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Op-ed Placement

The Battle for Innovation the Right One to Fight

Originally Published in Newsmax on 4/15/21.

We seem to be trapped these days in endless arguments about racism, voting rights and climate change. But there is a quiet revolution going on.

That revolution is known as innovation.

Innovating will transform lives and pocketbooks of Americans and everyone globally.

As the innovation evolution progresses, we must pay closer attention to political and corporate leaders' actions which will directly affect us; our retirement savings plans as well our children and future generations.

Technology is already altering every industry and workplace at a dizzying pace.

What many fail to understand is the good news — Innovation is deflationary.

This means many middle and lower income workers will be among the biggest beneficiaries of the innovation revolution.

Not merely in increased purchasing power led by lower prices but in expanded job opportunities as well.

While housing, construction materials and food prices are rising as the result of massive liquidity the Federal Reserve is pouring into markets, costs are dropping everywhere: televisions, smartphones, clothing, travel, transportation, online shopping, and tele-health.

Lower cost technologies will also bring remarkable improvements in broadband mobile connectivity to offer extraordinary, new possibilities to those in poorer areas. Today over 40 million Americans have no internet broadband.

Worldwide the number exceeds 3 billion.

All these prospects are exciting but the transition process may be volatile as there are always unexpected bumps.

Public and private sector leadership positions must help people better prepare for changes ahead.

In that light, corporate CEOs need a reminder: Those of us — including this writer — who are part of our country’s amazing diversity are not as focused on voting rights and quota systems as the media imagines.

Our primary concern is economic stability, family, health and savings which a good paying job and meaningful nest egg will sustain.

So how should we ready ourselves for rapidly changing developments to plan our future, safeguard our savings and identify opportunity?

—Encourage Corporate America to stay focused on achieving business results. A strong business sector helps us most by producing top quality products, services, earnings and jobs. Social responsibility and caring for community's needs is admirable corporate citizenship. But what good is it if an inattentive CEO announces massive layoffs and factory closings because a foreign or other competitor has overtaken their edge?

Both large and small savers have trillions invested in our nation’s private sector and Treasury through mutual funds, IRAs, 401ks, pension funds and brokerage accounts.

Retirement savings alone add up to over $34 trillion.

That is a major commitment in our country’s future prosperity requiring companies to maintain superior performance and keep an eye on aggressive competitive pressure —particularly from CHINA.

—Prioritize real solutions for underserved populations. We can tackle problems of people saving too little for retirement and better debate income inequality remedies if we are given the chance to encourage this innovation revolution.

There are many digital platforms presenting job offerings in innovative ways and countless online financial literacy programs that could easily advance understanding of basic financial skills for those that need them. These tools could transform millions of lives. We will face even larger gaps between rich and poor if current policy priorities remain self serving and ineffective.

—Longevity advances will bring opportunity and unexpected challenges in years ahead. Your retirement savings will be essential to finance longer lifespans as medical technology makes dramatic inroads in cancer cures and other chronic diseases. Artificial Intelligence, DNA Sequencing in genomic research and personalized medicine will change our health outcomes in ways we can scarcely appreciate now.

Innovation forecasts above are a strategic focus of Cathie Wood, founder and star investment manager of Ark Invest.

Her visionary approach rethinking investing in the 21st century through analysis of disruptive innovations trends is a highly relevant model for how most of today's political leaders should be thinking about policies for this era.

But are not.

Our economy is bouncing back from the devastating COVID pandemic because Americans are so resilient.

However, trillion dollar deficits and a range of misguided policies including corporate tax increases that redirect funds away from essential research and development will eventually present a brutal test as to how many challenges our economy and markets can bear.

Sadly, President Biden is not preparing our citizens for a positive transformational future.

By accusing parts of our population of "backsliding into the days of Jim Crow" — supposedly in response to GOP election law changes, he is not uniting Americans but creating deeper divisions.

It is time to fight the right battles before we face painful disappointment in the consequences.

Our future depends on it.

Clara Del Villar is Director of Senior Initiatives at FreedomWorks Foundation.