3. Fund renewable energy. You've heard us expound on the "energy imperative" before. Energy remains a fundamental economic and national security. U.S. funding ought to focus on high-risk, high-payoff research like novel ways to boost solar efficiency. Agencies like the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and U.S. military labs are already funding useful research. Future U.S. spending on energy research must emphasize sustainable technologies and job creation, whether it be "green" engineering or energy conservation.
4. Rebuild the U.S. power grid. This is a critical requirement that candidate Barack Obama stressed repeatedly during the 2008 presidential campaign. A smart U.S. power grid that can efficiently distribute energy produced far from population centers will do for the 21st century U.S. economy what the Interstate Highway System did for the 20th century.
5.Fix the U.S. tax code to expand tax credits for sustainable technologies that reduce pollution and generate new jobs.
How all this will be paid for is the next big political debate. Many economists argue that federal and state budget deficits matter little so long as the U.S. economy remains mired in the worst slump since the Great Depression. That view makes increasing sense as the layoff notices continue nonstop.
The key for the U.S. high-tech industry in the coming debate will be meeting Washington halfway. If the UAW makes concessions to help save U.S. car makers, then the high-tech sector must pledge to keep more jobs in the U.S., pay engineers a living wage and give them a stake in their company's future.
Regardless of our differences on taxes, economic policy and other national priorities, one thing remains clear: The Obama administration and Congress must act, the sooner the better.