Earlier this week, I attended the 7th Annual Summit on the Economy in Washington, D.C., an all-day conference which brings together notable policymakers and economists to do some big thinking on the current and future state of the economy.
While topics were far-ranging, from addressing the challenges of workers and communities left behind to the future of capitalism, I was struck by how pervasive the theme of tech’s key role in the economy was throughout the conference. For example, during a panel discussion addressing whether U.S. innovation and dynamism are in decline, one of the panelists, Evan Burfield of 1776, observed tech has “eaten the whole economy, and it is the economy now.” During another panel on the future of work, one of the central themes was how innovation is rapidly reshaping how we work.
Several SIA policy priorities also cropped up in the broader context of how public policy can strengthen the U.S. economy. For example, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) argued that for the U.S. economy to remain competitive and dynamic, developing and accessing top talent in the United States is key.
[DOWNLOAD SIA'S 2017 POLICY PRIORITIES]
In another session addressing how to build a better economy, Dr. Doug Holtz-Eakin, President of America Action Forum, referenced the U.S. semiconductor industry to illustrate the importance of free trade. He pointed out that the historic semiconductor trade agreement in the early 1990s between the United States and Japan helped open markets for our industry and improve our competitiveness. The result, in Dr. Holtz-Eakin’s words, was that “we [the U.S. semiconductor industry] ate their [Japan’s semiconductor industry] lunch.”
In all, I was encouraged to hear at the conference many of the distinguished thinkers underscoring how important a role the tech sector broadly, and the semiconductor industry specifically, plays in the economy and the prosperity it has generated here and around the world.