Last week we celebrated the feast day of history’s most famous dragon conqueror, Saint George.
Our dragon, China, now is beginning to dominate the world technologically and economically. It aspires to do so geopolitically.
What to do?
As I declared here "To Restore Prosperity Uncle Sam Must Fund Research and Development," and in my and William Collier's The Capitalist Manifesto, embellished in my The Ten Commandments of Capitalism, and reprised here and here how America is committing economic and geopolitical suicide by letting our national R&D budget atrophy.
Last week Senate Majority Leader Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced his “Endless Frontier” legislation. That’s a $100 billion boondoggle clumsily designed to reboot America’s R&D spending to allow us to stay preeminent in the world.
This week, the Senate Commerce Committee will begin marking it up.
Clumsy, yet all to the good.
Schumer has put the R&D imperative in play. Will the GOP now rise to the occasion to refine Schumer’s impulse?
Schumer’s basically right. We need to do the right thing.
We also need to do the thing right. Enter the Republicans.
David P. Goldman, a Supply-Side senior statesmen, lays out a comprehensive campaign plan in his book You Will Be Assimilated: China’s Plan to Sino-Form the World. It focuses heavily on why the US federal government must get serious about enhancing its R&D budget.
Now Goldman, together with Henry Kressel at Newsweek, pointedly says that Innovation is Not Enough:
"The Biden administration's proposed subsidies for R&D won't by themselves do much to improve American competitiveness. A suggested $50 billion funding boost for the National Science Foundation spread over several years represents roughly a tenth of what U.S. corporations spend on R&D each year. … What made the U.S. economy the wonder of the world during the Digital Revolution was our ability to rapidly move the results of innovation into the marketplace. We not only conceived, but also manufactured, the key technologies of the modern age: computers, semiconductor chips, lasers, imagers, displays, data-storage devices and software."
China is pouring it on.
China’s president Xi Jinping made the most consequential technology speech by a world leader since Jack Kennedy’s Rice University speech launching us to the moon.
In October 2019 President Xi, himself an engineer, threw down the gauntlet:
"It is necessary to strengthen basic research, enhance the original innovation ability, and strive to let China take the leading position in the emerging field of blockchain, occupy the commanding heights of innovation, and gain new industrial advantages. It is necessary to promote collaborative research, accelerate the breakthrough of core technologies, and provide safe and controllable technical support for the development of blockchain applications. It is necessary to lead the standard setting and right to speak in the world. It is necessary to speed up industrial development, give play to market advantages, and further open up the innovation chain, application chain and value chain. It is necessary to build an ecosystem of blockchain industry, accelerate the deep integration of blockchain with other frontier information technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and Internet of Things, and promote integrated applications. It is necessary to strengthen the talent pool, build a variety of talent training platforms, and cultivate a group of leaders and innovation teams."
"Occupy the commanding heights of innovation?" Our politicos didn’t notice then. They’re noticing now.
Having spent decades in the capital I know that at the moment of peril "the cavalry" rides out from the Congress. I’ve observed several major such rescues of America from its own Establishment’s folly.
Each originated with one junior legislator who transforms the world and rides on to greatness.
As I wrote at Forbes in How Jack Kemp and Charlie Wilson Saved the World, Jack Kemp pioneered supply-side economics, ignoring taunts of "voodoo economics" from establishment Republicans and "trickle down" from establishment Democrats to end stagflation. Kemp thereby put American back onto the road to equitable prosperity. And Charlie Wilson, who had seniority but no chairmanships, working with Joanne King Herring, crusaded to fund the Afghani mujahideen to defeat the Soviet Army thus bringing victory in the Cold War.
The imperative to keep America great, today, is to out-compete China. So I turned my eyes to Capitol Hill and there discovered a 33-year-old freshman Member of Congress representing Gerald Ford’s old Michigan district: Rep. Peter Meijer.
Meijer looks to me like the 21st century Jack Kemp. He gets the imperative and is well positioned by membership on the Research and Technology subcommittee of the Science, Space and Technology Committee to get it right.
Meijer, already pushing for more R&D, knows the difference between smart R&D and merely dropping billions of dollars into the National Science Foundation.
Stay tuned to find out how to make the American economy the wonder of the world again.
Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $88T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.
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