Tonight, President Obama will report on the condition of the Nation, and also outline his legislative agenda and priorities. Everyone and their uncle is wondering what the President will say in the State of the Union Address. It's not too much of a mystery. In a four-minute preview video published on the Organizing for America website, Obama said, "My principle focus … is going to be making sure we are competitive, that we are growing and creating jobs — not just now but well into the future."
He asks the question that anyone watching the video would ask: How? "How are we going to make sure that we have to most innovative, dynamic economy in the world?"
The answer, he says, is "…we're going to have to out-innovate and out-build and out-compete and out-educate other countries."
I like the way that sounds, but what does it mean to you?
To me, out-innovate means we need to go back to our turn of the 20th-Century roots when Americans were cranking out world-changing inventions like electrification, the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, computers and the Internet. Those inventions improved the lives of millions of people and brought about jobs. We need new ideas that will do the same and that takes investment.
I don't know what "out-build" means. Build what? Infrastructure? Cars? Buildings? Lots of things that were built here are now manufactured elsewhere for much less money. So what can we build here that would make us "out-compete?"
In terms of out-educating, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, seven countries consistently outperform the United States in science: Chinese Taipei, the Czech Republic, England, Hungary, Japan, Korea, and Singapore. We're also outperformed by other countries in reading and in math. Not only does having an education give a person the opportunity to earn more money (see this graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), it also keeps him/her employed.
So what do you think? Yes, the country needs job and it needs to cut the deficit. But how does it do that and still stay competive in the world market? Post your feedback and tell us what you think.