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Over the last 20 years, in several critical industries, there has been a substantial decline in the technological lead the United States holds over other countries. This erosion of the United States' technological advantage may be due to a reduction in the research and development activities of many U.S. companies. As U.S. companies concentrate on increased quarterly earnings, it appears, in many instances, that these increased earnings have occurred at the expense of R&D. Since research and development leads to long term benefits rather than immediate profits, the value of the corporate R&D budget is often overlooked.