Wayne Crews Testifies on Role of Government in Innovation and Manufacturing

Washington, D.C., March 15, 2010—Everyone agrees we still want to make a lot of stuff in the United States of America and create jobs. So what are the prerequisites for prosperity? Mired in recession now, how do we “manufacture’ a robust American manufacturing economy?

For starters, we avoid fostering a “Declaration of Dependence” on the part of America’s most crucial frontier industries.

The purpose of this hearing (“The Future of Manufacturing: What is the Role of the Federal Government in Supporting Innovation by U.S. Manufacturers?”) is to examine the need to adopt innovative technologies and processes” and assess the National government’s role.

The positive message is that most of America’s wealth has not been created yet. But to fulfill that optimism, recognizing limitations of politically driven research and development compared to what capital markets and economic liberalization can achieve is vital. Most politicians defend a significant, even pivotal, governmental role. I say instead that when it comes to the creation of knowledge wealth itself, that’s a worrisome stance and better alternatives exist.

To go overboard in enshrining Washington predominance in terms of “America COMPETES Act” and “Recovery and Reinvestment Act”-style spending in a sense is taking the easy way out. The latter in particular shirked genuine duties as the nation endured economic upheaval. Instead, there’s difficult, important actual work for Washington to do. At this vulnerable stage of business, economic, and American history, Washington can’t spend money on technology education, science and manufacturing and think it’s done any of the work required to reinvigorate manufacturing.

The America COMPETES Act you might reauthorize should be different in kind, not degree. It is now a vehicle for subsidizing various popular education and technology ventures; it instead should removing accumulated impediments to innovation: it should “liberate to stimulate.”  

Read Wayne Crews’ full congressional testimony here.

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