Is the United States losing its competitive edge in high technology?
Yes, it is, according to a report issued Wednesday by the AeA, formerly known as the American Electronics Association. The major high-tech trade association claims the U.S. is losing its competitive advantage as other countries become more aggressive, but there is still time to act.
The 32-page PDF document makes two tiers of recommendations. The first tier includes immediate changes that have already been introduced in various bills including championing dramatic improvements in the U.S. educational system; support and increase research and development (R&D); and enact high-skilled visa reform.
The second set of recommendations cover ongoing public policy and include creating a more business friendly environment in the United States, engaging proactively in the global trade system; and promoting broadband diffusion.
The study is significant in that it follows up on the AeA's alarming report of two years ago in which it first said the U.S. is at risk of squandering its edge in science, technology and innovation.
For example, the report cites that China graduates almost six times as many engineers as the United States. Japan, with less than half the population of the United States, graduates 60 percent more engineers. South Korea -- with one-sixth the population and one-twelfth the gross domestic product -- graduates slightly more engineers than the United States.
Likening the U.S. to the proverbial frog in the pot of hot water, the AeA said: "Today, the heat is still rising and we are still in the pot."
Fortunately, the association said both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Bush each appear to be "on the same page" on the issue and have plans to support legislation designed to improve the U.S. competitive situation.