Whether Biden or Trump wins, they must use innovation to rebuild US economy - Business Insider

Opinion | No matter if Biden or Trump wins the presidency, there is one thing the next president must do to help rebuild the US economy: boost innovation. By

10/31/2020 4:34:00 PM

Opinion | No matter if Biden or Trump wins the presidency, there is one thing the next president must do to help rebuild the US economy: boost innovation. By

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, including the expansion of several renewable energy related tax credits, a small business retirement tax credit, and a "Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit" that would reduce the tax liability for businesses experiencing layoffs.While the two candidates are mostly using the standard playbook from their party, both candidates should consider investing in education for America's small businesses on the tax options available to them. 

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Fortune 500 companies leverage whole tax departments to claim every available incentive to spur growth, a luxury that the average American small business doesn't have. If our next leader wants to leverage tax policy to spur innovation efforts, informing all American businesses of available opportunities will be a key first step.

Incentivizing onshoringAnother critical issue that will face the next president will be creating an economically viable environment for businesses to innovate and produce here in the US. One of the main challenges, of course, will be dissuading companies from

offshoring to countrieslike China and India, which tout cheap labor, utilities, and infrastructure development.The pandemic was also a wakeup call. The US scrambled to get the needed equipment to deal with the coronavirus and was forced to rely on adversarial countries like China to obtain the lifesaving goods. 

Despite the need to rebuild America's manufacturing infrastructure, reasonable minds, including our own, have disagreed with President Trump's trade war. The president's tariffs on aluminum, steel, and lumber were meant to drive business to American providers, but the punitive approach has seemed to have made it more difficult to conduct business overseas. 

By contrast, Biden has proposed a 10% surtax for corporations that specifically offshore manufacturing jobs to foreign countries, which would effectively raise the corporate tax rate to 30.8%. His team points to his "Made in America" plan as a way to combat offshoring, which also proposes a 10% tax credit for companies that invest in "revitalizing closed or nearly closed facilities, retooling or expanding facilities, and bringing production or service jobs back to the US." Biden appears to take a more balanced approach, offering proposals that serve as both targeted protection and incentives for businesses to stay here. 

The truth is that an effective plan for incentivizing onshoring will lean more heavily on incentives that will allow businesses to view the US as the economically viable country for their operations and, in turn, their innovation efforts.Federal Funding for R&D

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An important question remains: how would a President Trump or President Biden leverage the federal government to financially support the development of new technologies that could strengthen the US's position as a mecca for innovation — one that ensures that the next Apple or Facebook is founded here?  

During his first term President Trump's approach to funding innovation was the reverse of his phi tax policy — favoring targeted investments instead of going for a broad-based strategy to lift all companies. So while the Trump administration has increased funding for the so-called "Industries of the Future" — including quantum computing, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, 5G and AI — the president has

overallproposed cuts to the federal research budget in each of his four years in office. Biden, who has also cited China as a threat to American economic prosperity, has proposed broader policies including partnerships between companies and the government as well as direct federal funding for R&D activities — including $300 billion over four years toward the advancement of critical "new industries and technologies" such as 5G and AI. 

Overall, federal funding of R&D is an area of considerable crossover appeal. The value behind these efforts is not something either party owns, and is evidenced by broad support on both sides of the aisle. However, the great challenge for our next president will be ensuring that America's small and medium sized businesses aren't overshadowed by the tech conglomerates of our country. An enormous amount of innovation and disruptive technology is birthed from our country's smaller businesses, and new policies mustn't bypass the businesses that need it the most. 

Building a STEM Support SystemRegardless of what business policies either candidate were to implement, it would all be for naught if we do not address the innovation "elephant" in the room: a dire lack of future innovators.The US hasconsistently fallen behind

countries like Germany, India, Russia and China in terms of total STEM graduates, leaving technical jobs that could inject necessary capital into our economy unfilled year after year. Our next leader must make changes to reinvigorate our country's approach to STEM education in order to create a more viable pipeline of technical talent.

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President Trump released a five-year plan for STEM education, focusing less on direct funding and more on emphasizing apprenticeship programs.Trump has, however, proposedincreasing education spending by $900 million in order to teach technical skills and trades, while prioritizing STEM in education grants by investing $540 million in 2019.

Biden has proposed investing further in vocational training and partnerships with high schools and community colleges, particularly in minority communities, in order for students to harness necessary technical skills. His campaign claims it would invest approximately $5 billion in graduate STEM programs that focus on internship and career pipelines.

Finding Common Ground Through InnovationIn sum, it seems that Trump and Biden have taken normal stances for their party lines towards encouraging business innovation. Biden has pitched public-private partnerships as the key to innovation and economic development, while President Trump has focused on tearing down government roadblocks such as taxes and regulations that he feels limits innovation efforts.

Glimmers of hope, such as bipartisan support for tax credits that incentivize research and development, prove that there is an understanding in Democratic and Republican circles for the need to retain technical talent, keep jobs here in the US and reward innovation.

The question now becomes whether we have the political will to make these aspirations a reality.Small and medium sized businesses make up the backbone of our economy, with more than99% of all businesses being small, and employing half of the country's workforce. As a result of the pandemic, however, millions have filed for unemployment while countless businesses have shuttered.

These companies have historically been a driving force behind our country's innovation efforts, and will ultimately be the key to our economic recovery in the days after COVID-19. That's why it's critical for our next president to embrace policies that foster innovation and offer the necessary support to American businesses so they can chart a path toward sustainable growth.

Whether we see a President Trump or Biden, one thing remains certain, our next leader must recognize the economic imperative of embracing policies that will enable our country's small to mid-sized companies to flourish. American businesses need the tools necessary to accelerate and meet their maximum potential today more than ever before.

The good news? Thereisa path forward, and unleashing American innovation will be the key.Rick Lazio is currently a Senior Vice President at Alliantgroup, and is a former U.S. Representative from New York. Lazio served in Congress from 1993-2001. After Congress, Rick moved to the private sector working for JP Morgan Chase as a Managing Director and then Executive Vice President. 

Joe Crowley is a Senior Policy Advisor at Squire Patton Boggs in Washington and serves on alliantgroup's Strategic Advisory Board. He was first elected to Congress in 1998 to represent New York's 7th District. After redistricting following the 2010 census, in 2012 he was elected as the representative of New York's 14th District. While in Congress, Crowley served as Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s).Read the original article on. Copyright 2020.NewsletterSign up for a daily selection of our best stories daily based on your reading preferences.LoadingSomething is loading.Email address

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