Politicians Seek Subsidies To Make US More Competitive

from the just-the-opposite dept

Concerned about the ability of the US to compete in the global economy, Senators on both sides of the aisle gave support to a bill that offers more funding for research, and more investments into science and technology education. On the face of it, a law supporting research and science education sounds like a good thing. But it should be noted at the outset that the alleged gap between the output of technical schools in China and India and the US has been overstated. Also, while much of this money will flow towards universities, it should also be seen as a business subsidy, since a lot of technical research that's done at universities goes into actual products. This might explain why a number of technology trade associations quickly praised the bill. What's funny is that there are plenty of political and intellectual leaders that would disparage things like agriculture subsidies (for distorting the market), but then have no problem supporting subsidies for R&D. The problem in both cases is that simply throwing money at a problem rarely solves it. If the US really thinks it has a problem in terms of competitiveness, which is debatable, then it needs to be serious about fostering competition. Unfortunately, some measures, like lifting trade barriers, are a lot less politically palatable than funding more R&D, which makes for a great soundbite.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2007 @ 6:59pm

    subsidy or gatekeeper?

    I work in the HMO industry. We take money from people than are gatekeepers on how it can be spent, pocketing a lot of it along the way. Maybe we should tell people when they see the doctor, that we are "giving" them a "subsidy" for their doctor visit. Perhaps some of them will be too sick to realize we took their money earlier and are only giving some of it back. Maybe we can expend from the HMO business and enter dental, vision, pharmacy too? Then agriculture, energy, ethanol, transportation, security... and well, you get the picture. Soon you will be praying to us to get some of your money back, or just to keep some of in in the first place. Eventually, you will check out www.lp.org and realize what is going on...

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