(Bloomberg Opinion) — For a few years now, commentators (including myself) have been calling for a big boost in research spending by the U.S. federal government. In their book “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream,” economists Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson called for devoting $100 billion a year to develop a network of new research centers around the country. A team at the Brookings Institution came up with a more modest but still substantial plan for $10 billion a year, funneled through universities.
Big ideas like this often tend to languish for years or decades before legislators decide to take a stab at implementing them — if they ever do. In this era of partisan posturing, that seems especially likely to happen. But amazingly, a bipartisan group of legislators is acting on the idea of major new research spending. The Endless Frontier Act