Rob Atkinson

Rob Atkinson

Rob Atkinson is the founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.


1980 All Over Again? In Search of the Right Analogy for the 2020 Election Share This

Mar 01, 2021

To make sense of the unprecedented presidential election we’ve just been through, pundits have analogized it to past elections: 1896, because of conflict between agrarian (Bryan) and urban (McKinley) interests; 1908, because of the historic rate of turnout; 1920, with Warren Harding promising a return to normalcy; 1968, because of the violent demonstrations; and many […]

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Why Raising the Minimum Wage Will Grow the Economy, Not Kill Jobs Share This

Feb 19, 2021

Whenever Congress debates raising the minimum wage, policymakers reflexively turn to economists for advice, and nearly all economists, regardless of their ideological orientation, say with unyielding conviction that a higher minimum wage will produce higher unemployment. The only difference between conservative and liberal economists is that they latter say the increase will be negligible, but […]

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It’s Neither the Investor Class nor the Middle Class: It’s the Producer Class, Stupid! Share This

Feb 03, 2021

If one believes that ideas matter, then the person who has surely done the most harm to humanity is Karl Marx, as his writings led to Communism, with its repression and tens of millions of deaths (as well the rise of Nazi Germany). But today in the United States, Marx’s most damaging legacy is his […]

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Before COVID, the Economy Was Already Sick from Washington Groupthink Share This

Jan 27, 2021

When it comes to the economy, the Biden administration will have to focus on three things: COVID, a recovery package, and China. Everyone understands we have to get vaccines in the arms of as many Americans as possible as soon as possible. And hopefully the Senate can agree on an economic recovery package. But figuring […]

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National Developmentalism ≠ Critical Theory Radicalism Share This

Jan 12, 2021

After years of dismissing the rise of critical theory-inspired identity politics, many conservatives have become “woke” to just how divisive this movement is. The problem, however, is that some free market fundamentalists see both radical intersectionalists and Hamiltonian supporters of national developmentalism as desecrators of the Founding Father’s principles.

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Potato Chips, Computer Chips: Yes, There is a Difference Share This

Dec 23, 2020

After a half century of neoclassical economics dominance, it has become a truism among most economists and policy makers that a nation’s sectoral composition doesn’t matter. Indeed, perhaps no canard has been more damaging to the process of putting in place a national innovation and competitiveness strategy than the notion that America can not only […]

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Growth vs. Redistribution: The New Fault Line in U.S. Politics of Economic Policy Share This

Dec 12, 2020

A few years ago, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF, the tech policy think tank I lead) surveyed several hundred DC policy folks to find out, among other things, what they thought ITIF’s political orientation was. About 40 percent said we were moderate, a third said we were conservative, and a quarter said we […]

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Time to End the Race-to-the-Bottom on Unemployment Insurance Share This

Nov 23, 2020

While the unemployment rate had fallen to 6.9 percent in October, the employment-population ratio was 3.7 percentage points lower than in February. 6.7 million workers were no longer looking for work and 3.6 million workers were unemployed for 27 weeks or more. Congress is considering a stimulus and recovery package, that hopefully should include support […]

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Industrial Policy May Have Finally Arrived: But For What? Share This

Nov 16, 2020

Ever since the concept of a national industrial policy was proposed in the 1970s, it has received scorn from most neo-classical economists, with those advocating it treated as the economic equivalent of chiropractors. But recently the idea is getting a new life, largely because of the growing awareness of the economic, technology and national security […]

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Let’s Stop Scaring People About Technological Change Share This

Oct 27, 2020

If you’re an average working person, going about your life, trying to put the next meal on your table, and happen to listen to the media and pundits talk about technology, your natural response is probably to vote a straight Luddite ticket in the next election. People are being fed a steady diet of techno-revolution […]

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Can the Left Overcome its Technopessimism? Share This

Oct 20, 2020

In his excellent American Compass essay “The Five Deadly Sins of the Left”, Ruy Teixeira calls out the left for what he terms their “technopessimism”. He writes: “the Left has become distinctly unenthusiastic about the potential of technology, tending to see it as a dark force to be contained rather than a force for good […]

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I Finally Agree With Krugman Share This

Sep 26, 2020

I never thought I would find myself in wholehearted agreement with Paul Krugman. That is, until I ran across the following passage from his 1996 book Pop Internationalism: “If top government officials are strongly committed to a particular economic doctrine, their commitment inevitably sets the tone for policy making on all issues, even those which […]

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