A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Labor Day Weekend Check List

Dear Research Advocate:

Labor Day might mean a last chance for R&R, but it also means that election day is right around the corner. It only takes a minute to send a quick email or direct a tweet to candidates. Think of them as candidates for the role of R&D champion! And take a moment to share this call to action with your colleagues, friends and family. The power of social media is undeniable.

aycbeachThere are only 10 days until Congress returns to Washington to face a lengthy to-do list, which is unlikely to shrink much before the November elections. Appropriations action for FY15 has stalled out, with new battle lines being drawn over the time span for a Continuing Resolution (CR). Whatever the length, a CR is no more a solution than is kicking the can down the road on tax provisions. The medical device tax remains unchanged despite its intuitively counterproductive effect on the capital needed to develop lifesaving medical technologies, not to mention the jobs and new businesses that go with that development.  In addition, the R&D tax credit has not been renewed, let alone enhanced or made permanent. If we want our GDP to grow, our tax policies should be aligned with that goal. As things stand, if we don’t figure out how to boost our economy, China’s GDP is projected to surpass ours by 2017. 

And speaking of China, you may have heard Battelle’s prediction that China’s R&D investment will surpass that of the U.S. by 2023. If federal policy makers were trying to assure China’s economic ascendance and America’s economic decline, I’m not sure they could come up with a better plan than the one that is unfolding by default. Think about it: China is accelerating its investment in R&D, strengthening its educational system, and creating a regulatory environment as conducive as possible to medical and other innovation in order to attract businesses its way.  Meanwhile, our nation is busy draining dollars from the discretionary portion of the budget, the portion that supports R&D, education and regulatory modernization, while we cling to tax policies that we know mute private sector R&D investment. (China, of course, is not the only nation ramping up R&D while we rest on our laurels, seemingly attached to the groundless belief that the U.S. is so head-and-shoulders ahead of other nations that we can operate on cruise control.)

These issues and more will be explored during our 2014 National Health Research Forum on Thursday, September 11 at the Newseum. This year’s forum will have a special focus on changes – some inevitable, others desirable, and still others, with your commitment, avoidable – to the research landscape over the next decade. For more information and to register, please click here. Seats are filling up fast, reserve yours today!

Mary Woolley

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