Paul Ryan's "The Path to Prosperity" is Just a Path to a Slower Decline Michael C. Sekora Now that Paul Ryan has been chosen as Romney's running mate, Ryan's budget proposal known as The Path to Prosperity has become the focus in the debate on how to rebuild America's economic health. Ryan’s Path may be designed to reduce America's national debt and deficit, but it does not address the foundation of a healthy economy. For that matter, the wide range of proposals around Washington for rebuilding America's economic health are based upon a single false premise that the optimization of the utilization of funds within a country is the foundation of the country's economic health. Although wise government spending is important to a country's economic health, and it is vital that we in this country reign in our spending, optimization of funds is not the underlying cause of America's declining economic health. Ryan's plan may balance the budget, and may even enable us to begin decreasing our national debt, but at best it will only slow down the country's economic decline. A country is analogous to a family. If the breadwinner's level of employment declines year after year resulting in a decreasing level of pay, but the family continues to spend as it always has, inevitably—after borrowing options have disappeared--there will be a disaster: bankruptcy. If the family wakes up and budgets wisely to match the income of the breadwinner, they can prevent the disaster, but they will have not solved the real problem: the continuing decline in the breadwinner's level of employment. America's breadwinners—our companies—have a level of employment that continues to decline year after year. It wasn't that long ago that our companies were the sole competitors in a majority of the major industries worldwide. Slowly the companies of other countries established footholds in these industries. With these companies’ entrance into these markets, our companies were not the sole players but were the dominant players. But very quickly this changed. Our companies fought to remain dominant and one by one lost this position. With their dominant positions lost, many industries were abandoned completely by the US companies. We went from being the sole competitors, to being the dominant players amongst many, to not even competing in an increasing number of industries in a very short number of years. Tightening America's economic belt will not enable America's breadwinners to regain any of these lost industries or to become a competitor, let alone a dominant competitor in the industries of the future. China has not risen from a third-rate nation to superpower status with astronomical speed via optimizing the utilization of funds within the country. China had no real funds to "optimize" when it began its short march to superpower status. China's rise is based upon one thing--its ability to acquire and utilize technology more effectively than any other country on the planet. Technology acquisition and utilization is the foundation of a country's competitiveness. It is what enables a country to produce products and provide services that the world wants to buy--a true competitive advantage. In turn, a country's economic competitiveness is what enables the country to maintain a strong national economic health. China executes technology-based strategies that enable it to manipulate the technologies of the world like pawns on a chessboard. With a coherent array of alliances, counter-alliances and indigenous development that addresses high-tech to low-tech technologies throughout all industries, China can assure that its organizations have the ability to produce products and provide services that truly excel at satisfying the customer needs, creating a competitive advantage in the marketplaces of the world. If we are to rebuild America's economic health, and not just slow down the decline, we must move beyond economic maneuvering and engage China and others at the foundational level of every countries' economic health--the acquisition and utilization of technology.