A Roadmap for Strengthening U.S. Competitiveness

The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United StatesFederal investments in research, education and infrastructure were critical to American economic competitiveness, business expansion and job creation in the last century, but declining investment has eroded America’s competitive position. In a constrained budgetary environment, prioritizing support for these pillars is imperative for America’s economic future and that of our healthcare system, which is why I mention this important new report here.

The U.S Department of Commerce today delivered to Congress a comprehensive report on “The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States.”  The report serves as a call to arms, highlighting bipartisan priorities to sustain and promote American innovation and economic competitiveness.

The report was mandated as part of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. It addresses a diverse range of topics and policy options, including the effectiveness of:

  • Science and technology education,
  • Research & Development policy,
  • Infrastructure investments,
  • General business climate,
  • Tax policy,
  • Trade policy,
  • Entrepreneurship,
  • Manufacturing sector health, and
  • Intellectual property protection.

VIDEOS: Watch 9 videos about this report and the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act.


The U.S. economy reigned supreme in the 20th century, becoming the largest, most productive, and most competitive in the world; amazing new technologies were invented and commercialized; the workforce became the most educated in the world; and incomes soared while a large middle class emerged and thrived. As the 21st century approached, however, alarms began to sound about the U.S. economy’s ability to remain in this preeminent position. Incomes stagnated and job growth slowed. Other countries became better educated and our manufacturing sector lost ground to foreign competitors.

Observers have expressed concern that the scientific and technological building blocks critical to our economic leadership have been eroding at a time when many other nations are actively laying strong foundations in these same areas. In short, some elements of the U.S. economy are losing their competitive edge which may mean that future generations of Americans will not enjoy a higher standard of living than is enjoyed in the United States today.

Since Innovation is the key driver of competitiveness, wage and job growth, and long-term economic growth, one way to approach the question of how to improve U.S. competitiveness is to examine the factors that helped unleash the tremendous innovative potential of the private sector in the past, including Federal support of basic research, education, and infrastructure.


Timeline of U.S. Competitiveness & Innovation

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