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Innovation Will Help the Middle Class

Innovation is an intrinsic aspect of the American identity, and an indispensable tool to ensuring the future success of our economy and middle class.

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President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night demonstrated the importance of U.S. science and economic competitiveness to a prosperous and growing middle class. His focus on “keeping the American Dream alive,” invoking core American values of “fair play,” and “shared responsibility,” were inexorably linked to his administration’s past innovation policy actions and proposals for 2012.

This reflects the Obama administration’s clear understanding that innovation is an intrinsic aspect of the American identity, and an indispensable tool to ensuring the future success of our economy and middle class. Indeed, as the president said last night, “innovation is what America has always been about.”

Certainly, technology can be a double-edged sword. It creates, as the president said, “new American jobs, and new American industries,” but “technology… also [makes] some jobs obsolete.” The only way to compete for the new jobs, new businesses, and new industries that technology brings is to keep our economy on the cutting edge by investing in the building blocks of innovation—the assets our businesses, workers, and industries need to stay best in class.

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