Monday, February 13, 2006

The President’s American Competitiveness Initiative

In President Bush’s recent State of the Union Address he called on America to continue its lead over the world in scientific advancement and research. His comments correspond with those of some of America’s top CEO’s from Intel to General Electric who have called on America to start graduating more engineers, with General Electric’s CEO going as far as to complain that America currently graduates more physical therapists then engineers. Stating, “if America wants to be the massage capital of the world, they’re well on their way”.

For President Bush, this call to continue our competitive edge is nothing new and is something he’s had his eye on from day one. When we hear about the Presidents No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), it’s usually because some Democrat has made a wisecrack. The truth though is the NCLB, besides being passed with a bipartisan majority, has seen unprecedented funding increases for a number of education programs with a 45% increase from 2001 to 2006. (The chart to the left shows the increase over the last ten years. You will notice the flat line during President Clinton and the incline under President Bush.)

With the Presidents new American Competitiveness Initiative, he looks to follow the recommendation of America’s top CEO’s by building on the success of the NCLB. In the Presidents own conclusions to his plan he states:

“In the years to come, the United States will face increased economic competition from a number of countries around the world. We will have to work harder to maintain our competitive edge. By laying the foundation today for expanded scientific and technological excellence, we will continue to lead the world tomorrow in inquiry, invention, and innovation. The greatest asset of our Nation is the potential of the American people. America is founded on the belief that every life is precious and holds unique promise. By investing in people, helping them reach their full potential, and rewarding their creativity, we will unleash the natural creativity and ingenuity of the human mind, create new jobs, train workers to fill them, and make our Nation and the world a safer, cleaner, and better place to live. The American Competitiveness Initiative provides our Nation with the tools to better educate our children, to train our workforce, and to push the boundaries of our scientific and technological capabilities now and in the future.”

You can checkout the full plan with all its supporting data here.

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