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ITIF Think Tank Says Trump Budget Undermines US Innovation

By Ken Briodagh May 25, 2017

In a recent scathing statement, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a key, top-ranked U.S. science and technology think tank, has criticized the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 as being terrible for innovation and new economic growth. Stephen J. Ezell, VP, global innovation policy, ITIF, made a full statement in which he wrote:

“The administration’s budget proposal would undermine America’s long-term growth prospects by slashing investments that are critical to the country’s innovative capacity and to the competitiveness of its most strategically important industries. Especially when it comes to areas ranging from scientific and engineering research to workforce education and skills, congressional leaders should declare the proposal ‘dead on arrival.’ Lawmakers should exercise their constitutional power to approve a budget that better meets the nation’s economic needs.”

Ezell wrote that the United States is suffering from chronic underinvestment in basic science education, research and development, and technology commercialization for at least the last 10 years, and that the problems have been exacerbated by insufficient administrational support for small manufacturers. Now, this budget will further reduce federal investment in technology and science, which will certainly hurt the country’s ability to lead in these critical growth areas, such as IoT, IIoT, and digital transformation.

Furthermore, Ezell said, additional cuts to technological investment will undermine economic growth, cause standards of living to stagnate, and put prosperity at risk for future generations of Americans.

“Yet the administration’s budget calls for a nearly 10 percent cut for non-defense R&D. The administration needs to recognize there is a big difference between wasteful spending and critical investments that ensure the U.S. economy, citizens, and businesses thrive,” Ezell said. “Targeted federal government programs of the sort the administration is suggesting Congress cut are widely used by even the most conservative Republican governors to help businesses in their states compete.”

ITIF pinpointed several programs that it said would be would be particularly damaging if cut in the way the administration has proposed in its budget:

Manufacturing/Economic Development
Manufacturing Extension Partnership. (Proposed budget eliminates the program).

Manufacturing USA. (Budget provides only $15 million for 2018, a 70 percent cut).

Economic Development Administration. (Eliminates program).

Trade

U.S. Trade and Development Agency. (Eliminates program).

Education and Training

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. (Decreases funding by 39 percent).

21st Century Community Learning Centers. (Eliminates program).

R&D

National Science Foundation. (Across-board reduction of 11 percent for NSF grant programs).

Effective 9.7 percent cut in federal investment for non-defense R&D.

All in all, I have to agree. This budget represents a short-sighted, poorly reasoned death blow to the future economic leadership of the United States. Without investment today in these critical technological areas, we will be the second-world nation of tomorrow, relegated to taking the handouts of more advanced countries with more progressive, non-Trumped, economies. 




Edited by Alicia Young

Editorial Director

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