Obama and Romney on Science, Innovation, Education, More


Published on

The Science Debate initiative, formed to press politicians to state their views on science and science policy, has released answers by Mitt Romney and President Obama to 14 questions. The group's Web site is overloaded so it has given permission to download this file for use on Dot Earth.
The Science Debate site: http://www.sciencedebate.org/debate12/
Dot Earth posts on the presidency:

Published in: News & Politics, Technology
1 Comment
  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Obama and Romney on Science, Innovation, Education, More

  1. 1. The Top American Science Questions: 2012"Whenever the people are well-informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their owngovernment."Science now affects every aspect of life and is an increasingly important topic in national policymaking.ScienceDebate.org invited thousands of scientists, engineers and concerned citizens to submit what theyfelt were the the most important science questions facing the nation that the candidates for presidentshould be debating on the campaign trail.ScienceDebate then worked with the leading US science and engineering organizations listed at left torefine the questions and arrive at a universal consensus on what the most important science policyquestions facing the United States are in 2012.Candidates readily debate jobs and the economy even though they are not economists; they debate foreignpolicy and military intervention even though they are not diplomats or generals; they debate faith andvalues even though they are not priests or pastors. We call on the candidates for President to also debatethese Top American Science Questions that affect all voters lives.Candidates Answers, a Side by Side Comparison Barack Obamas answers to the Mitt Romneys answers to the Top American Science Top American Science Questions Questions September 4, 2012 September 4, 2012 Innovation | Climate Change | Research and the Future | Pandemics and Biosecurity Education | Energy | Food | Fresh Water | The Internet | Ocean Health Science in Public Policy | Space | Critical Natural Resources | Vaccination and Public Health1. Innovation and the Economy. Science and technology have beenresponsible for over half of the growth of the U.S. economy since WWII, whenthe federal government first prioritized peacetime science mobilization. Butseveral recent reports question America’s continued leadership in these vitalareas. What policies will best ensure that America remains a world leader in
  2. 2. innovation?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:I believe that in order to be globally Innovation is the key to economiccompetitive in the 21st century and to growth and job creation, andcreate an American economy that is increasingly important to Americanbuilt to last, we must create an competitiveness in the globalenvironment where invention, economy. Three-quarters of allinnovation, and industry can flourish. U.S. economic growth, and three-We can work together to create an quarters of the U.S. productivityeconomy built on American advantage over other OECDmanufacturing, American energy, and nations, is directly attributable toskills for American workers. innovation, and wages inI am committed to doubling funding innovation-intensive industriesfor key research agencies to support have grown more than twice asscientists and entrepreneurs, so that we fast as other wages in recentcan preserve America’s place as the decades.world leader in innovation, and My plan for a stronger middle classstrengthen U.S. leadership in the 21st will rebuild the American economycentury’s high-tech knowledge-based on the principles of free enterprise,economy. To prepare American hard work, and innovation. Thechildren for a future in which they can promotion of innovation will beginbe the highly skilled American on Day One, with efforts to simplifyworkers and innovators of tomorrow, I the corporate tax code, reform jobhave set the goal of preparing 100,000 retraining programs, reducescience and math teachers over the regulatory burdens, and protectnext decade. These teachers will meet American intellectual propertythe urgent need to train one million around the world.additional science, technology, A Growth Agendaengineering and math (STEM) Over the course of my campaign, Igraduates over the next decade. have laid out a detailed economic plan that seeks to strengthen the American economy by empowering entrepreneurs and workers and rewarding innovation. This plan emphasizes critical structural adjustments to promote growth rather than short-term fixes. • Human Capital. We must reform America’s legal immigration system to attract and retain the best and the
  3. 3. brightest, and equip more Americans with the skills to succeed. I will raise visa caps for highly skilled foreign workers, offer permanent residence to foreign students graduating with advanced degrees in relevant fields, and restructure government retraining programs to empower individual workers and welcome private sector participation.• Taxes. We must pursue fundamental tax reform that simplifies the tax code, broadens the tax base, and lowers tax rates. I will lower the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, strengthen and make permanent the R&D tax credit, and transition to a territorial tax system. I will cut individual income tax rates across the board, and maintain today’s low tax rates on investment. And I will ensure that these changes are made permanent, so that investors and entrepreneurs are not confronted with a constantly shifting set of rules.• Regulation. We must reduce the power of unaccountable regulators by requiring that all major regulations receive congressional approval and by imposing a regulatory cap that prevents the addition of new regulatory costs. In a
  4. 4. Romney Administration, agencies will have to limit the costs they are imposing on society and recognize that their job is to streamline and reduce burdens, not to add new ones. • Trade. We must open new markets for American businesses and workers. I will create a Reagan Economic Zone encompassing nations committed to the principles of free enterprise. At the same time, I will confront nations like China that steal intellectual property from American innovators while closing off American access to their markets.A Foundation for InnovationThe private sector is far moreeffective at pursuing and applyinginnovation than government couldever be. However, there are keyareas in which government policymust strengthen the ability of theprivate sector to innovateeffectively. • Education. America’s K-12 education system lags behind other developed nations, and while our higher education system remains the envy of the world its costs are spiraling out of control. We must pursue genuine education reform that puts the interests of parents and students ahead
  5. 5. of special interests and provides a chance for every child. I will take the unprecedented step of tying federal funds directly to dramatic reforms that expand parental choice, invest in innovation, and reward teachers for their results instead of their tenure. I will also ensure that students have diverse and affordable options for higher education to give them the skills they need to succeed after graduation.• Basic Research. President Obama’s misguided attempts to play the role of venture capitalist, pick winners and losers, and spend tens of billions of dollars on politically-prioritized investments have been a disaster for the American taxpayer. Yet at the same time, we must never forget that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology. As president, I will focus government resources on research programs that advance the development of knowledge, and on technologies with widespread application and potential to serve as the foundation for private sector
  6. 6. innovation and commercialization.2. Climate Change. The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern aboutthe potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What isyour position on cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, and other policies proposed toaddress global climate change—and what steps can we take to improve ourability to tackle challenges like climate change that cross national boundaries?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:Climate change is the one of the I am not a scientist myself, but mybiggest issues of this generation, and best assessment of the data is thatwe have to meet this challenge by the world is getting warmer, thatdriving smart policies that lead to human activity contributes to thatgreater growth in clean energy warming, and that policymakersgeneration and result in a range of should therefore consider the riskeconomic and social benefits. Since of negative consequences.taking office I have established However, there remains a lack ofhistoric standards limiting greenhouse scientific consensus on the issuegas emissions from our vehicles for — on the extent of the warming,the first time in history. My the extent of the humanadministration has made contribution, and the severity of theunprecedented investments in clean risk — and I believe we mustenergy, proposed the first-ever carbon support continued debate andpollution limits for new fossil-fuel- investigation within the scientificfired power plants and reduced carbon community.emissions within the Federal Ultimately, the science is an inputGovernment. Since I took office, the to the public policy decision; it doesU.S. is importing an average of 3 not dictate a particular policymillion fewer barrels of oil every day, response. President Obama hasand our dependence on foreign oil is at taken the view that if globala 20-year low. We are also showing warming is occurring, the Americaninternational leadership on climate response must be to slash carbonchange, reaching historic agreements dioxide emissions by imposingto set emission limits in unison with enormous costs on the U.S.all major developed and developing economy. First he tried a massivenations. There is still more to be done cap-and-trade bill that would haveto address this global problem. I will devastated U.S. industry. Whencontinue efforts to reduce our that approach was rejected bydependence on oil and lower our Congress, he declared his intentiongreenhouse gas emissions while to pursue the same course on hiscreating an economy built to last. own and proceeded through his
  7. 7. EPA to impose rules that willbankrupt the coal industry.Nowhere along the way has thePresident indicated what actualresults his approach would achieve— and with good reason. Thereality is that the problem is calledGlobal Warming, not AmericaWarming. China long ago passedAmerica as the leading emitter ofgreenhouse gases. Developedworld emissions have leveled offwhile developing world emissionscontinue to grow rapidly, anddeveloping nations have nointerest in accepting economicconstraints to change thatdynamic. In this context, theprimary effect of unilateral actionby the U.S. to impose costs on itsown emissions will be to shiftindustrial activity overseas tonations whose industrial processesare more emissions-intensive andless environmentally friendly. Thatresult may make environmentalistsfeel better, but it will not better theenvironment.So I oppose steps like a carbon taxor a cap-and-trade system thatwould handicap the Americaneconomy and drive manufacturingjobs away, all without actuallyaddressing the underlying problem.Economic growth andtechnological innovation, noteconomy-suppressing regulation,is the key to environmentalprotection in the long run. So Ibelieve we should pursue what Icall a “No Regrets” policy — steps
  8. 8. that will lead to lower emissions, but that will benefit America regardless of whether the risks of global warming materialize and regardless of whether other nations take effective action. For instance, I support robust government funding for research on efficient, low-emissions technologies that will maintain American leadership in emerging industries. And I believe the federal government must significantly streamline the regulatory framework for the deployment of new energy technologies, including a new wave of investment in nuclear power. These steps will strengthen American industry, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and produce the economically- attractive technologies that developing nations must have access to if they are to achieve the reductions in their own emissions that will be necessary to address what is a global issue.3. Research and the Future. Federally funded research has helped to produceAmerica’s major postwar economies and to ensure our national security, buttoday the UK, Singapore, China, and Korea are making competitive investmentsin research. Given that the next Congress will face spending constraints, whatpriority would you give to investment in research in your upcoming budgets?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:I strongly support investments in As I noted above, I am a strongresearch and development that help supporter of federally fundedspur America innovation and proposed research, and continued fundinga goal that, as a country, we invest would be a top priority in mymore than 3 percent of our GDP in budget. The answer to spendingpublic and constraints is not to cut back onprivate research and development— crucial investments in America’s
  9. 9. exceeding the level achieved at the future, but rather to spend moneyheight of the space race. That’s why, more wisely. For instance,under the Recovery Act, my President Obama spent $90 billionadministration enacted the largest in stimulus dollars in a failedresearch and development increase in attempt to promote his greenour nation’s history. Through the energy agenda. That sameRecovery Act, my Administration spending could have funded thecommitted over $100 billion to nation’s energy research programssupport groundbreaking innovation at the level recommended in awith investments in energy, basic recent Harvard University study forresearch, education and training, nearly twenty years.advanced vehicle technology, health Good public policy must alsoIT and health research, high speed rail, ensure that federal research issmart grid, and information being amplified in the privatetechnology. Of these funds, we made a sector, and that major$90 billion investment in clean energy breakthroughs are able to makethat will produce as much as $150 the leap from the laboratory to thebillion in clean energy projects. In marketplace. Unfortunately,fact, the Recovery Act made the President Obama has pursuedlargest single investment in clean policies across a range of fieldsenergy in American history. And our that will have the opposite effect.investments in energy not only focus For instance, Obamacare imposeson research, but on the deployment of an excise tax on the revenue ofthese new technologies. medical device companies that isWe have invested highly in important already driving jobs and investmentresearch being done to improve the overseas. Meanwhile, the FDA’shealth and wellness of all Americans slow and opaque approval processso that we can continue to unravel is rated less than one-fourth asclues to treating or preventing some of effective as its Europeanlife’s most daunting and debilitating counterpart by medical technologydiseases, develop powerful new companies. Robust NIH fundingmedicines, and even define strategies will only have its desired effect ifthat will prevent disease from paired with sensible policies thatoccurring in the first place. We have facilitate medical innovation morealso made critical investments in broadly.research and development to bolsterour national security and defense. Andmy budget continues to supportmaking permanent the R&D tax credit,which would allow businesses theability to invest and grow their
  10. 10. organizations. While making toughchoices, we will continue to prioritizeinvestments in research to ensure thatour country remains a global leaderand that Americans can remaininnovators, working to better theirlives and the lives around them.4. Pandemics and Biosecurity. Recent experiments show how Avian flu maybecome transmissible among mammals. In an era of constant and rapidinternational travel, what steps should the United States take to protect ourpopulation from emerging diseases, global pandemics and/or deliberatebiological attacks?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:We all are aware that the world is Pandemics are not new — theybecoming smaller every day. have happened at different pointsAdvancements in technology allow throughout human history. And it isAmericans to travel internationally a certainty that, at some point inwith ease, and allow us to welcome the future, they will happen again.individuals from around the world. Fortunately, America today isThis fluidity also requires that we, as a better prepared than ever to face anation, are cognizant to the threats we pandemic. In part, this is becauseface and are prepared to protect researchers are learning so muchagainst them. I will continue to work more about infectious diseases,to strengthen our systems of public how they work, and how theyhealth so we can stop disease from spread. Unfortunately, globalizationspreading across our borders. It is also has enabled the spread of theseimportant that should these threats diseases much more rapidly frombreach our borders, our communities previously remote corners of thecan respond quickly, effectively, with world to the busiest airports andthe greatest impact, and with the cities.fewest consequences. Lastly, to help To further improve preparedness,our country prepare to meet these we must continue to invest in thechallenges, we have been working best public health monitoringwith the private sector to assess systems that can be built. I will alsopotential vulnerabilities. I have no encourage advancements indoubt that we can counter any threat research and manufacturing towe face, but we cannot face it alone. increase scientific understanding ofWe must continue to work with our new pathogens and improveinternational partners, remain diligent response time when they emerge.in seeking out new threats, and prepare The development of new
  11. 11. to act should a need arise. countermeasures, from diagnostics to antibiotics and antivirals to respirators, will help protect human lives in the face of new bugs and superbugs. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has taken numerous steps that are stifling medical innovation. He has imposed new taxes on innovative companies. He has empowered bureaucrats to manage the marketplace. His FDA has slowed the drug development process and inserted requirements that drive up the cost of developing new antibiotics. A robust public health system is only as strong as the tools available, and I will empower the private sector to pursue the breakthroughs that will equip society for the health challenges of the twenty-first century.5. Education. Increasingly, the global economy is driven by science,technology, engineering and math, but a recent comparison of 15-year-olds in65 countries found that average science scores among U.S. students ranked 23rd,while average U.S. math scores ranked 31st. In your view, why have Americanstudents fallen behind over the last three decades, and what role should thefederal government play to better prepare students of all ages for the scienceand technology-driven global economy?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:An excellent education remains the The education challenges Americaclearest, surest route to the middle faces are not new. Since A Nationclass. To compete with other countries at Risk was published almost thirtywe must strengthen STEM education. years ago, our country hasEarly in my administration, I called for understood the urgent need fora national effort to move American reform. Yet today, fewer than 75students from the middle to the top of percent of freshmen graduatethe pack in science and math within four years of entering highachievement. Last year, I announced school, and far too many who do
  12. 12. an ambitious goal of preparing graduate require remediation when100,000 additional STEM teachers they enroll in college. In a recentover the next decade, with growing survey of more than 10,000 of itsphilanthropic and private sector graduates, the Harvard Businesssupport. My “Educate to Innovate” School identified America’s K-12campaign is bringing together leading education system as one of ourbusinesses, foundations, non-profits, nation’s greatest competitiveand professional societies to improve weaknesses — only theSTEM teaching and learning. dysfunction of our political systemRecently, I outlined a plan to launch a itself scored worse. Recent testnew national STEM Master Teacher results showing U.S. studentsCorps that will be established in 100 lagging behind their internationalsites across the country and be peers are unacceptable in theirexpanded over the next four years to own right, and a sobering warningsupport 10,000 of the best STEM of a potential decline threateningteachers in the nation. These our nation’s future.investments would improve the quality Politicians have attempted to solveof STEM education at all levels, these problems with moreensuring the next generation of spending. But while America’sAmericans has the tools to out- spending per student is among theinnovate and out-compete the rest of highest in the world, our results lagthe world. far behind. We spend nearly two- and-a-half times as much per pupil today, in real terms, as in 1970, but high school achievement and graduation rates have stagnated. Higher spending rarely correlates with better results. Even the liberal Center for American Progress acknowledged in a recent study that “the literature strongly calls into question the notion that simply investing more money in schools will result in better outcomes,” and reported from its own research that most states showed “no clear relationship between spending and achievement” even after adjusting for other factors like the cost of living. Unfortunately, rather than
  13. 13. embracing reform and innovation,America remains gridlocked in anantiquated system controlled to adisturbing degree by the unionsrepresenting teachers. Theteachers unions spend millions ofdollars to influence the debate infavor of the entrenched interests ofadults, not the students our systemshould serve. The efforts ofteachers will be central to anysuccessful reform, but their unionshave a very different agenda:opposing innovation that mightdisrupt the status quo whileinsulating even the least effectiveteachers from accountability.Sadly, these priorities do notcorrelate with better outcomes forour children. To the contrary,teachers unions are consistently onthe front lines fighting againstinitiatives to attract and retain thebest teachers, measureperformance, provideaccountability, or offer choices toparents.Real change will come only whenthe special interests take a backseat to the interests of students.Across the nation, glimmers ofsuccess offer reason for hope.Charter school networks such asthe KIPP Academies, UncommonSchools, and Aspire PublicSchools are producing remarkableresults with students in some of ournation’s most disadvantagedcommunities. Florida Virtual Schooland other digital educationproviders are using technology in
  14. 14. new ways to personalizeinstruction to meet students’needs. In Massachusetts, whoseschools have led the nation sincemy time as governor, students’math achievement is comparableto that of the top-performingnational school systems worldwide.In our nation’s capital, the D.C.Opportunity Scholarship Programhas achieved high schoolgraduation rates above 90 percentin inner-city communities wherebarely half of public schoolstudents are earning theirdiplomas. These successes pointthe way toward genuine reform.My agenda for K-12 education isorganized around the followingprinciples:Promoting Choice andInnovation. Empowering parentswith far greater choice over theschool their child attends is a vitalcomponent of any national agendafor education reform. To start, low-income and special-needs childrenmust be given the freedom tochoose the right school and bringfunding with them. These studentsmust have access to attractiveoptions, which will require supportfor the expansion of successfulcharter schools and for greatertechnology use by schools.Ensuring High Standards andResponsibility for Results.States must have in placestandards to ensure that every highschool graduate is prepared forcollege or work and, through
  15. 15. annual testing, hold both students and educators accountable for meeting them. The results of this testing, for both their own children and their schools, must be readily available to parents in an easy to understand format. Recruiting and Rewarding Great Teachers. A world-class education system requires world-class teachers in every classroom. Research confirms that students assigned to more effective teachers not only learn more, but they also are also less likely to have a child as a teenager and more likely to attend college. Policies for recruitment, evaluation, and compensation should treat teachers like the professionals they are, not like interchangeable widgets. A full white paper describing my approach to education reform is available at MittRomney.com.6. Energy. Many policymakers and scientists say energy security andsustainability are major problems facing the United States this century. Whatpolicies would you support to meet the demand for energy while ensuring aneconomically and environmentally sustainable future?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:Since taking office, I have supported A crucial component of my plan foran all-of-the-above energy approach a stronger middle class is tothat will allow us to take control of our dramatically increase domesticenergy future, one where we safely energy production and partnerand responsibly develop America’s closely with Canada and Mexico tomany energy resources – including achieve North American energynatural gas, wind, solar, oil, clean coal, independence by 2020. Whileand biofuels – while investing in clean President Obama has describedenergy and increasing fuel efficiency his own energy policy as astandards to reduce our dependence on “hodgepodge,” sent billions of
  16. 16. foreign oil. taxpayer dollars to green energyI know the country that harnesses the projects run by political cronies,power of clean, renewable energy will rejected the Keystone XL Pipelinelead the global economy in the 21st as not in “the national interest,” andcentury. That’s why I have made the sought repeatedly to stalllargest investment in clean energy and development of America’senergy efficiency in American history domestic resources, my pathand proposed an ambitious Clean forward would establish AmericaEnergy Standard to generate 80 as an energy superpower in thepercent of our electricity from clean 21st century.energy sources like wind, solar, clean The goal of energy independencecoal, and natural gas by 2035. Since has long proved elusive, buttaking office, electricity production analysts across the spectrum —from wind and solar sources has energy experts, investment firms,already more than doubled in the even academics at HarvardUnited States. We are boosting our use University — now recognize thatof cleaner fuels, including increasing surging U.S. energy production,the level of ethanol that can be combined with the resources ofblended into gasoline and America’s neighbors, can meet allimplementing a new Renewable Fuel of the continent’s energy needsStandard that will save nearly 14 within a decade. The key is tobillion gallons of petroleum-based embrace these resources andgasoline in 2022. America has open access to them.regained its position as the world’s A successful national energyleading producer of natural gas. My strategy will have a fundamentaladministration is promoting the safe, influence on the well-being of theresponsible development of America’s nation. An expansion in thenear 100-year supply of natural gas affordable, reliable supply ofthat will help support more than domestically produced energy can600,000 jobs. Because of these bolster the competitiveness ofactions, we are positioning ourselves virtually every industry within theto have cleaner and cheaper sources of country, creating millions of newfuel that make us more energy secure jobs from coast to coast. Withand position the U.S. as a world leader fewer energy imports and morein the clean energy economy. exports of manufactured goods, America’s trade deficit will decline and the dollar will strengthen. The benefits even extend beyond immediate economic growth. The lease payments, royalties, and taxes paid to the American people
  17. 17. in return for the development of thenation’s resources can yieldliterally trillions of dollars in newgovernment revenue. Lowerenergy prices can ease theburdens on household budgets.And all Americans can restassured that the nation’s security isno longer beholden to unstable butoil-rich regions half way around theworld.I have put forward a six-part planfor achieving these goals. First, Iwill empower states to controlonshore energy development,including on federal lands withintheir borders. Second, I will openoffshore areas to development.Third, I will pursue a NorthAmerican Energy Partnership sothat America can benefit from theresources of its neighbors. Fourth,I will ensure accurate assessmentof the nation’s energy resources byupdating decades-old surveys thatdo not reflect modern technologicalcapabilities. Fifth, I will restoretransparency and fairness topermitting and regulation. Andsixth, I will facilitate private-sector-led development of new energytechnologies.Throughout this agenda, I remaincommitted to implementing andenforcing strong environmentalprotections that ensure all energydevelopment activity is conductedin a safe and responsible manner.But whereas President Obama hasused environmental regulation asan excuse to block the
  18. 18. development of resources and the construction of infrastructure, I will pursue a course that designs regulation not to stifle energy production but instead to facilitate responsible use of all energy sources — from oil and coal and natural gas, to nuclear and hydropower and biofuels, to wind and solar. Energy development, economic growth, and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand if the government focuses on transparency and fairness instead of seeking to pick winners and repay political favors. A full white paper describing my plan for energy independence is available at MittRomney.com.7. Food. Thanks to science and technology, the United States has the worldsmost productive and diverse agricultural sector, yet many Americans areincreasingly concerned about the health and safety of our food. The use ofhormones, antibiotics and pesticides, as well as animal diseases and eventerrorism pose risks. What steps would you take to ensure the health, safety andproductivity of Americas food supply?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:Since taking office, I have been Food safety is crucial to both theworking to safeguard our food supply, health and safety of the Americanprevent foodborne illnesses and people and the economic strengthimprove consumers’ knowledge about of the agriculture sector as itthe food they eat. serves both this nation and exportWhen I started, our food safety system markets around the world.needed to be modernized. One in four Businesses and workers inpeople were getting sick every year America’s agriculture system, fromdue to food-borne illness, and children farmers and ranchers to packagerand the elderly were more at risk. I and processors to grocers andsigned the most comprehensive reform restaurants, work incredibly hard toof our nations food safety laws in provide peace of mind to themore than 70 years – giving the Food hundreds of millions they feedand Drug Administration the every year. Government regulators
  19. 19. resources, authority and tools needed play an important role in thisto make real improvements to our food system, monitoring products andsafety system. We have strengthened processes while taking rapid actionstandards, prevented food from being when problems do arise.contaminated with dangerous bacteria, Preventive practices are the bestbolstered surveillance used to detect tool to reduce the incidence ofcontamination problems earlier, and food-borne illnesses because theyresponded to illness outbreaks faster. provide the greatest control overI am also working to bolster the use of the potential risks of contaminationorganic farming methods and and are generally the most cost-minimize pesticides and antibiotics in effective. These practices are bestour food. I set the ambitious goal to developed by growers, handlers,increase the number of certified processors, and others in theorganic operations by 20 percent – and supply chain with specificwe expect to meet that target. I am knowledge of the risks, diversity ofprotecting human health by ensuring operations in the industry, andthat the foods the American public eats feasibility of potential mitigationwill be free from unsafe levels of strategies.pesticides by making sure that all new, In a Romney Administration, theand even older pesticides, comply with FDA will work closely with industry,strict science-based health standards. and collaborate with researchersWe are also making sure safer and state agencies, to developpesticides get to market faster, so that specific guidance for thewe can decrease the use of those commodities most often associatedpesticides that have higher risks of with food-borne illness outbreaks.health impacts. And my administration With advanced research andis taking steps to limit antibiotic use continued scientific breakthroughs,for livestock. This will help ensure state-of-the-art monitoring, and athat antibiotics are used only address collaborative instead of combativediseases and health problems, and not relationship between regulatorsfor enhancing growth and other and businesses, America’s foodproduction purposes. And I will system will continue to be thecontinue to work on food safety issues world’s best.to ensure that public health is thepriority in our food safety system.8. Fresh Water. Less than one percent of the world’s water is liquid freshwater, and scientific studies suggest that a majority of U.S. and global freshwater is now at risk because of increasing consumption, evaporation andpollution. What steps, if any, should the federal government take to secureclean, abundant fresh water for all Americans?
  20. 20. Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:I am working to ensure the integrity of America has made extraordinarythe water Americans rely on every day environmental progress in recentfor drinking, swimming and fishing, decades thanks to the laws thatand that support farming, recreation, protect our air and water. But whiletourism and economic growth. My these laws have served us well,Administration released a national they have not been modernized inclean water framework aimed at over twenty years and are nowdeveloping a comprehensive approach significantly out of date. Ourto protecting the health of America’s communities and businesses mustwaters. Through partnerships with contend with excessively costlycommunities around the country, we and inflexible approaches thatare working to improve water quality, impose unnecessary economicrestore rivers and critical watersheds, constraints and trigger inevitableand we are making headway in litigation. The result is to delayensuring that our nation’s waters best progress that could be achieved,serve its people. and to leave communities andTo help with water scarcity concerns natural resources worse instead ofin the West and elsewhere, I am better off.supporting water conservation I will modernize the federal lawsprograms. My administration has and regulations governing waterawarded 92 grants to water use to enable smarter, moreconservation projects that will save collaborative, more flexible, andenough water for an estimated 950,000 more cost-effective approachespeople. We are also working that welcome state and localcollaboratively with communities participation as partners andaround the country on how to best leaders. A combination ofmanage freshwater resources in a incentives, market-basedchanging climate, in order to ensure programs, and cooperativeadequate water supplies and protect conservation measures willwater quality. improve the water quality of ourHaving clean water isn’t enough if lakes, rivers, streams and coastalpeople don’t have access to it, which is environments. Through a renewedwhy we are also working to improve focus on research and technologyaccess to clean water for rural in both the private and publicAmerican’s and border counties. sectors, America can meet theAlready, my administration has growing challenge of maintaininginvested in 5,100 water and waste and improving the nations drinkingwater community infrastructure water and sanitation infrastructure.projects to safeguard the health of 18million rural residents and support
  21. 21. 135,000 jobs. This past summer, wealso streamlined the process toimprove water quality along the US-Mexico border that previously didn’thave the right water facilities to ensureclean water.By working together, we can continueto build on these achievements andfind more efficient ways to use thewater available, conserve where wecan, protect jobs, and secure safedrinking water for all Americans todayand for years to come.9. The Internet. The Internet plays a central role in both our economy and oursociety. What role, if any, should the federal government play in managing theInternet to ensure its robust social, scientific, and economic role?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:A free and open Internet is essential It is not the role of any governmentcomponent of American society and of to “manage” the Internet. Thethe modern economy. I support Internet has flourished preciselylegislation to protect intellectual because government has so farproperty online, but any effort to refrained from regulating thiscombat online piracy must not reduce dynamic and essential cornerstonefreedom of expression, increase of our economy. I would relycybersecurity risk, or undermine the primarily on innovation and marketdynamic, innovative global Internet. I forces, not bureaucrats, to shapealso believe it is essential that we take the Internet and maximize itssteps to strengthen our cybersecurity economic, social and scientificand ensure that we are guarding value.against threats to our vital information Thanks to the non-governmentalsystems and critical infrastructure, all multi-stakeholder model, thewhile preserving Americans privacy, Internet is — and always has beendata confidentiality, and civil liberties — open to all ideas and lawfuland recognizing the civilian nature of commerce as well as bountifulcyberspace. private investment. Unfortunately, President Obama has chosen to impose government as a central gatekeeper in the broadband economy. His policies interfere with the basic operation of the Internet,
  22. 22. create uncertainty, and undermine investors and job creators. Specifically, the FCC’s "Net Neutrality" regulation represents an Obama campaign promise fulfilled on behalf of certain special interests, but ultimately a “solution” in search of a problem. The government has now interjected itself in how networks will be constructed and managed, picked winners and losers in the marketplace, and determined how consumers will receive access to tomorrow’s new applications and services. The Obama Administration’s overreaching has replaced innovators and investors with Washington bureaucrats. In addition to these domestic intrusions, there are also calls for increased international regulation of the Internet through the United Nations. I will oppose any effort to subject the Internet to an unaccountable, innovation-stifling international regulatory regime. Instead, I will clear away barriers to private investment and innovation and curtail needless regulation of the digital economy.10. Ocean Health. Scientists estimate that 75 percent of the world’s fisheriesare in serious decline, habitats like coral reefs are threatened, and large areas ofocean and coastlines are polluted. What role should the federal government playdomestically and through foreign policy to protect the environmental health andeconomic vitality of the oceans?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:I am committed to ensuring that our The health of the world’s fisheriesnation’s vast natural resources are is of paramount economic andused responsibly, and that we maintain environmental importance to not
  23. 23. healthy oceans and coasts. By only America but also the globalestablishing a National Ocean Policy, I community. Maintenance of thosemade it a priority of the federal fisheries also represents agovernment to ensure a proactive significant regulatory challenge,approach to improving the and is indeed often used as anconservation of the ocean, our coasts, archetypical illustration of aand the Great Lakes. situation in which a market will notWe are directing additional funding to succeed without some form ofGulf Coast restoration to bring back governance. The question, though,the fisheries and coastal ecosystems is what form of governance shouldwhich are still recovering in the be employed: where areaftermath of the Deepwater Horizon international agreements required,spill. We kicked off the Great Lakes where is government regulationRestoration Initiative, the largest most appropriate, and where caninvestment in the Great Lakes in two the fishing industry itself serve asdecades, which is targeting ecological the best steward?problems such as invasive species, The federal government has a vitaltoxic hot spots, and pollution runoff. role to play in conducting soundWe are cleaning up the Chesapeake science and making the resultingBay, establishing a “pollution diet” for data available. Not only federalthe Bay that will help restore the agencies but also foreign and localnatural habitat for fish and other governments, regionalwildlife. We have also invested over cooperatives, and industry$1.4 billion in Everglades’ restoration, associations should have access tohelping restore tens of thousands of the data to protect the health andacres which will serve as a sanctuary vitality of the oceans and to adjustfor native Florida plants and wildlife. policy when necessary. A RomneyWe have created or enhanced more Administration will safeguard thethan 540 public coastal recreation long-term health of fisheries, whileareas, protected more than 54,000 welcoming input from theacres of coastlines and restored over fishermen most affected at every5,200 acres of coastal habitat. We are step and seeking to accommodatealso investing more in monitoring our the needs of these smallfishing stock in coastal areas so we businessmen wherever possible.have the most accurate data possibleon the health of our fisheries. Theseare significant steps that are helping usimprove the health of our oceans andbuild more robust fisheries.11. Science in Public Policy. We live in an era when science and technology
  24. 24. affect every aspect of life and society, and so must be included in well-informedpublic policy decisions. How will you ensure that policy and regulatorydecisions are fully informed by the best available scientific and technicalinformation, and that the public is able to evaluate the basis of these policydecisions?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:Whether it’s improving our health or Sound science is crucial to goodharnessing clean energy, protecting public policy and, as the questionour security or succeeding in the highlights, it is important not only toglobal economy, our future depends on use sound science in thereaffirming America’s role as the regulatory process but also to doworld’s engine of scientific discovery so in a transparent manner thatand technological innovation. Our allows for public participation andpolicies should be based on the best evaluation. I will ensure that thescience available and developed with best available scientific andtransparency and public participation. technical information guidesSoon after taking office, I directed the decision-making in myWhite House Office of Science and Administration, and avoid theTechnology Policy to ensure that our manipulation of science for politicalpolicies reflect what science tells us gain.without distortion or manipulation. We Unfortunately, President Obamaappointed scientific advisors based on has repeatedly manipulatedtheir credentials and experience, not technical data to support atheir politics or ideology. I also have regulatory agenda guided byinsisted that we be open and honest politics rather than science. Forwith the American people about the example, his “Utility MACT” rule isscience behind our decisions. purportedly aimed at reducingDuring my presidency, I have been mercury pollution, yet the EPAworking to improve transparency and estimates that the rule will cost $10public participation – for instance, by billion to reduce mercury pollutionexpanding public disclosure of by only $6 million (with an “m”).pollution, compliance, and other This has not stopped the Presidentregulatory information to more from trumpeting the rule as “cost-efficiently provide the public with effective” and “common sense,”information necessary to participate in while claiming it will “preventkey environmental decisions. Over the thousands of premature deaths.”next four years, I will continue seeking The trick? Making the rule sonew ways to make scientific expensive that it will bankrupt theinformation more transparent and coal industry, and then claimingreadily available to the public. that the elimination of that industryOnly by ensuring that scientific data is (and its hundreds of thousands of
  25. 25. never distorted or concealed to serve a jobs) would have significantpolitical agenda, making scientific benefits.decisions based on facts, not ideology, In a Romney Administration, soundand including the public in our science will inform sound policydecision making process will we decisions, and the costs andharness the power of science to benefits of regulations will beachieve our goals – to preserve our properly weighed in that process. Ienvironment and protect our national will pursue legislative reforms tosecurity; to create the jobs of the ensure that regulators are alwaysfuture, and live longer, healthier lives. taking cost into account when they promulgate new rules. And I will establish a regulatory cap, so that agencies spend as much time repealing and streamlining outdated regulations as they spend imposing new ones.12. Space. The United States is currently in a major discussion over ournational goals in space. What should Americas space exploration and utilizationgoals be in the 21st century and what steps should the government take to helpachieve them?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:We’re fortunate to be part of a society The mission of the U.S. spacethat can reach beyond our planet and program is to spur innovationexplore frontiers that were only through exploration of the heavens,imagined by our ancestors. I am inspire future generations, andcommitted to protecting these critical protect our citizens and allies.investments in science and technology • Space is crucial toand pursuing an ambitious new technological innovation. Ifdirection for NASA that lays the we want to have agroundwork for a sustainable program scientifically trained andof exploration and innovation. competent workforce, weWe have extended the life of the must demonstrate a long-International Space Station, term commitment to theforwarding efforts to foster pursuit of innovation andinternational cooperation in space, knowledge.supporting the growth of America’s • Space is crucial to the globalcommercial space industry, and taking economy. From agriculture toon our pressing scientific challenges air transportation, fromwhile continuing the nation’s natural resourcecommitment to robust human space management to financial
  26. 26. exploration, science, and aeronautics management, it is almostprograms. impossible to imagine aFrom investing in research on world without the spaceadvances in spaceflight technology, to capabilities we have today.expanding our commitment to an • Space is crucial to nationaleducation system that prepares our security. U.S. and alliedstudents for space and science space capabilities provide aachievements, I am committed to source of strategicstrengthening the base for America’s advantage to military andnext generation of spaceflight. No intelligence functions thatother country can match our has no parallel.capabilities in Earth observation from • Space is crucial to America’sspace. In robotic space exploration, international standing.too, nobody else comes close. And I Independent access tointend to keep it that way. space, the launch ofTwo years ago I set a goal of sending satellites, and the travel ofhumans farther into space than we citizens to and from spacehave ever been -- to an asteroid by continue to be seen as major2025 and to Mars in the 2030s. We technical achievements thatwill continue to operate the Space convey not only America’sStation until at least 2020 and perhaps military and economic power,beyond. When our Orion deep space but also the power ofcrew vehicle takes its first test flight in American values. The2014, it will travel farther into space success of private sectorthan any spacecraft designed for enterprises in achievinghumans has flown in the 40 years these objectives opens asince our astronauts returned from the new chapter in Americanmoon. That is progress. leadership.The recent landing of NASA’s America has enjoyed a half-centuryCuriosity rover on Mars was a great of leadership in space, but nowleadership moment for our nation and that leadership is eroding despitea sign of the continued strength of the hard work of American industryNASA’s many programs in science, and government personnel. Theaeronautics and human spaceflight. current purpose and goals of theIt’s also important to remember that American space program arethe $2.5 billion investment made in difficult to determine. With clear,this project was not spent on Mars, but decisive, and steadfast leadership,right here on Earth, supporting more space can once again be anthan 7,000 jobs in at least 31 states. engine of technology andMy administration has put a big focus commerce. It can help toon improving science and technology, strengthen America’s
  27. 27. engineering and math education. And entrepreneurial spirit andthis is the kind of thing that inspires commercial competitiveness,kids across the country. They’re telling launch new industries and newtheir moms and dads they want to be technologies, protect our securitypart of a Mars mission -- maybe even interests, and increase ourthe first person to walk on Mars. knowledge.That’s inspiring. Rebuilding NASA, restoring U.S.This exciting work will lead us to leadership, and creating newimportant new discoveries and take us opportunities for space commerceto destinations we would have never will be hard work, but I will strive tovisited. rebuild an institution worthy of our aspirations and capable once again leading the world toward new frontiers. I will bring together all the stakeholders – from NASA and other civil agencies, from the full range of national security institutions, from our leading universities, and from commercial enterprises – to set goals, identify missions, and define the pathway forward. Focusing NASA. A strong and successful NASA does not require more funding, it needs clearer priorities. I will ensure that NASA has practical and sustainable missions. There will be a balance of pragmatic and top-priority science with inspirational and groundbreaking exploration programs. Partnering Internationally. Part of leadership is also engaging and working with our allies and the international community. I will be clear about the nation’s space objectives and will invite friends and allies to cooperate with America in achieving mutually beneficial goals.
  28. 28. Strengthening Security. Space- based information capabilities are the central nervous system of the U.S. national security community. If America is to remain strong as a nation, the national security space programs must remain strong and sustainable. I am committed to a robust national security space program and I will direct the development of capabilities that defend and increase the resilience of space assets. I will also direct the development of capabilities that will deter adversaries seeking to damage or destroy the space capabilities of the U.S. and its allies. Revitalizing Industry. A strong aerospace industry must be able to compete for and win business in foreign markets. I will work to ease trade limitations, as appropriate, on foreign sales of U.S. space goods and will work to expand access to new markets.13. Critical Natural Resources. Supply shortages of natural resources affecteconomic growth, quality of life, and national security; for example Chinacurrently produces 97% of rare earth elements needed for advanced electronics.What steps should the federal government take to ensure the quality andavailability of critical natural resources?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:Rare earth elements and other critical The United States was once self-minerals are used by American sufficient in its production of criticalmanufacturers to make high-tech natural resources like rare-earthproducts like the advanced batteries minerals. But a decline inthat power everything from hybrid production, driven more bycars to cell phones. My support for the regulation than by economics ordevelopment alternatives to rare earth scarcity, has left the nation reliantmaterials is helping to ensure we have on imports. The key to
  29. 29. the materials necessary to propel our guaranteeing the quality andhigh-technology economy forward. availability of these resources is aBeing able to manufacture competitive modernized regulatory regime thatproducts in America is too important protects the environment whilefor us to stand by and do nothing. providing access to the inputs thatWeve got to take control of our our economy requires to grow andenergy future, and we can’t let the thrive.energy industry take root in other Energy provides a good example.countries because they are allowed to Reliance on foreign oil imports hasbreak the rules. That’s why we have long been seen as anjoined with Japan and some of our insurmountable challenge but, asEuropean allies to bring a trade case noted above, extraordinaryagainst China for imposing restrictions technological breakthroughs in theon their exports of rare earth materials. private sector have placed AmericaPart of our strategy is also to use the at the edge of an energy revolutionnatural resources we have more that has the potential toefficiently, so we are less reliant on dramatically expand domesticother countries in the first place. To production and achieve energyachieve that, I have invested in a series independence on the continent byof innovative projects to decrease our the end of the decade. The federalreliance on rare earth material and government must open greaterunveiled a federal strategy to promote access to federal lands, and adoptU.S.-based electronics recycling to streamlined regulatory processeskeep American manufactures that encourage rather than stiflecompetitive. We are also launching a resource development.new, multidisciplinary energy As the first element of my plan forinnovation research “hub” to advance energy independence, I haveour leadership in manufacturing proposed giving states authority toproducts that rely on rare earth manage the development ofmaterials and other critical materials. energy resources within theirThe hub -- which will bring together borders, including on federal lands.scientists, materials specialists, and States have crafted highly efficientothers – will aim to develop and effective permitting andefficiencies and alternatives that regulatory programs that addressreduce the amount of rare earths that state-specific needs. For instance,we need as well as develop strategies while the federal government takesto ensure that we have a reliable an average of 307 days to permitsupply of rare earths and other critical the drilling of an oil well on federalmaterials going forward. land, the state of North Dakota can permit a project in ten days. Colorado does it in twenty-seven.
  30. 30. Nor do these processes pose any greater environmental risks. To the contrary, from oil and gas and coal to wind and solar and biofuels, states are far better able to develop, adopt, and enforce regulations based on their unique resources, geology, and local concerns. By adopting creative approaches like these to the development of all the nation’s resources, America can benefit fully from its extraordinary natural endowments.14. Vaccination and public health. Vaccination campaigns against preventablediseases such as measles, polio and whooping cough depend on widespreadparticipation to be effective, but in some communities vaccination rates havefallen off sharply. What actions would you support to enforce vaccinations inthe interest of public health, and in what circumstances should exemptions beallowed?Barack Obama: Mitt Romney:Today, there are too many Americans The first priority must be to ensurewho do not get the preventive health that America has adequatecare services they need to stay healthy. supplies of safe and effectiveMany people put off preventive care vaccines. Making vaccinesbecause the deductibles and copays are requires complex facilities andtoo expensive. That’s why I fought for highly skilled workers, whichthe Affordable Care Act, which will means that America must continuemake sure all Americans have access to strengthen its advancedto quality preventive health care manufacturing capabilities.services. Under the Affordable Care Second, preventing outbreaks ofAct, Americans can now get vital these diseases also requires thatpreventive services – including the full these vaccines are usedsuite of routine vaccines recommend effectively. The vaccines only workby the Advisory Committee on to prevent outbreaks when aImmunization Practices – with no co- sufficient number of people arepay or deductible. The health care law protected from the diseases andalso created the Prevention and Public thus able to stop a bug fromHealth Fund, an investment in spreading from one person to thepromoting wellness, preventing next, which means that the vast
  31. 31. disease, and investing in public health majority of Americans need to takeinfrastructure across the country. It steps to receive vaccinations.will help us transform our health care Finally, America must have asystem from a focus on sickness and robust research and developmentdisease to a focus on prevention and enterprise capable of constantlywellness. The law also proves improving on the tools available toauthority to states to purchase adult prevent these diseases. Thatvaccines with state funds at federally- means taking steps to ensure thatnegotiated prices, supporting state America remains the mostvaccination programs. Ultimately, I attractive place to develop andbelieve the health care law is a commercialize innovative, life-significant step forward in ensuring saving products like vaccines. Thethat every American has access to the issue of medical innovation haspreventive care and immunizations arisen at several points throughoutthat they need to stay healthy. this survey, underscoring its importance to America’s scientific and economic leadership in the coming years. America has historically dominated the field, but uncompetitive policies in areas ranging from taxation to regulation to trade and human capital are threatening that leadership. Recent years have seen an unprecedented exodus of investment from the United States to more innovation- friendly markets. My innovation agenda, detailed above, is aimed at reversing that tide.