Google's Schmidt Outlines Ways To Fix America


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If any organization knows how to innovate, it's Google; this week alone, the company discussed phones that would translate languages in real time, unveiled a Street View snowmobile, and announced its intention to test ultra high-speed broadband networks.  It may make sense, then, that CEO Eric Schmidt has tried to address America's "innovation deficit."

Eric SchmidtSchmidt wrote an editorial for The Washington Post, and in it, outlined five ways to address said deficit.  (Schmidt also noted that Commerce Secretary Gary Locke coined the term.)  All of his suggestions were rather interesting.

First, Schmidt stated, "[S]tart-ups and smaller businesses must be able to compete on equal terms with their larger rivals. . . .  Congress should ensure that every bill it passes promotes competition over protecting the interests of incumbents."

He then recommended tolerating failure as long as something can be learned from it, and on a related note, extending a research and development tax credit.

Next, the CEO wrote, "[I]nformation must become even more open and accessible."  Schmidt put forward the idea of government-funded research being made public through a Wikipedia-like resource, and asked the government support broadband, too.

Lastly, he stressed, "[W]e need to hang on to talented people.  The best and brightest from around the world come to study at U.S. universities.  After graduation, they are forced to leave because they can't get visas.  It's ridiculous to export such talent to our competition."

At least a couple of these ideas are sure to prove controversial.  Yet due to Google's growing influence in Washington - along with its success in so many areas - Schmidt's recommendations are almost guaranteed to reach the ears of some important people.

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