THE LAUNCHING PAD
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
“… America should be for the 21st-century world what Cape Canaveral was for America in the 1960s. Cape Canaveral was the launching pad for our one national moon shot. It was a hugely inspiring project that drove scientific research, innovation, education and manufacturing. But we’re not going to have a national moon shot again.
Instead, [the president] should aspire to make America the launching pad where everyone everywhere should want to come to launch their own moon shot, their own start-up, their own social movement. We can’t stimulate or tax-cut our way to growth. We have to invent our way there. The majority of new jobs every year are created by start-ups. The days when Ford or G.E. came to town with 10,000 jobs are over. Their factories are much more automated today, and their products are made in global supply chains. Instead, we need 2,000 people in every town each starting something that employs five people.
We need everyone starting something! Therefore, we should aspire to be the world’s best launching pad because our work force is so productive; our markets the freest and most trusted; our infrastructure and Internet bandwidth the most advanced; our openness to foreign talent second to none; our funding for basic research the most generous; our rule of law, patent protection and investment-friendly tax code the envy of the world; our education system unrivaled; our currency and interest rates the most stable; our environment the most pristine; our health care system the most efficient; and our energy supplies the most secure, clean and cost-effective.
… If we can make America the best place to dream something, design something, start something, collaborate with others on something and manufacture something – in an age in which every link in that chain can now be done in so many more places – our workers and innovators will do just fine.”