand the import of global climate change?)
And, I’ve written (way too often) that our elected representatives are causing this great nation to decay from the inside out. We are not raising taxes to pay for infrastructure needs. Like our highways- which are critical for citizen travel- but especially for commerce, to get out goods to where they need to be. Maybe we need another bridge falling down, killing more folks, precluding travel for months on end- but we shouldn’t. Or a few more trains jumping the rails before we add positive train control- and a second engineer in the cab.. Except that these elected officials feel that our infrastructure decay is as real as climate change. The problem- it really is!
And, now, our elite sci/tech institution, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is sounding the alarm on another of my themes. The MIT document is entitled “The Future Postponed”. The diagnosis- the failure of our government to adequately support research and development.
I’ve written about this problem, too. I fear if this trend continues, it won’t just be our future postponed- it will just shift to other nations a few decades later. The report avers we will suffer “long term damage” and the practice “threatens America’s future”. Not mincing words at all.
The US is currently funding research at the lowest levels (as a percent of total budget expenditures) in 70 years. And, you may recall that it was during World War II (which was 70 years ago) when America became the world’s powerhouse.
This wasn’t a parochial study- picking one or two areas- and extending the results to our national interests. No, the study examined 15 different fields of endeavor (computer technology, cybersecurity, robotics, batteries, big data, plant science, disease management, among them) – fields where we are losing the technological innovation prowess to other nations who are willing to commit to research expenditures.
Maybe you all can write to your representatives, too- and get the ball rolling. Because we need the innovation dividend that would come from funding this research, boosting our economic output, improving our lives, and making the US stronger.