Or so says economic and business guru of everything Michael Porter of Harvard.
Columnist David Brooks writes about his conversation with Porter regarding what the expected economic stimulus package President-elect Obama is working with Congress to put together should contain.
Porter wrote that the U.S. economy has historically benefited from several great assets: an unparalleled environment for entrepreneurialism, a tremendous infrastructure for scientific research, the world’s best universities, a strong commitment to competition and free markets, decentralized regional economies, and efficient capital markets.
But, Porter continued, these advantages are starting to erode. The U.S. has an inadequate rate of reinvestment in science and technology. America’s confidence in free markets is waning. Lack of regulatory oversight has undermined capital markets. Universities have not sufficiently increased graduation rates. American workers do not have a credible safety net. Regulations and litigation have inflated the cost of business. Most important, there is no long-term economic strategy to organize responses to these problems.
I asked Porter how this short-term crisis might serve as an opportunity to address those long-term problems. First, he said, the Obama team will have to avoid a few temptations: Don’t just try to throw out money as fast as possible to stimulate demand. Don’t spread the spending around too thinly. Don’t try to save jobs that are going to disappear anyway.
Then he threw out a bunch of ideas that could be part of a stimulus package:
Send federal money to the states, but make sure a lot of it goes to state universities. There’s going to be increased demand for their services at the same time their budgets are cut. We can’t weaken that link in the social mobility chain.
Dear Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and members of the Ohio General Assembly,
Did you happen to see Friday’s New York Times?