US Senator Jeff Bingaman (Dem. - NM), in "Introducing Protecting America's Competitive Edge Act" says:
We are on the brink of a new industrial and commercial world order. The reality of the twenty-first century global economy is that China, India, and other nations once considered economic backwaters have discovered how to build strong economies around very sophisticated technology.
On the Pacific Rim, China has increased spending on colleges and universities almost tenfold in the last decade, and is doubling the proportion of GDP invested in that same period on R&D to promote competitiveness and growth. India is raising its funding of science agencies by 27 percent, and Japan is increasing its investments in life science by 32 percent, while South Korea is upgrading research spending by 8.5 percent.
As our share of the world's technical graduate workforce slips, European and Asian universities are churning out ever greater numbers of workers in scientific fields. And while young Americans may shy away from technical careers because they perceive better opportunities in other high-level occupations, there are still sufficient rewards to attract ever-increasing numbers of foreign graduate students eager to pursue science and engineering degrees.
All of these signs, granted, are a cause for concern. Yet none of them, however, is a cause for panic. To state the facts frankly is not to despair about the future, nor is it to indict the past. Our task today is not to fix the blame for yesterday, but to set the proper and prudent course for tomorrow.
These revolutionary changes in the global marketplace for highly skilled technical workers are dislodging the long-standing dominance of the U.S. scientific enterprise.
That is causing our comparative advantage in high tech production to suffer and, despite the extraordinary power and resilience of our economy, signals a lengthy and difficult period of adjustment for American industry, its workforce, and ultimately our strong middle class standard of living which makes this country great.
It also flags a pivotal moment in American history--a time of national peril, as well as a time of national opportunity.
What should we do about these international challenges? We have absolutely no choice but to emphasize what we do best in this coming rivalry. Our most important strengths have always been education and innovation. Our can-do spirit of commercializing technological innovation has always been America's core competence. We do it far better than anyone else--we have done it before, and we can continue to excel at it.