The Merc’s Dan Gillmor says now is time to face facts, make needed investment — in data infrastructure (last mile broadband, in particular), in education, in basic research, and in health care. Without these investments, Silicon Valley — and the U.S. at large — could easily lose what competitive edge it still has. It’s a persuasive argument, but is anyone listening? The cost of health care alone is already making it very, very difficult to start a company, or even hire permanent workers, in California. With a poorly educated workforce, crumbling infrastructure, crushing levels of state government debt, and high costs of living, Silicon Valley starts to look less and less attractive to entrepreneurs.