Thursday, September 30, 2010

[Video] Former Intel CEO Craig Barrett: U.S. Looking Back While Rest of the World Passes Us By

Looks like more and more people are 'getting it'.  Some excellent comments by ex Intel (INTC) CEO Craig Barrett in this Tech Ticker interview.  Unfortunately, it appears people with vision and long term intentions want little to do with our politics and I cannot blame them.  The country's toxic mix of "short termism" (do nothing until the couch is on fire... and then only deal with the couch....rather than seeing the neighborhood on fire) and political dysfunction, is a massive retardant to our prosperity.  While it is popular now to say all government is evil, that's not true - we are biased based on "OUR" government.  Indeed much of our innovation was born from public/private partnerships in the 40s, 50s, 60s.  Other countries actually have a government who assists rather than serve to hinder the private sector - so everyone domestically starts from a huge disadvantage from day 1 in our global competition.  That doesn't mean government needs to be "big" - just functional and (somewhat) efficient, and open to solutions that will take more than 1 election cycle to bear fruit.  The two headed monster (which from time to time, take turns being the head) has been a self serving failure the past few decades.  Perhaps even longer but with much of the developed world rebuilding from wars, it wasn't so obvious.  Now there is little margin for error.

p.s. if you missed it, there was a great cover story in BusinessWeek this summer with another former Intel CEO Andy Grove (see here) on the problems we now have by gutting our manufacturing base.  It was an excellent piece, even if one does not agree with every solution.


5 minute video

When former Intel CEO Craig Barrett joined us earlier this week to talk about President Obama's education initiatives, we asked him about Otellini's comments, which fueled criticism that President Obama is anti-business.

"I don't think Paul Otellini said he's anti-business: he said the admin is having trouble understanding the needs of business, especially in this difficult time," Barrett says.

To that point, Otellini also said the Obama administration is "flummoxed by their experiment in Keynesian economics not working."

A Bipartisan Failure
Without speaking for his successor, Barrett was quick to point out America's problems  didn't start with President Obama. "Both sides have done exactly the same thing, which is not much," to address what Barrett says are the three things necessary for countries to compete in the 21st Century:
  • -- A good education system. (Barrett, who is on the board of the President “Change the Equation” initiative talks about those challenges here.)
  • -- Investment in R&D.
  • -- The right environment for good ideas to become viable, i.e. immigration policy, protection for intellectual property and tax policy.
"We're zero for three," the former CEO quips. "What we're seeing now - stimulus spending which is 'shovel ready'. We're paving roads instead of putting in infrastructure for the 21st century. U.S. corporate tax rates are the highest in the world, which is a disincentive to investing here. Those are the things Paul was talking about."

"If you want to be competitive you've got the have education, research and development and tax policy to make the U.S. the best place in the world to invest. None of that is happening - none of that," he laments. "Meanwhile, the rest of the world are in their vehicles looking through the windshield."


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