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Posted at 2:46 PM ET, 12/ 3/2010

How does the government innovate?

By Ezra Klein

Matt Continetti says that "we need to distinguish between a government that finances long-term investment and a government that finances present consumption." He identifies entitlements like Medicare and Social Security as being consumption-oriented, while things like education, infrastructure and R&D are investment-oriented. Matt Yglesias wonders whether the distinction is so clear:

The consumption/investment dichotomy doesn’t capture value all that well. For one thing, in operational practice this is largely semantics. Since Bill Clinton emerged on the scene the political convention is to use “investment” to mean “spending I favor” whereas “out-of-control spending means “spending I oppose.” Hence to John McCain we invest in nuclear missiles but merely spend on bear DNA research, whereas I would say we’re spending on nuclear missiles and investing in scientific research. One man’s high speed rail investment is another man’s pork-barrel scheme. This is particularly true because the closer a public expenditure comes to resembling a private capital investment the more vulnerable it becomes to public choice critique. There’s no issue of government being “bad at” disbursing Social Security checks, whereas the skill with which a national high-speed rail network would be managed is open to question.

I think that's right, but I would take it a step further. The reason you want investment is that you want innovation. And the government has a role to play in that. But businesses and individuals have a bigger role to play. One of the things an adequate social safety net does is make it easier for people to take the risks associated with innovation. A world without Medicare and Social Security is a world in which many more people work for very large companies that aren't that innovative but offer good old-age benefits. That's a world with less entitlement spending, but also less risk-taking.

Part of the government's role in encouraging innovation is to subsidize the basic research that companies don't find profitable, but part of it is to create a system conducive to private risk-taking, and that often means entitlement programs that give people some comfort that they'll be okay even if their next venture doesn't work out.

Also, it doesn't really fit anywhere in this post, but the other other thing government should be doing is handing out H-1B visas like candy, and passing things like the DREAM Act. Really the easiest thing we could do to encourage domestic innovation is bring the most talented innovators from other countries here before they do their best work.

By Ezra Klein  | December 3, 2010; 2:46 PM ET
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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Comments

"One of the things an adequate social safety net does is make it easier for people to take the risks associated with innovation. A world without Medicare and Social Security is a world in which many more people work for very large companies that aren't that innovative but offer good old-age benefits. That's a world with less entitlement spending, but also less risk-taking."

Like what, exactly?

Your average burger flipper isn't capable of doing anything innovative. Well, except voting for Obama, anyway.

Posted by: krazen1211 | December 3, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

One of the things an adequate social safety net does is make it easier for people to take the risks associated with innovation. A world without Medicare and Social Security is a world in which many more people work for very large companies that aren't that innovative but offer good old-age benefits.


I realize this may be over-simplifying it a bit but aren't we told all the time around here and around the liberal blogosphere that American has the worst social safety net. To that end wouldn't we then (using Ezra's premise) have the least amount of small businesses etc? We don't (at least I don't think we do although I don't know of any websites that compare the percentage of small businesses in the US to other countries with stronger safety nets. It can't all be "American exceptionalism" can it? Could it be capitalism's benefits?

Also I'd also call for more H1B visas here but we're not bringing jobs from overseas here we're sending them the other way. One large reason? Regulation here as compared to there. As an example you'll start seeing very shortly because of the MLR requirements in the healthcare law health insurance companies outsourcing your customer service to India or other countries because they're being shaken down for costs (as opposed to attacking per unit costs via doctor's charges). Just another one of the fun unintended (or intended maybe) consequences of PPACA. Until the government realizes we're in a world economy so when they inflict these intrusions on business as opposed to just regulating them businesses will absolutely (and should) adjust their business models accordingly.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 3, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"Also, it doesn't really fit anywhere in this post, but the other other thing government should be doing is handing out H-1B visas like candy, and passing things like the DREAM Act. Really the easiest thing we could do to encourage domestic innovation is bring the most talented innovators from other countries here before they do their best work."

This is so silly, it's like a high school essay.

First of all the Dream Act doesn't bring anybody from another country, by definition, they're already here.

I was going to have a second item, but on second thought the whole debate is just too ridiculous.

I pass.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 3, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I was just thinking about all of the really good technological innovations and the government had little to do with most of 'em.

light bulb
phonograph
telegraph
telephone
flush toilet
development of antibiotics and other drugs
airplanes
solid state electronics
Good operating systems

The one big exception is the Nukular Bomb.

Thanks Government.

Posted by: WrongfulDeath | December 3, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

A perspective on innovation and technology that is used in government is Technology Readiness Level (TRL) -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_readiness_level for some discussion.

Govtment investment is aimed at low TRL projects -- fundamental research with limited practical applications. Such research that pans out can be passed on to the private sector for bringing to market, etc. Of course, a lot of basic research does not pan out so well -- nature of the beast, and one of the reasons it may not be pursued by private firms.

Contra WrongfulDeath, government research contributed tons to innovations in aeronautics. High bypass turbine engines, airframe research, materials research, etc all got done to a significant extent at NASA since its establishment in 1915 as National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/

Posted by: bdballard | December 3, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

bdballard,

i personally love these arguments or discussions regarding how government compares to private industry. The point you're missing is how much government is SPENDING of someone else's money to innovate to that extent. I don't doubt that government is and can be innovative (as well as extremely bureaucratic etc) but the point is what is the cost per for government vs the cost per for private sector innovation.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 3, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, I wonder whether private sector entities would do the basic research (low TRL) that is done in government facilities. The cost comparisons you mention are not very pertinent -- it's the benefits side that matters. Basic research is risky and tends to have spillovers that accrue to entire industries or even more widely -- benefits that are hard if not impossible for private sector research undertakings to capture -- reducing incentives to do the fundamental research.

At higher TRL levels the patent system etc begins to address these benefits capture issues for private sector innovators, which is precisely why NASA and other government sponsored research organizations let things go after reaching the middle levels.

Posted by: bdballard | December 3, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow, how courageous of Klein to stick up for the large multinational corporations that want more cheap labor and abuse the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to get it. Why have wages declined in every IT field where the H-1B is used? Cue the crickets.
Klein wants us to believe we need more "geniuses" like Faisal Shahzad (failed Times Square bomber and H-1B holder). He also wants us to ignore the government report which found 20% fraud in the program. Ezra is simply a shill for large corporations but I guess you have to make money any way you can when you are part of a dying newspaper. Traitor.

Posted by: fightthepower13 | December 3, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, you are so out of touch with both the Dream act and the H-1b program you don't even know that under the H-1b program, corporations will be bypassing--and soon displacing the New Americans made possible from the DREAM Act!

The H-1b program allows companies to legally discrimina­te against local talent for US job openings and displace Americans from their jobs in favor of foreign citizens. Labor contractor­s trap Indian techies in guest houses that are little more than unemployed camps via H1-b.

Don't "play nice" concerning these corporate visa programs with cute ideas suggesting the federal government hand-out employment discrimina­tion, displaceme­nt and traffickin­g of foreign citizens like candy.


We have an overabunda­nce of highly-ski­lled IT profession­als and new sci & tech grads whom we've paid dearly to educate.

But companies are so brazen they post "h1-b only" want ads all over the Internet!

What we need is an innovative H-1b program - one that restores Equal Opportunity to the US workforce and gives us a chance to compete fro the jobs of the future.

It's called H1-b & L-1 Reform, sponsored by Sen. Durbin (D-IL).

Donna Conroy, Director
www.brightfuturejobs.com

Posted by: DonnaConroy-DirectorBrightfuturejobscom | December 3, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Well we HAVE been handing out H-1B visas like candy for the past 12 years and look at the giant recession it has caused. Before that, the U.S. Economy was booming. Logic says don't keep doing things that haven't been working. Millions of imported guest workers have failed to keep the economy going as promised so why should we import more of them. Many of these foreigners hate us and want to see Americans unemployed. Americans spend their $ here, foreign workers send it home.

Americans are training the people from countries such as India where the average IQ is 17 points lower than the average American IQ. Not a real smart thing to do to the economy. These people come here to siphon our wealth and send it home.

Deport these people and give the jobs back to Americans and you'll see the economy recover real quick. Keep advocating things that haven't been working and watch as unemployment continues to rise.

Posted by: Burnstagger | December 3, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

America needs to innovate from within..with heavy unemployment the government should cancel the following visas: H1-b, L1, OPT, EB1, EB2 and EB3 which allow foreigners to take American jobs. That's one way we can promote economic growth.
All I have to say is: the politicians that dreamed up NAFTA, CAFTA, and the like including outsourcing must have had rocks for brains to have ever thought those things would be good for our country. How in the world (no pun intended) could fair trade (what a joke) with all those other countries be good for us!!! It was the beginning of unemployment when those things were voted in. Our companies took off for the cheap labor, and our people lost their jobs. Personally, I would rather pay more for things and have Americans employed than to have cheap products from China that don't hold up for long anyway!!!!

Posted by: debugger | December 3, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

" And the government has a role to play in that. But businesses and individuals have a bigger role to play. "

What is your basis for arguing that businesses and individuals have a bigger role than government? I don't really know which is bigger, but I think that liberals often make a mistake of conceding a view of government that is extremely at odds with the historical record.

Government innovation has formed the foundation of much of American history.
Homestead land grants, Federal highways, Automated Check Clearing, the Internet.

These ideas were nothing, if not innovative. We shouldn't let Republicans tilt the playing field before we play the game.

Posted by: zosima | December 3, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

"H1-b, L1, OPT, EB1, EB2 and EB3 which allow foreigners to take American jobs."

That's brain-dead, indiscriminate thinking. Let's separate out the de facto scalping of H1-Bs, which needs to end, and look at the reality.

How about if Microsoft wants to buy up a Romanian antivirus maker and move the company's staff to Redmond, then supplement it with a handful of additional US hires for each foreign import? The facile nativist argument would have MSFT blocked from bringing in the foreign staff, and instead it'd just operate the unit overseas with foreign hires.

This kind of exceptionalist bullshit is completely at odds with the long history of the US drawing the world's innovators to its shores to create jobs.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | December 3, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Thousands and Thousand of American jobs have been taken away by Indias Offshoring companies like TCS, Wipro, Satyam, Infosys, Cognizant, HCL, Patni, Syntel and even IBM Global. They have brought in over millions of Indian to USA on H1B and L1 Visa. Most case being fradulent. Not only have they stolen american jobs, but millions of IT jobs which could gainfully employ americans have been offshored to India. protect yourself, protect your kids..STOP OFFSHORING. The capitalist of USA are greedy and happy with offshoring as they get more richer..The common man in USA has too protest.

Posted by: jovvan | December 4, 2010 3:33 AM | Report abuse

The vast, vast majority of H-1Bs are not Einsteins, but merely average workers with common skill sets, doing jobs that Americans could easily do and would love to have. http://www.americanworker.org/

Posted by: cruzdolores | December 4, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

> "Really the easiest thing we could do to encourage domestic innovation is bring the most talented innovators from other countries here before they do their best work."

Why do bozos, like you, always assume the "best and brightest" come from offshore?

If countries, like India, are so full of technology geniuses, why don't they have anything to show for it?

What real technology (not staffing) companies come from India? Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Dell, Yahoo, eBay, Google, Amazon, Intel, AMD, Oracle, Symantec, and so on, are all US companies.

What major technologies were invented in India? Light bulb, nuclear power, airplane, telephone, phonograph, radio, radar, what? As far as I can tell, India has never invented any modern technology.

As I understand, there are high schools in the USA that have produced more Nobel prize winners than the entire nation of India. And that's with India having four times the US population.

Let's just admit it: what India has is, English speaking, cheap labor.

Posted by: walterbyrd1 | December 4, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

If government innovating is printing up licenses for cheap labor to swarm into our country from India, the US has already tried that stupid experiment, and that experiment has failed miserably.

Yes, a million US STEM workers have lost their jobs because of the H1B visa has allowed cheap labor to disemploy a million US STEM workers.

If the H1B visa was so wonderful, Silicon Valley, the region where H1B abuse is so prevalent, would not be leading the country in unemployment.

People like Hillary Clinton promised that the H1B would create more jobs. However, the H1B accomplishes the exact opposite. Today, there are fewer jobs for African Americans, women, and whites in Silicon Valley than there were in 2001.

Silicon Valley Outsourcers, like Google, Cisco, Apple, and Yahoo use the H1B visa for two purposes: 1) Import cheap labor from India, and 2) Train H1B visa holders so that they can take their technology and JOBS back to India.

Microsoft is in a state of perpetual layoffs, laying off US STEM workers while simultaneously importing cheap labor from Indian by use of the H1B visa and exporting their operations along with Microsoft jobs to India.

The H1B visa is the tool that facilitates the outsourcing industry, and the Silicon Valley Outsourcers, the MegaBank Outsourcers, and the Wall Street Outsourcers, are following the lead of Bill Gates of using the H1B visa to strip the US of high paying tech jobs to be relocated in India.

Posted by: twinsfan1 | December 4, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@pseudonymousinnc

"How about if Microsoft wants to buy up a Romanian antivirus maker and move the company's staff to Redmond, then supplement it with a handful of additional US hires for each foreign import?"

I just did a quick search here http://www.flcdatacenter.com/CaseH1B.aspx
Last year Microsoft used 4188 foreign workers. That's a lot of Romanian antivirus makers. Meanwhile, they laid off 5000 workers. But that's probably just a coincidence, right?

Posted by: fightthepower13 | December 4, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

On government basic research innovation and the H1B.....a better title is US government job destroying innovation and the hidden H1Bs still being hired by the NIH and universities that do not count against the 65,000 H1B cap.

Even as the official jobless rate approaches 10 % ... the NIH and our university scientists are are still hiring foreign worker scientist H1Bs like there is no tomorrow.

Even the the word foreign scientist is a bit of a stretch since most of the foreign PhDs outside of the US do not have a PhD dissertation requirement, no written thesis required. These 3-4 year H1B scientists are from GB, Italy, Germany, India, China, Japan and are short-circuiting the US route 7 year r to postdoc-dom by at least three years. This destroyed the US taxpaying Americans desire to obtain a PhD.

How and why do the NIH and universites can hire someone as a postdoc that they would not accredit with a PhD? It is because the selfish liberals Drs. in power want to have cheap easily exploitable labor that any science credit and acknowledgment (especially money) can easily be taken from and importantly the foreign H1B/J1 can easily be deported/silenced on a yearly basis.
Thus, the American Recovery Reinvestment Act money going to on the universities and NIH really borders on fraud, as no one in the US can get a PhD without a significant dissertation (approximate time frame 7 years).

How is that the H1Bs are still being hired like there is no government 13 trillion deficient and 10 % employment?

The reason is back the year 2000 Arlen Specter and Phil Gramm passed a bill S 2045 (the American Competitiveness Act) that such that there is no H1B cap, complete exemption for the universities, NIH and the out of control US government. Why? “to ensure that the U.S. economic expansion will not be impeded by a lack of skilled [ foreign] workers.” This is true right this very minute, even while taxpaying citizens that payed their tax since they were working for 2.50 cents an hour are unemployed and are becoming 99ers. .......

Consider this: even at the top 100 H1B using universities and the NIH bethesda there are 20,000 H1Bs. The NIH bethesda is near the top of the most egregious users of the H1B program with 400 H1Bs (this number does not include the J1s, another sad story for taxpayers of liberals and job destroying elitism). This means, let's just say at 50,000 dollars per year per H1B, that 1 billion dollars went directly into the salaries for the foreign H1Bs of the 10 billion dollars of ARRA money. Since this was just the 100 top universities and the NIH Bethesda, the real number is probably 4-5 billion of the ARRA with salaries buildings and supplies.

For real tough and meaningful talk with a significant future impact on the production of future jobs President Obama's tough talk could start with, "the US government is going to have the foreign H1Bs train an US citizen in their job and send them packing.

Posted by: concerneddemo | December 4, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

To all who list the inventions. All inventors were immigrants. List of inventions below by Indians

eg. N.S. Kapany - invented optical fibre which allows all of you to use this blog

More inventions by Indians

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_inventions_and_discoveries#Science

Posted by: nycpingo | December 4, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

10% unemployment rate is the impact of housing bubble (not few thousand skilled foreigners (science graduates, postgraduates) working at competitive salaries or sending a tiny chunk of money abroad). Fixing the root-cause (issues which caused housing bubble) would fix unemployment issue too.

Innovate more, work more, spend less. Focus on the real issue.

Posted by: 6thinkinghats | December 4, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

10% unemployment rate is the impact of housing bubble (not few thousand skilled foreigners (science graduates, postgraduates) working at competitive salaries or sending a tiny chunk of money abroad). Fixing the root-cause (issues which caused housing bubble) would fix unemployment issue too.

Innovate more, work more, spend less. Focus on the real issue.

Posted by: 6thinkinghats | December 4, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The government agencies do not have the personnel to enforce these laws and eventually the family members must rely on public social services. This is exactly the same situation if the Dream Act passes as the 2.1 million eligible students, can sponsor their immediate family once they gain permanent residency. Then after signing a affidavit of support, they can convey to America more mouths to feed, more sick and infirm that taxpayers must support by law, must educate the children, or any new born baby and must imprison convicted felons. This chain migration unfortunately in the majority of cases becomes a taxpayer’s lament, because the chain migration law is never ending.

Among the major acts of Congress providing mass pardons and citizenship benefits:

-- The 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act blanket amnesty for an estimated 2.7 million illegal aliens, which finally became 5 million as the program was full of fraud.

-- 1994: The “Section 245(i)” temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens.

-- 1997: Extension of the Section 245(i) amnesty.

-- 1997: The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act for nearly one million illegal aliens from Central America.

-- 1998: The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti.

-- 2000: Extension of amnesty for some 400,000 illegal aliens who claimed eligibility under the 1986 act.

-- 2000: The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act, which included a restoration of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty for 900,000 illegal aliens.

This is in addition to hundreds of “private relief bills” sponsored in Congress every year.

This is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg that Liberal Democrats have failed to see, or just don't care about. Each year America takes into this country through the visa process over a million new legal immigrants. Those readers interested in the dream Act, should read the full implications of this commitment of the passage of this law: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-3827

Read more about the Dream Act at NumbersUSA and then you decide? Under c

Posted by: infinity555 | December 4, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

A well known anti-open border columnist Michelle Malkin and Champion of Justice has hit the nail squarely on the head about the catering to illegal aliens and the ever widening of doors to let anyone into our nation. Secret or stealth Amnesties have been going on under our noses for years, specifically the laws of Chain Migration, which adds to our population when a legitimate immigrant sponsors family members. The reality is that there is neglect on behalf of our government, to assure the original guarantor doesn't renege on their obligation to keep financing the family members? What happens incessantly is that older sponsored family members become sick and the American taxpayers has to pay for their hospitalization or doctor visits. In addition, the original sponsor loses his job and can no longer support the father or mother, sister or brother, etc.

Posted by: infinity555 | December 4, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Publicly funded yet privately managed – Charter School fraud is an easy concept. Charters can be succesful it depends on the “agenda” of the the managing company. Accountability has not caught up to the growth of the Charter movement. In the USA we have an Islamic Imam – Fethullah Gulen (Gulen Movement) that manages over 130 US Charter schools they have taken over $1 billion in Educational monies in the last 10 years and are growing like rapid fire.
The Gulen schools have a network of foundations and instutitions layered over the schools and much of our educational money is going to non-educational expenses such as: Turkish Olympiads, trips to Turkey for the students and local politicians, H1-b Visas of over 2,000 uncredentialed teachers from Turkey (while American teachers are handed pink slips) this money is to fuel the grand ambition of Fethullah Gulen who lives in exile (for a reason) in the Poconos, PA area with his $25 billion in wealth from inflitration in: education, media, police, poltics and military. Seems the same model works very nicely in the USA. Do your research!!!
http://www.charterschoolwatchdog.com
http://www.charterschoolscandals.blogspot.com
http://www.gulencharterschools.weebly.com

Posted by: SalesA1 | December 4, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

The Gulen Charter schools are guilty of Visa Fraud, their schools Magnolia Science Academy, Horizon Science Academy, Harmony Science Academy and Sonoran Science Academy are bringing foreign teachers without credentials to the USA under h1-b fraud. American Tax payers are footing this bill, you will note that they have more h1-b visas for teachers than the largest school district in the USA (LAUSD)
At a time when great American Teachers are getting pink slipped the Islamic Gulen Movement is dismantling the American Public School System one state at a time. The Gulen Charter Schools have robbed American Taxpayers of over $1 billion in Educational funds over the span of the last 10 years. Throught the network of Gulen Foundations, and bribes via their interfaith dialogue, they have managed to snow job members of congress, local politics, local religious leaders, and local academia. Free dinners and free trips to Turkey to side step their true agenda which is to dominate and control American Education, politics, interfaith dialog, police, media and military. As Fethullah Gulen has done world wide and in his native Turkey which got him exiled for attempting to overthrow a secular government.
http://www.h1bwage.com/index.php?q=science%20teacher
http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2010/07/gulen-schools-and-their-booming-h1b.html

Posted by: SalesA1 | December 4, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

The Gulen Charter schools are guilty of Visa Fraud, their schools Magnolia Science Academy, Horizon Science Academy, Harmony Science Academy and Sonoran Science Academy are bringing foreign teachers without credentials to the USA under h1-b fraud. American Tax payers are footing this bill, you will note that they have more h1-b visas for teachers than the largest school district in the USA (LAUSD)
At a time when great American Teachers are getting pink slipped the Islamic Gulen Movement is dismantling the American Public School System one state at a time. The Gulen Charter Schools have robbed American Taxpayers of over $1 billion in Educational funds over the span of the last 10 years. Throught the network of Gulen Foundations, and bribes via their interfaith dialogue, they have managed to snow job members of congress, local politics, local religious leaders, and local academia. Free dinners and free trips to Turkey to side step their true agenda which is to dominate and control American Education, politics, interfaith dialog, police, media and military. As Fethullah Gulen has done world wide and in his native Turkey which got him exiled for attempting to overthrow a secular government.
http://www.h1bwage.com/index.php?q=science%20teacher
http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2010/07/gulen-schools-and-their-booming-h1b.html

Posted by: SalesA1 | December 4, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

You know what You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check http://ow.ly/3akSX .If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: wilfredtalor | December 5, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

As for Invention of Fiber optics.....

Some one needs to read.........

Developers of Fiber Optic Technology Receive Draper Prize; NAE Awards Now Total $1 Million with New Russ Prize
News date: November 1, 1998


November 1, 1998

WASHINGTON - The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced that three engineers - Charles K. Kao, Robert D. Maurer, and John B. MacChesney - are the recipients of the 1999 Charles Stark Draper Prize for their work in developing fiber optic technology, a watershed event in the global telecommunications and information technology revolution. The $500,000 prize will be presented at a dinner honoring the recipients next February during National Engineers Week.


Posted by: Rbengrguy | December 5, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

So what he is saying is that we should collect payroll taxes from hard working middle class Americans and instead of using the money to pay back the workers with a pension system we should instead use it to build high speed rail systems.

If he wants to do that then he first needs to eliminate the regressive payroll tax and fund the entire government using the income tax.

Funny thing is that the payroll tax has like 99% compliance and the income tax has like 50% compliance so it will be fun to see how many high speed trains we get :-)

Posted by: cautious | December 5, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

"Even the the word foreign scientist is a bit of a stretch since most of the foreign PhDs outside of the US do not have a PhD dissertation requirement, no written thesis required. These 3-4 year H1B scientists are from GB, Italy, Germany, India, China, Japan and are short-circuiting the US route 7 year r to postdoc-dom by at least three years. This destroyed the US taxpaying Americans desire to obtain a PhD."

Either you never did a PhD, or is lying. I did my PhD in India. It started in 1998 and got my degree in 2004. My PhD defence was attended by professors from different parts of the world. I was offered a prestigious post-doc fellowship by a German Institute. During my post-doctoral work in Germany, I attended several PhD defences. I have never seen a PhD awarded without a written thesis, its evaluation and an open defence. Also it is required by most of the universities that you publish papers in a peer-reviewed journal from your research before being awarded with a PhD. I am now in USA perusing research in a top-notch university and has been awarded permanent residency through "outstanding researcher" quota. In my research career in the past 10 years, I have never met a person (from any country) who got a PhD "just like that". Get your facts right before writing!.

Posted by: hutington | December 5, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

We have enough history to understand that government does not innovate. During the last two years Dr. Chu and DOE have wasted billions on "development deals" for connected developers. They have also wasted money of silly research projects - especially a few at MIT.

The only way to effectively spend government money for innovation is to REWARD SOLUTIONS. DOE should offer a $1 billion award for "clean, affordable electricity." There is no risk to the government, the money would only be awarded IF there is a SOLUTION.

Neither Democrats or Republicans know anything about creating jobs - Americans, do.

Posted by: AndrewW1 | December 5, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

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