America is in an economic recovery. But the modest growth we’ve experienced this decade is not enough – not nearly enough – to address our looming budget issues. We’ve tapped the brakes on forward progress, and while we’re not at a standstill, our economic improvement is slow

The U.S. budget deficit is 6.2 percent higher through the first four months of this fiscal year, rising to $194.2 billion through January. Harnessing and promoting the dynamic innovation and job-creation capabilities of the technology industry – a sector that generates billions of dollars for the U.S. the economy and may produce the world’s first company with a trillion-dollar valuation – will help us reduce the deficit and add revenue to the Treasury. 


In 2011, leaders in the tech industry recommended to the Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to bring down our deficit and create jobs. They urged government to reallocate spectrum – the radio frequencies that support wireless communication – through auctions to improve the mobile broadband services that feed our insatiable thirst for anywhere/anytime connectivity. 

The Job Creation Act of 2012 authorized those auctions, and the result was spectacular, with auction sales far surpassing expectations. The most recent auction – expected to slightly surpass $10 billion – brought in almost $45 billion. Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office suggest that additional spectrum auctions, including next year’s TV broadcast incentive auction, could reduce the deficit by $6.5 billion. 

Unlicensed spectrum, the radio spectrum that powers our wireless devices, generates $62 billion a year for the U.S. economy, according to research from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. Wifi Forward says unlicensed spectrum will add $547.2 billion to the economy by 2017.  The federal government can reduce spending by more than $1 trillion by 2020 by adopting the latest technology-fueled private-sector best practices. 

Highly skilled workers who use technology to create businesses, and in turn fuel job growth, are also generating revenue. These innovators are what are known as “force multipliers.” The Partnership for a New American Economy has found that for every two foreign students who study in the U.S. for a STEM degree and stay here in our country, more than five jobs are created for American-born workers. 

A new survey by the Kaufman Foundation finds immigrant entrepreneurs are creating new businesses at almost twice the rate of native-born business owners – another reason why the recent Immigration Innovation Act is an urgently needed solution. The bill, also called “I-Squared,” would expand immigration for highly skilled workers, increase upgrades to the student-visa program and reset limits on H-1B visas to better reflect our modern need for scientists, programmers and engineers. Additionally, I-Squared would ease restrictions on green cards for people with advanced degrees in the STEM fields. 

When someone launches a new website or creates a new app, it requires additional workers to get the project off the ground. Business websites need constant updating, people to box and ship the goods being sold, truck drivers to get the products to consumers – just as a car designed online will eventually have to be constructed, challenged in real-world conditions and available for test drives around the world. There is not a successful office in America that could run without computer programmers. 

If government wants to reduce the deficit, create jobs and add revenue to the Treasury – and, honestly, who could logically oppose any of these goals – the technology industry is able to help. With the right resources in place, the tech industry can create millions of jobs and help balance America’s books, both in the near future and for generations to come.

Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies, and author of the New York Times best-selling booksNinja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World's Most Successful Businesses and The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream. His views are his own. Connect with him on Twitter: @GaryShapiro.