By Richard C. Bartlett
The Cape is training our youth for high-tech jobs in renewable energy. The Mass Maritime Academy and the Cape Cod Community College are on the cutting edge. Unfortunately most of our politicians are on the dull side of the blade, stifling the use of Nature's generous gift of the wind to our area. Fossil fuel money accounts for our officialdom's retarded reluctance to join the 21st century.
America lost 687,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs since 2008. 85% of our growth in R&D employment occurred overseas. These figures are from a newly released study by the National Science Board, the policy arm of the National Science Foundation.
Because American multinational corporations are increasing the overseas component of their research, China is now abreast of our own high-tech capability. China and India have increased their spending on technology and science education, while we are hamstrung and weakened by an obstructionist Congress (whose contrariness is endorsed by all the GOP candidates for the presidency). They refuse to fund the training of the army of advanced scientists we need for long-term prosperity.
America as a Third World country is a very real prospect if we don't make a serious effort now.
Of the world's engineering doctorates in 2008, only 4% were awarded in the United States. And 57% of those were awarded to temporary visa holders. We need to subsidize our own youth if we want to maintain our traditional lead in science and engineering. America as a Third World country is a very real prospect if we don't make a serious effort now.
Some of the remedies lie in the realm of fairer trade policies and exchange rates. The National Science Board suggests some domestic policies: establish a manufacturing investment facility to leverage private capital for manufacturing in the USA, expand and make permanent clean energy tax credits, refocus on post-high school technological education, institute a permanent tax credit to incentivize production in America.
Here's a shocking political fact cited by Dr. Griffiths, chairman of the committee that produced this report:
"Meanwhile, conservatives oppose a national industrial policy, oppose restructuring our trade deals, oppose increased funding to our universities, oppose changes to tax policies to incentivize returning manufacturing to the United States, oppose paying good wages here to bring researchers here, oppose national policies helping companies become more competitive internationally and oppose border tariffs to compensate for advantages gained from environmental degradation and poor human rights practices."
That set of beliefs doesn't sound "conservative" to me. It doesn't even conserve the status quo. It just ensures we'll be sliding down the razor-blade of economic degradation into a fearsome future if the American electorate votes for slogans rather than programs.
Richard C. Bartlett lives in Cotuit, MA.