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Innovation, Education, And High Speed Infrastructures

Issue 05, January 30, 2011

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

Innovation, Education, and High Speed Infrastructures are the three things US President Barrack Obama has picked up for the future investment to be made in for steering America to ahead of any merging and emerged countries in the world in the address of the State of the Union delivered on the night of January 25, 2011. He believes that investing in these three main things will not only create highly required job opportunities but also will lead America to the forefront of the world development.

President says, “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. Investments in innovation, education, and infrastructure will make America a better place to do business and create jobs.”

However, the president cautions that “we never know what kind of innovation will be, what the next big industry will be and what sorts of jobs will be created, as three decades ago, nobody could predict that the Internet would lead to an economic revolution” but one thing is clear that Americans make a living from innovation. However, private companies don’t make investment in the basic research, as they cannot make profits out of such research. Therefore, the US government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need to sow the seeds for the Internet, and for making possible computer chips and GPS, President Obama says.

The president says Americans have no idea of how to beat the Soviets that have outpaced the Americans putting a satellite called Sputnik on the orbit of the earth half a century ago but Americans beat them putting man on the moon and surpassed the Soviets after investing in research and education unleashing a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

So, the president sees the need for working on reaching a level of research and development that haven't been since the height of the Space Race.  The president says that he will send a budget to Congress in a few weeks to meet the challenge. The main focus of the investment will be on biomedical research, information technology, and clean energy technology. Investment in the clean energy will strengthen the security, protect the planet, and create countless new jobs for the people. Investment in research and technology should create jobs in America to make it a success but not overseas.

The president says that the US government will not simply hand out money for doing research in the clean energy technology but will support only the best scientists and engineers that will assemble teams of the best minds in their respective fields and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy. The target is to put one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, and to tap 80% of America's electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.

Concerning the education, the president says that American students have lagged behind many other nations. The technology has changed the kinds of workers needed, and has also reduced the number of workers required. The new generation of jobs will required well educated workers but a quarter of American students aren't even finishing high school. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. So, the president urges the parents to educate their children better, as the responsibility for teaching children is not on the teachers alone but on the parents and communities as well.

For better education, teachers need to work as nation builders as in South Korea. The nation needs to treat them accordingly. During the next ten years, the nation needs 100,000 new teachers in the field of science, technology, engineering, and math. So, the president asks any body watching his speech on TV to become a teacher if s/he wants to make a difference in the life of a child.

Education does not end with the high school diploma but it should be pursued throughout the life if you want to inspire your children for better education, as the future jobs will require better-educated workers, the president says. The president gives the example of a woman at 55 years of age working at a furniture factory pursuing her degree in biotechnology not because she is going out of the job of the factory but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams too.

The president also makes a case in point the need for keeping the educated people in America. Students come from abroad to study in our colleges and universities in America as soon as they obtain advanced degrees; they go back home to compete against the Americans. So, the president says that America needs to keep these talented, responsible young people who can staff American research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.

The third thing, the president proposes, is the investment in the high-speed rail to high-speed Internet for attracting new businesses. The Internet access in America has been less than South Korea. Europe and Russia have been investing in roads and railways more than America does. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, America infrastructure has fallen into the grade "D," the president says

The president sets the target of 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail for reducing the travel time by a half of any car takes within 25 years, it will be faster than flying for some trips. The next generation of high-speed wireless will be available to 98% of all Americans within the next five years for doing business elsewhere in the world even staying in the remote areas. A large number of jobs swill be created not only directly but also indirectly by the businesses made possible by these high-speed infrastructures.

“All these investments – in innovation, education, and infrastructure – will make America a better place to do business and create jobs. But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success,” the president says.

The president says, “To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I've ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people. That's what we've done in this country for more than a century. It's why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It's why we have speed limits and child labor laws. It's why last year; we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. And it's why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients.”

January 28, 2011

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