Random Thoughts on Education and the Industrial Base of US
This may just be random thoughts but, "more emphasis on education at all levels, which I believe is a fundamental source of economic growth and prosperity, wouldn’t hurt" this makes me think about too much emphasis on social engineering that discourages the best and brightest from achieving success. Too many times I hear about trying to equalize outputs to make everyone feel good. I believe our best and brightest need opportunities to create a better world. The externalities from leading scientist are more important IMO than trying to get everyone into college, for example.
And I need to comment on: "After all, we don’t do as much manufacturing anymore, why should we need as many scientists and engineers?" by rakehell. I think we still need engineers and scientists as an important aspect of our economy irrespective of industrial base. The raw knowledge and information is still vital to economic growth. This is not an area that will loose importance in the growth of countries. Not like farming or manufacturing that have less and less work force in all developed countries.
Which brings up the second point on rakeshell's statement that has been widely disseminated as truth but completely false in: we don’t do as much manufacturing anymore. Hopefully this link to Council of Economic Advisers (pdf) will work or this link and choose first link. These files do not have data but the graphs which clearly show that while manufacturing employment as a percent of total labor has dropped from just under 35% in pre-1945 to now just over 10% in 2004, industrial production has increased from a low of 10 (1997=100 indexed) to around 110 and this year will be the highest ever. It did drop from 1999 until 2003.
Just like before the US economy transferred from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy, we will transfer to something else and even be better off.