Time to Start Thinking And/Or Drinking

Ed Luce and Rob Atkinson

I had the pleasure to host a discussion yesterday at ITIF with Ed Luce of the Financial Times who is also author of a great new book “Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Decline.”

There is much in the book worth reading, including how he documents the U.S. losing its competitive edge. But I want to focus on one thing Ed discussed: the lack of real action in Washington to effectively respond to the competitiveness challenge.

The standard response is to blame Washington. But Ed, in my view, rightly talked about the responsibility that needs to be borne by Americans themselves. They don’t want to pay the higher taxes needed to fund investments in science, training and infrastructure and to pay for significant cuts in the effective corporate tax rate. And they certainly don’t want to have their entitlements cut, especially to have to hear that they will need to retire later than they would like.

We are becoming like the Greeks! As Ed so eloquently wrote, “it’s time to start thinking.”

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About the author

Dr. Robert D. Atkinson is one of the country’s foremost thinkers on innovation economics. With has an extensive background in technology policy, he has conducted ground-breaking research projects on technology and innovation, is a valued adviser to state and national policy makers, and a popular speaker on innovation policy nationally and internationally. He is the author of "Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage" (Yale, forthcoming) and "The Past and Future of America’s Economy: Long Waves of Innovation That Power Cycles of Growth" (Edward Elgar, 2005). Before coming to ITIF, Atkinson was Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute and Director of PPI’s Technology & New Economy Project. Ars Technica listed Atkinson as one of 2009’s Tech Policy People to Watch. He has testified before a number of committees in Congress and has appeared in various media outlets including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, and NBC Nightly News. He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989.