The Presidential candidates of Republican and Democratic Party have their plans to boost the economy and create jobs, but exactly how they will do that is a question for capitalists.
Even though the federal government employs over 4 million people, the most of nations’ jobs are in the hands of businesses. Moreover, the candidates don’t tend to campaign on promises of hiring more federal workers.
In this scenario, tech-mogul Bill Gates presents a solution for how next government can create jobs. He says the federal government needs to increase its spending on research.
In an essay, he says that the federal research budget has been America’s Secret Weapon. “Investing in R&D isn’t about the government picking winners and losers. The markets will do that. It’s about doing what we know works: making limited and targeted investments to lay a foundation for America’s entrepreneurs. This approach has been fundamental to U.S. leadership for decades, and it will become only more important in the years ahead,” Gates stated.
Gates says that many of the world’s largest companies and industries all came about because of US investment in research. “By the end of World War II, the United States led the world in automobiles, aerospace, electronics, medicine, and other areas,” he writes.
US funded research also spawned the “microchip revolution,” which led to the PC industry, including the creation of Microsoft and other software giants.
US research investment also created the internet, while investments in health and biotech research do everything from global disease control to funding university breakthroughs.
But, he notes, the US is in danger of falling behind (emphasis added): “More countries than ever are competing for global leadership, and they know the value of innovation. Since 2000, South Korea’s research and development spending (measured as a percentage of GDP) has gone up 90 percent. China’s has doubled. The United States’ has essentially flat lined. It’s great that the rest of the world is committing more, but if the United States is going to maintain its leading role, it needs to up its game.”
For example, Gates points out that, in previous decades, the US Department of Energy spent billions developing technology around fossil fuels.
“Yet, until this year, the DOE’s research budget hasn’t seen a real increase since the Reagan administration,” he writes.
He’d like to see the department investing more into new clean-energy tech that will, he argues, not only create jobs but also fight climate change, reduce US dependence on foreign oil, and improve the lives of 1.3 billion poor people who don’t have affordable energy today.