During the Presidential election last year, the fate of workers in American manufacturing and coal mining was front and center. Entire communities have been decimated by the decline of these industries.
Unfortunately, anyone who says we can return to the Golden Age of employment in either is making false promises. You didn't hear this during Presidential campaign coverage, but American manufacturing is at an all-time high.
Take another second to consider that point: American manufacturing is at an all-time high. That's not a typo.
Manufacturing jobs are disappearing because of automation, not because they are being shipped overseas.
Robots are stealing our jobs, not the Chinese.
The story is similar for coal mining. Many coal jobs were lost because of automation. And many more were lost because natural gas is now a cheaper alternative. We cannot reverse the march of automation. And there is no indication that natural gas will lose its status as a cheaper alternative to coal.
We need to invest in the jobs of the future, not make empty promises. And those jobs of the future will depend on public investment in research.
Private funding for research and development focuses on the short term -- on results that will have the quickest impact on the bottom line. Public funding for research lays the foundation for private research. For example, public research helps us understand cellular changes that cause disease. Private research takes that information and finds cures for specific diseases which can be sold to consumers.
Private innovation builds upon public investment.