Forbes – There’s A Way To Pay Off America’s Budget Deficits That Is Easy, And Painless

2 Jun

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Whatever your views on the role of government, one thing is clear: There will be no way to pay for it if the economy doesn’t grow. And I’m not talking by a measly percentage point or two. If we can’t find our way back to 5 percent annual economic growth or above soon, America’s accumulated federal and state debts will propel us down the same downward spiral as Detroit, Stockton, and Greece.

So how do we reach that kind of growth? Innovate!

Few sectors of our economy remain as vibrant as the convergence of consumer electronics and telecommunications. Freed from the shackles of government-sanctioned monopoly 30 years ago and fueled by Moore’s Law advances and Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, an explosion of innovation is powering growth that is rare in other sectors of our economy.

Yet, it could come crashing down, if we follow the lead of Europe and buy into the Precautionary Principle, “the idea that new innovations should in some way be curtailed or disallowed until their developers can prove that they will not cause any harms to either individuals, groups, specific entities, cultural norms, business models, or other types of traditions.” That’s the explanation provided by Adam Thierer, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and author of Permissionless Innovation: The Continuing Case for Comprehensive Technological Freedom.

The Precautionary Principle has inserted itself deftly in Europe, where public intellectuals like Thomas Piketty are praised for wanting to sacrifice progress and growth on the altar of equality. That stands in bold contrast to America’s tradition of rewarding what Thierer calls “permissionless innovation.” For public policy, this leads to a simple prescription. As he argues, “[U]nless a compelling case can be made that a new invention will bring serious harm to society, innovation should be allowed to continue unabated. If problems develop they can be addressed after the fact.” [Emphasis added]

To read the rest of the of the column click here.

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