On a recent CBS News radio broadcast, Dow Chemical President, Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris said that what the U.S. needs is a “national mission.” Liveris noted that after President John F. Kennedy’s famous 1961 challenge that the U.S. send a man to the moon by the end of the decade, the newly birthed “space race” actually created industries devoted to the cause.
So what could our national mission be? It doesn’t need to have the glamour or international drama of the space race. Consider something closer to home: upgrading our way to a more energy efficient infrastructure.
Sure, that includes things like renewable energy from wind and solar power, but we’ve heard about those things over and over already. Certainly, it’s an important piece of the puzzle, but there is so much more to it than that. Consider other potential projects (not even including innovations that are yet to come):
• Upgrading our highway system and major surface roads to improve traffic flow, ease congestion — and hence reduce fuel consumption.
• Upgrading and expanding transit systems to make travel more convenient and cost-effective for commuters.
• Reshoring our manufacturing efforts to reduce freight costs, as well as supply chain risk.
• Discovering and developing additional sources of renewable energy.
Really, this is a pretty simple list. But if you were to propose a national mission to give domestic manufacturing and technological innovation a big boost … what would it be?