President Obama has called the Great Recession our "Sputnik moment" and he has talked up competitiveness in recent days, in last week’s weekly address:
"We're going to have to out-innovate, we're going to have to out-build, we're going to have to out-compete, we're going to have to out-educate other countries."
He went into greater depth even before that during a speech in Schenectady, N.Y., hosted by his new competitiveness czar, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt:
But will this time be any different from any other time?
In November, I wrote about the new wind blowing through the Silicon Valley, through the SIA and about George Will’s speech at the group’s annual dinner. Business leaders seem to have found some resolve after two years of hiding in their foxholes. And some of you wondered aloud in the comments section whether it's time to get serious about fielding more engineer-candidates for political office.
Diego Vasquez, Community College student (Phoenix)
Mikayla Nelson, High School Freshman (Billings, MT)
Time will tell if the president and Congress really get what it means to be competitive or they just know how to assemble convenient political props for a live TV event.
I look forward to hearing tonight and tomorrow your impressions on the president's address and whether our competitiveness really will get a boost from administrative and congressional policy initiatives.
Here's economist Paul Krugman's take on the President Obama's embrace of competitiveness:
Good link George, thank you...as much as I liked President Obama upon his election I have to admit that I have been disappointed in seeing the effects of his policies (or luck of them)...unfortunately good speeches do not translate into good actions, so sadly Brian but I am not buying what he is selling, which might not matter as I am Canadian ;-)...Kris
By all means Brian, one of the hot topics here is for-profit health-care catering to local wealthy and Americans ;-)...but it might be cheaper going to India or Eastern Europe, these are very high growth health-care markets catering to Western world! outsourcing health-care to BRIC countries might follow outsourcing manufacturing we have just successfully completed (medical imaging diagnostic is frequently already done that way) ;-)...Kris
I am not buying now and never did buy it. We need to cut spending, cut taxes, cut regulations, and cut government. Only then can our economy grow with business sure of low operating costs can they hire. It seems crazy to me that we would trust anything out of Washington, government is NOT THE ANSWER, the answer lies with the American people and businesses. We can innovate and create both new products and jobs in the process but the incentive must be there, with high taxes and debt the risks are just too high to take a chance.
Instant gratification nation waits for no one. I wonder, are acrimonious conversations heating the debate or starting new fires? No sooner after an election are lawmakers and politicians talking in such manner as to win the next election. Popularity contests do not statesmen make. The two political wills will never cede their positions for the good of the whole as long as reason is obscured in the clouds of the moment.
I am appalled at how much Rick Merritt is cheering the federal pig trough Mr. Obama is proposing. Number one, those tax dollars are sucked out of the pockets of those who are successful in creating value and generally end up in the pockets of those who are... less than meritorious. Number two targeting investments means untargeting others, especially when the federal government (and the states) are awash in red ink. Mr. Obama is quietly ignoring the fact that the Fed had to print a trillion dollars to bribe our 'friends' not to speak up about how fast the dollar is really crumbling.
Electronics is really the only saving grace these days. We make new products with many times the power of old ones at a lower price. Yes, we use overseas labor to assemble them but the value multiplier comes from US as engineers and we need to hold the line on that value in our salaries and also in not letting ourselves be bled to support the rest of the whiners.
Most of the innovation in this country comes from government funded research, often handed over to for-profit companies at a much-lower-than-worth price.
I find it funny that you favor overseas labor, but not overseas engineering labor. Seems like a double standard; take his, not mine!
Anyone who thinks Obama is reaching out to improve technology is chasing rainbows. This is a deal with the devil. Yeah, He'll promise the tech world everything - As long as we make technical (anything) what the GOVERNMENT wants..Welcome to the U.S.S.A
I think the U.S. should focus primarily on moving towards Solar energy completely(practically) for its energy needs. It has began what will surely be multigenrational wars in two countries and before everyone starts to take this slaughter for granted they should think about why they are there but more importantly how to stop the rot. The world isn't going to continue to sit by why the U.S. goes pillaging whereever it feels like. It is so sad the U.S. has fallen so far.
The ones who have been slaughtered or pillaged probably were better off. ;-) Of course if felixk is referring to the USA's imperialistic policies, the USA has been falling for a long time. Just look at it's meddling with Haiti, starting in the 1800s.
Hear hear DWilde1! Indeed we do make new itmes with many times the power of the old ones, and this trend can continue and help slowly deconstruct the monetary system, with the help of technologies like Nanotechnology. Working ones whole life to pay for a house (a truely mediocre configuration of atoms seems ridiculous to me. The biggest cause of death in the Western World (and the eastern indirectly) is the mortage. As all true engineers know the true value is not in the materialisation but in the exploration, i.e. people will continue to strive without any financial insentive morover necessity.
He can't win anyone these days, dam if he does it, and he is condemned if he doesn't. What gives! We would be whining if he and his cabinet did not even bother foster new energy source investments or more favorable world trade, for starters.
@Robotics: a little late to this party, but "...cut spending, cut taxes, cut regulations, and cut government" suggests taht everything will then magically get better, that trickle down will work. It didnt' before, and will not this time. US companies are sitting on bundles of cash, "afraid" to spend and hire becasue there may not be a market for their products. The vicious circle has to broken or prodded somewhere. Even the immoral Henry Ford understood that if he hired people and paid his workers a living wage then they would buy his products.
Who is goind to break the circle? Ford, building more cars in Mexico? Samsung? Even Intel is investing, but payback is a few years down the line.
@robotics: "...but the incentive must be there, with high taxes and debt the risks are just too high to take a chance." I guess entropy will be our next success path.