Department of Commerce

There's a War in Cyberspace over Icons vs. Text
January 17, 2013

How would you like to learn about an app's terms of service?

The Captive of San Clemente
December 21, 2012

THAT FAINT CLANKING SOUND, arriving through the open window of his home office: Was it coming from the courtyard? Was it being made by the pulley they’d attached to the house’s outside wall? Christ, it couldn’t be, thought Nixon, looking at his new digital watch: 6:15 p.m. No, they still had the round-the-clock nurse with them, and she wouldn’t be letting Pat get up from her long afternoon nap for another 15 minutes, when he’d join her for a glass of fruit juice and dinner off the TV trays. He heard the clanking again and realized it was just the halyard hitting the flagpole.

Hubs of Manufacturing: Let’s Get Started
August 21, 2012

Hubs and clusters, institutes and ecosystems: In recent years, we and others have talked a lot about the morphology of innovation systems, which are frequently anchored by major centers of research and comprised of related regional groups of entrepreneurs, orbiting firms, industry actors, and educational institutions. Strengthening that optimal structure was the idea behind our companion proposals for the creation of a network of regional energy discovery-innovation institutes and the establishment of a program to aid and abet nascent clusters with competitive grants.

Let’s Get Real, No One’s Eliminating Any Cabinet Departments
November 11, 2011

Rick Perry’s “Oops” on Wednesday joined the small canon of legendary phrases from presidential debates, right up there with “You’re no Jack Kennedy.” His inability to remember one of the three government agencies he would promise to eliminate as president, together with his smirking indifference to whether it even mattered, was probably the final moment of a candidacy that was already doomed by his lack of preparation for the national stage. But does it matter?

Beyond Solyndra: Partnerships for Clean Energy
September 19, 2011

co-authored with Lew Milford* If you’re tired of the acrimony and gridlock currently stymieing progress toward a lower-carbon future in the United States, perhaps you’ll want to check out the discussion underway today at the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Va. There, the Metro Program along with the Patent Office, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, and the Clean Energy Group are hosting what should be a far more edifying discussion on clean energy than has been in evidence in recent weeks.

Can Foreign Investment Revive U.S. Manufacturing?
June 20, 2011

Amid growing concerns over Greek debt and the probability of another economic slowdown, the administration quietly launched SelectUSA last week, an initiative designed to attract foreign direct investment to the United States. While announced at a Business Roundtable event, SelectUSA went relatively unnoticed by the media, far less so than the highly-publicized National Export Initiative of 2010. However, this does not mean that foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States is less important than growing U.S.

About the Economy...
January 28, 2011

It's a busy news day and I'm preoccupied with some reporting. So I'm going to outsource analysis of today's economic numbers to Catherine Rampell of the New York Times: The gross domestic product, a broad measure of the goods and services produced in the country, grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter, up from 2.6 percent in the previous period, according to a Commerce Department report released Friday. Because of this slightly speedier expansion, the nation’s overall economic output has finally matched its peak before the recession.

The Wasteful Homebuyer Tax Credit
June 24, 2010

Last fall, Ted Gayer estimated that some 85% of the homes purchased through the home buyer took credit would have been purchased anyway. Howard Gleckman points out that the critics have been vindicated: For two years, the homebuyer credit has been in the running for Washington’s worst tax policy idea. Now, new evidence about this bit of legislative bilge suggests it may be time to retire the trophy. The Commerce Department reports the new homes market collapsed in May after booming in March and April (chart). Why?

Job Creation Has Left the Building
June 23, 2010

Where are the jobs? That question pervaded last week’s edition of the MetroMonitor index of recession and recovery and is becoming acute in the Intermountain West, where the companion Mountain Monitor reported that that employment actually fell slightly in the first quarter of 2010 in most of the region’s metros. Nor is the prognosis looking much better going forward. The last dose of federal stimulus is beginning to wear off.  The Senate is dawdling on a new lifeline intended to forestall additional state and local government layoffs.