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I'm not sure I agree. While I do think the patent system needs some serious examination there is really little new here. The main thrust of this proposal seems to be that if we want to improve America's scientific competitiveness we need to increase the supply of technical workers, which will reduce their cost. I don't agree, and I think they have mis-defined the problem.
Technological competitiveness is not about how much technology you are doing but what kind. You don't want to lead the world in having development sweatshops where people grind out code for hours at low wages. Having that sort of work move offshore is not what is breaking our technological competitiveness. What is important is that the work is directed from here and that the US owns the intellectual property.
You want to lead the world in creating new innovations. The problem isn't that the economics of turning innovations into products aren't working out and so people aren't doing the innovation or they aren't doing it here. The problem is on the demand side and not the supply side.
Doing great science and engineering is hard, and it requires people that are not just well educated, but really smart. Lowering the barriers to entry into science and engineering and flooding the market with additional workers (with the ultimate intent of lowering salaries) is going to make engineering even less attractive as a field then it already is. The result will be that you'll have more technical people, but they won't be as good. The smart ones will be even more likely to opt for a career in law, medicine, or management. You'll end up being really good at making software cheap and not very good at all at figuring out what software ought to be made. They should be focusing instead on how to incent the best and brightest to pursue graduate science and engineering educations by increasing the opportunities that exist for those people once they graduate.
They also need to recognise that technical innovation is fundamentally disruptive and threatens established institutions. Creating tax credits for large company R&D will result in a lot more things being called "research" on paper but not a lot more new products and services. You need to create an environment where people are incented to pursue startups that create new technologies. Our political and cultural response to the dotcom bust has not been to figure out how to do it better and with more rational exuberance, but rather to oppose the very idea of high tech startups. The stock option expense rule has done more damage to our technological competitiveness then Indian outsourcing firms ever will. There is definately something broken in the startup space, and there are policy measures that can be taken to fix those problems. This set of proposals doesn't even touch on the subject.
Ultimately, going down this road is simply going to further drive our downward spiral in this regard.
RE: Rising Above The Gathering Storm