Manufacturers in the United States are among the most prolific inventors and innovators in the world and the NAM supports policies at the federal level that encourage and stimulate innovation in all sectors of our economy. While Americans and federal policy makers generally understand there are risks associated with research and development, the enormity of the risk is often difficult to convey, but it is absorbed into every product.
The cost of innovation varies from sector to sector, but the drive for solving problems and improving what we have is priceless. It’s what built our nation into an economic workhorse and we ought to have the proper perspective on the value it brings to our lives every day. Manufacturers of all sizes and types strive to improve, build upon or replace the products we use to make our lives easier – in some cases they even make our lives possible. In the words of Thomas Edison, “There is always a better way.”
Manufacturers of automobiles are constantly looking for ways to make our cars more convenient, more enjoyable, more luxurious, more efficient – generally more of everything, including safer. All of those innovations come with a cost that runs into the millions and billions of dollars and sometimes they never make it to the market. Over time, the price of those innovations that do make it to the market declines and becomes part of the base cost of a vehicle. Thirty years ago, fuel-injection wasn’t viewed as necessary or practical for general use. Try finding a new car that isn’t fuel-injected now – you can’t, unless it’s an electric one.
Manufacturers of paints and other coatings are engaged in a constant and epic battle with chemistry, mineralogy, physics, biology and meteorology. Millions of dollars are spent by coatings companies to perfect the color, application and durability characteristics of all their products and we get to choose which of those features we want with each gallon of paint or stain we buy. Whether we realize it or not, that’s part of the reason we see a price differential between a gallon of flat white paint and a gallon of solid stain.
Manufacturers of medical devices, biologics, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, petroleum, and many other products also spend billions each year to improve upon or invent products and treatments that have never existed before – products that enrich our lives or make it possible to continue living at all. That’s why the NAM has a clear and unambiguous policy when it comes to innovation – we are for it. American ingenuity has always, always been worth the investment and it is firmly embedded in the American ethos.