What will all the National Academies’ recommendations cost? Can we afford it? The answer to the first question is $9 billion the first year, growing to $19 billion per year steady-state. The answer to the second question is that we cannot afford not to do these things or the equivalent. Last year, as a nation we spent $7 billion gambling on the Super Bowl. We devoted $13 billion to pornography. We spent $32 billion on movies and DVDs. We have a federal budget of $2.8 trillion, and a GDP of $13 trillion. The affordability of funding for education, research, and innovation is simply a matter of whatever priority we wish to assign to meeting the competitiveness challenge and offering our children and grandchildren the opportunity to enjoy a high-quality standard of living.

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