Bill Gates — being the richest man in the world — has paid a lot of taxes. A lot. So being the ultimate Bill Gates-type, he likes to know what happens to his money. Guess what? Plenty of it gets put to productive use doing life-saving and life-improving research. “Major innovations,” Gates writes in a recent post, “are the result of both government investments in basic research and the private-sector creativity.”
Gates wants to dispute the widely held notion that big government is a drag on a private sector where all true innovation originates. Not so, says Gates, who knows better than anyone that “innovation starts with government support for the research labs and universities working on new insights that entrepreneurs can turn into companies that change the world. The public sector’s investments unlock the private sector’s ingenuity.” Teamwork between government and private industry has accounted for the lion’s share of the innovations that govern modern life, from medicine to computers. Gates wants the next president to make it a priority that the government-private sector partnership stays healthy and robust.