The political topic that must not be discussed in USA

No, not a 17-year-old’s sex life. That’s fair game in today’s media world, it seems. No, not abortion or whether or not a candidate considered such or will legislate against choice to use it. That’s fair game too. No, not gun ownership or support of that. That’s been discussed at length. No, not whether some candidate was a member of the PTA. That is certainly up for discussion. Certainly energy policy is. Along with service to country and whether or not one party supports the military or the battle against terror, etc.

But what’s not being discussed? How about our nation’s policies toward innovation? I’ve watched a lot of the two political conventions. I’ve heard a few words about support for technology and science — quickly are forgotten in the noise about McCain’s vice presidential pick — but I’ve heard nary a word about how we’re going to ensure that the United States continues to be a place where innovation happens. Increasingly I’m hearing from industry leaders that our innovation leadership is under major attack for a whole lot of reasons. Immigration policy. Education system quality. Taxation and regulation. And on and on.

Yet we don’t openly discuss it. We’d rather talk about some 17-year-old’s sex life or download the latest shiny object from Google. Question: how did that shiny object get here?

So, yesterday I went and talked with one of the formost experts on innovation: Judy Estrin. She’s on the board of directors of Walt Disney and FedEx. She’s written a book on the topic, Closing the Innovation Gap.

Here’s the video shot with my cell phone of our 40-minute conversation about the topic. But, remember, you must not discuss this. It’s in the unwritten rules of politics this year. Instead, head over to Memeorandum and see what you are allowed to talk about. Today’s topic: whether the press is fair when dealing with Presidential Candidates.

Oh, and don’t link to this post. We wouldn’t want it showing up on Memeorandum or Digg now, would we? After all, it’s not on the “approved” list of things to talk about in this political season.

[kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/6118/214193&embedId=49199423]

117 thoughts on “The political topic that must not be discussed in USA

  1. Sorry for the double post, but I was concerned about space limitations.
    One more point to tie things together in my last post;
    That tax I was talking about? It also will be seen when the time comes to reinvest some of those evil profits. There will be less money to go around, and as we have seen frequently, the highest paid people and the big money shareholders rarely give up their loot when things get tight. Who loses? US! corporations usually won’t take chances when money is tight. They tend to put their capital in safe investments like money markets, bonds etc… They won’t grow their businesses, hire people new people to expand their operations or invest in R&D, at least not to the extent they would have if the government weren’t trying to squeeze them for every tax dollar possible!
    Yes, it is getting that bad here in the states. Ireland recently addressed their (formerly) slow economy by cutting tax rates and UNNECESSARY regulations for businesses. The last time I checked, it was paying off for them.
    Why is innovation moving offshore? Because we have allowed our elected officials at the federal level to drive them off with their mismanagement and malfeasance. Believe me, they won’t be crying the same rivers we will when it all comes crashing down- most of them are wealthy enough to weather the storms just fine.
    What galls me the most is that while we see glaring examples of government incompetence and corruption all around us, some folks are just peachy with giving the government more power to mess up more of our lives. Did they screw up social security? Okay, let’s give ‘em the health care system. Let’s give them CAFE standards. Let’s give them Wall Street!
    Let’s give them… Innovation?

  2. Sorry for the double post, but I was concerned about space limitations.
    One more point to tie things together in my last post;
    That tax I was talking about? It also will be seen when the time comes to reinvest some of those evil profits. There will be less money to go around, and as we have seen frequently, the highest paid people and the big money shareholders rarely give up their loot when things get tight. Who loses? US! corporations usually won’t take chances when money is tight. They tend to put their capital in safe investments like money markets, bonds etc… They won’t grow their businesses, hire people new people to expand their operations or invest in R&D, at least not to the extent they would have if the government weren’t trying to squeeze them for every tax dollar possible!
    Yes, it is getting that bad here in the states. Ireland recently addressed their (formerly) slow economy by cutting tax rates and UNNECESSARY regulations for businesses. The last time I checked, it was paying off for them.
    Why is innovation moving offshore? Because we have allowed our elected officials at the federal level to drive them off with their mismanagement and malfeasance. Believe me, they won’t be crying the same rivers we will when it all comes crashing down- most of them are wealthy enough to weather the storms just fine.
    What galls me the most is that while we see glaring examples of government incompetence and corruption all around us, some folks are just peachy with giving the government more power to mess up more of our lives. Did they screw up social security? Okay, let’s give ‘em the health care system. Let’s give them CAFE standards. Let’s give them Wall Street!
    Let’s give them… Innovation?

  3. Interesting topic, but as usual, people are prone to make their cases based on what they want the world to be like rather than the way it really is.
    Innovation is driven by allowing the free market to come up with solutions to problems based on what the market determines to be cost effective. Sure, it would be nice to have miniature fusion generators buried under our houses to power our lives with a minimum of cost and hassle, but who can actually pull it off? That’s the problem. Just as the religious right wing hard-core creationists refuse to acknowledge that a fundamental part of evolution theory is geological time spans- billions of years to see the effect of mutations on the survivability of the progeny, for example- so do the progressive minded individuals refuse to allow for technology to grow and mature over time. A few years ago I would have said that the timeframe for a major auto manufacturer to produce a hydrogen fuel cell car that can be mass produced for a reasonable cost would be at least decades away, yet Honda promises just that by 2012 (and California already has a small fleet of prototypes, I hear!). Even GM has something in the works for the near future- I saw a working prototype on a British TV show.
    The reason? The market is clamoring for a solution to petroleum-based problems, and businesses are taking notice.
    Let me tell you now what doesn’t work. Taxing our corporations 35% on their profits? Unbelievable! What moron let that happen? We have the second highest corporate tax rate in the free world, and I would say enough is enough. Economics 101: If you tax a business, that tax is considered, “operating overhead,”- costs which are simply passed on to the consumers in the form of higher prices at the point of sale. That tax is also passed on to the shareholders in the form of lower returns on their investments. All of you folks clamoring for a windfall profits tax on the oil companies deserve a rash. Don’t you know that a significant percentage of long- term investments (like your parents’ retirement fund) are in energy stocks?

  4. Interesting topic, but as usual, people are prone to make their cases based on what they want the world to be like rather than the way it really is.
    Innovation is driven by allowing the free market to come up with solutions to problems based on what the market determines to be cost effective. Sure, it would be nice to have miniature fusion generators buried under our houses to power our lives with a minimum of cost and hassle, but who can actually pull it off? That’s the problem. Just as the religious right wing hard-core creationists refuse to acknowledge that a fundamental part of evolution theory is geological time spans- billions of years to see the effect of mutations on the survivability of the progeny, for example- so do the progressive minded individuals refuse to allow for technology to grow and mature over time. A few years ago I would have said that the timeframe for a major auto manufacturer to produce a hydrogen fuel cell car that can be mass produced for a reasonable cost would be at least decades away, yet Honda promises just that by 2012 (and California already has a small fleet of prototypes, I hear!). Even GM has something in the works for the near future- I saw a working prototype on a British TV show.
    The reason? The market is clamoring for a solution to petroleum-based problems, and businesses are taking notice.
    Let me tell you now what doesn’t work. Taxing our corporations 35% on their profits? Unbelievable! What moron let that happen? We have the second highest corporate tax rate in the free world, and I would say enough is enough. Economics 101: If you tax a business, that tax is considered, “operating overhead,”- costs which are simply passed on to the consumers in the form of higher prices at the point of sale. That tax is also passed on to the shareholders in the form of lower returns on their investments. All of you folks clamoring for a windfall profits tax on the oil companies deserve a rash. Don’t you know that a significant percentage of long- term investments (like your parents’ retirement fund) are in energy stocks?

  5. I’m sorry for deviating off the original topic of science. I agree this is another fundamental problem that were facing. Judy Estrin, is correct in everything that she talks about, especially the part about education. You have had the opportunity to travel the world and see for yourself what other countries are doing. Japan is an excellent example when it comes to planning for the future. They are making great strides in specific areas, such as robotics. It is obvious now,that as a country they chose to dedicate a great amount of resources to ensure that they would be a key player in this field. They obviously intend to be the Silicon Valley of the robotics revolution. Other countries are trying to carve out their own niche. In the life and biosciences, we seemed to still have an advantage. If we don’t educate all of our children to a higher standard than we currently do, we will have a limited talent pool to lead us forward. The only reason I mentioned the deficit, is because we cannot educate our children if we are broke. This country was built on innovation. Without it, we cannot grow. So as I said before, we have two problems that Washington is afraid to address. Fortunately, we have people like yourself, who are willing to discuss it and bring these issues into the light. Please, keep it up.

  6. I’m sorry for deviating off the original topic of science. I agree this is another fundamental problem that were facing. Judy Estrin, is correct in everything that she talks about, especially the part about education. You have had the opportunity to travel the world and see for yourself what other countries are doing. Japan is an excellent example when it comes to planning for the future. They are making great strides in specific areas, such as robotics. It is obvious now,that as a country they chose to dedicate a great amount of resources to ensure that they would be a key player in this field. They obviously intend to be the Silicon Valley of the robotics revolution. Other countries are trying to carve out their own niche. In the life and biosciences, we seemed to still have an advantage. If we don’t educate all of our children to a higher standard than we currently do, we will have a limited talent pool to lead us forward. The only reason I mentioned the deficit, is because we cannot educate our children if we are broke. This country was built on innovation. Without it, we cannot grow. So as I said before, we have two problems that Washington is afraid to address. Fortunately, we have people like yourself, who are willing to discuss it and bring these issues into the light. Please, keep it up.

  7. Robert,

    Unfortunately there’s not just one issue that can’t be discussed, there’s two. Both parties are afraid to discuss the national debt, which is approximately $50 trillion. For those of you that like to see things visually, let me show you. This Is what $50,000,000,000,000.00, looks like. We pay $3 billion dollars a day($3,000,000,000.00), just to service the interest on the debt. This is without even touching the principle.It kind of sound like the way most Americans, handle their personal debt. This of course is another looming crisis. If we started today to pay off the debt, it would cost every American $175,000.00. Currently, the United States government has zero dollars to pay off the debt. Now, if this is not the most critical issue facing this country, then I don’t know what it is. What makes it worse is, both the Republican and Democratic party will not even bring it up!. It’s kind of like the proverbial elephant in the living room. And, that’s the political topic that must not be discussed in America.

    By the way,if anybody doubts this, I’d be happy to supply an endless stream of facts and figures.

  8. Robert,

    Unfortunately there’s not just one issue that can’t be discussed, there’s two. Both parties are afraid to discuss the national debt, which is approximately $50 trillion. For those of you that like to see things visually, let me show you. This Is what $50,000,000,000,000.00, looks like. We pay $3 billion dollars a day($3,000,000,000.00), just to service the interest on the debt. This is without even touching the principle.It kind of sound like the way most Americans, handle their personal debt. This of course is another looming crisis. If we started today to pay off the debt, it would cost every American $175,000.00. Currently, the United States government has zero dollars to pay off the debt. Now, if this is not the most critical issue facing this country, then I don’t know what it is. What makes it worse is, both the Republican and Democratic party will not even bring it up!. It’s kind of like the proverbial elephant in the living room. And, that’s the political topic that must not be discussed in America.

    By the way,if anybody doubts this, I’d be happy to supply an endless stream of facts and figures.

  9. Agreed, Redfish. I did omit that, but there’s two answers:

    Spirit: Strong science and education is good for the welfare of the nation. Time and time again, it has been seen that a well-educated populace with advanced science is a good investment for both the economy (computers, cars, manufacturing) and defense (radar, weapons, medicine). Jefferson pushed for patents and copyright for this specific reason, and Ben Franklin certainly had good standing in both politics and science. George Washington’s farewell address asks the country to “Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge.”

    Letter: A law certainly qualifies as a policy. Article I, section 8 is in the Constitution, and is directly mentioning responsibilities and powers of the federal gov’t. In it, a responsibility enumerated is to set up laws to encourage science, arts, and other innovation.

    “Please cite the Article or Amendment in the Constitution where is says it is either the President’s or the Federal Govt’s responsibility to establish “policies on innovation”.”

    Therefore, I am citing Article I, section 8 in the Constitution where it says it is the federal gov’t’s responsibility to establish policies, namely laws, on innovation.

  10. Agreed, Redfish. I did omit that, but there’s two answers:

    Spirit: Strong science and education is good for the welfare of the nation. Time and time again, it has been seen that a well-educated populace with advanced science is a good investment for both the economy (computers, cars, manufacturing) and defense (radar, weapons, medicine). Jefferson pushed for patents and copyright for this specific reason, and Ben Franklin certainly had good standing in both politics and science. George Washington’s farewell address asks the country to “Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge.”

    Letter: A law certainly qualifies as a policy. Article I, section 8 is in the Constitution, and is directly mentioning responsibilities and powers of the federal gov’t. In it, a responsibility enumerated is to set up laws to encourage science, arts, and other innovation.

    “Please cite the Article or Amendment in the Constitution where is says it is either the President’s or the Federal Govt’s responsibility to establish “policies on innovation”.”

    Therefore, I am citing Article I, section 8 in the Constitution where it says it is the federal gov’t’s responsibility to establish policies, namely laws, on innovation.

  11. Blain

    I think that the constitution allows it, but that clause specifically relates to the ability of government to have patent and copyright laws.

  12. Blain

    I think that the constitution allows it, but that clause specifically relates to the ability of government to have patent and copyright laws.

  13. “Please cite the Article or Amendment in the Constitution where is says it is either the President’s or the Federal Govt’s responsibility to establish “policies on innovation””

    Article I, section 8, Powers of Congress

    “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” seems like a good hint.

  14. “Please cite the Article or Amendment in the Constitution where is says it is either the President’s or the Federal Govt’s responsibility to establish “policies on innovation””

    Article I, section 8, Powers of Congress

    “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” seems like a good hint.

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