It would be unfair to lay this all at the feet of American politicians: widening inequality and the decline of middle-class manufacturing jobs is a global phenomenon that vexes governments everywhere. Yet this does not excuse American governance for making matters worse. There are lots of things it could do to improve the ability of and incentives for American companies and workers to innovate and grow, whether it’s taxing fossil fuels, giving more green cards to foreign scientists and engineers or simplifying the tax code. These days, however, that seems a fantasy compared to more prosaic demands such as, don’t shut down the government, starve critical government agencies of funds or default on the national debt. If America is going to hold on to its technological mojo, it needs all the help it can get.