Innovation has long been recognized as the key factor supporting US economic growth and competitiveness. A critical element of the infrastructure facilitating product development and commercialization is the system that protects intellectual property and encourages its widespread adoption and implementation. The current framework that facilitates this process includes the LeahySmith America Invents Act (AIA) and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The AIA and PTAB reduce the need for and cost of patent litigation, reducing transaction costs and generating substantial economic benefits. Potential expansion of the AIA to further enhance its applicability could lead to notable additional gains.
The University of Texas and The University of Oklahoma recently announced that they would soon be leaving the Big 12 Conference to join the Southeastern Conference. Without Texas and OU, the rest of the conference is undoubtedly facing smaller television deals, lower attendance, and other negative consequences. The result would be reductions in athletic revenue, tourism, and economic benefits for affected communities.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number of Texans seeking food bank assistance has risen 200%. This dramatic increase in food insecurity has caused immeasurable stress and suffering, eroding the health and wellbeing of people across the state. In the midst of this greatly increased need for help, the surplus agricultural products grant, a key aspect of food bank support, has been drastically cut. If this reduction remains in place, the opportunity to acquire almost 20 million pounds of healthy local produce will be lost. Hunger involves quantifiable economic costs in the form of increased health care and social service needs, inferior educational outcomes, and lost productivity. The Perryman Group estimates that cutting the surplus agricultural products grant would cost the state economy hundreds of millions of dollars over time, with economic harms spreading across the entire economy. Because economic activity generates taxes, the cut would also lead to reductions in State and local taxes. State costs for health care and education would also rise due to the effects of hunger.
Throughout human history, societies have relied upon family members to care for and support those with specific needs. For much of that time, virtually all assistance to the elderly was provided in that manner. One of the byproducts of this approach tended to be very large families. This phenomenon continues to exist in many emerging nations.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to exact a major toll in terms of human health and wellbeing, as well as the economy. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have risen recently due to the delta variant, and the spike has caused substantial disruptions. Despite these concerns, there has been massive resistance by some policymakers and individuals around the country to basic protective measures, which is resulting in preventable losses to the economy through reduced employment and decreases in productivity.
On August 29, Hurricane Ida made landfall near New Orleans causing wind damage and flooding. Its remnants have caused significant issues across the eastern United States. The human suffering is of paramount importance and should be the primary concern, as well as enormous emotional losses. In addition, the storm will have a significant impact on the economy.
Texas has recently seen a sharp upswing in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. This spike has caused substantial disruptions and hardships to families across the state (including many children), compromised safety as schools seek to reopen and address the massive educational gap that has surfaced during the pandemic, and added further strain to an already fragile healthcare complex. Despite these concerns, there has been massive resistance by policymakers to sensible and basic protective measures, such as appropriate masking requirements and measures to encourage higher vaccination rates. In addition to these obvious consequences, this approach is also resulting in preventable losses to the economy through reduced employment and decreases in productivity. The Perryman Group (TPG) has recently quantified these adverse effects.
Laws which restrict voter access can have substantial negative economic consequences due to lost earnings and related reductions in consumer spending. In addition, irrespective of their stated purpose, controversial laws can also lead to reductions in travel and tourism and economic development.
The recent extreme winter weather is unprecedented in Texas. Records were shattered, and the demands on the power grid were exceptional. When brutal conditions took down about 40% of generation capacity (wind turbines and conventional plants alike), disaster struck. Most people had to deal with power outages (sometimes for days in freezing temperatures) and millions had no water (again for an extended period).
The United States recently reached a tragic milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic when the number of lives lost reached 500,000. The suffering and hardships imposed by these losses are incalculable and the primary concern, with few Americans not personally affected in some way