By Arun Kumar
Washington, Sep 30 (IANS) With countries like India, China and Brazil focusing hard on education, research and development and exports, the US is losing its competitive edge, fears US President Barack Obama.
Middle-class families in America were generally having a very difficult time even before the global financial crisis hit, he said during a discussion on the economy in Richmond, Virginia.
"And obviously the crisis just made things worse. And this is all at a time when we've got increased global competition," he said.
"You've got countries like China and India and Brazil that are really moving. They're educating their kids much more aggressively than they ever were. They are exporting much more than they ever were," Obama said.
"And so we're having to compete at levels that we didn't have to compete before," he said seeking more investment in research and development on clean energy lest the US is overtaken by others.
"Sooner or later, the world passes you by. China, India, Japan - all these countries are all thinking about new ways to find clean energy," Obama said.
"And if we're not the ones who get there first in terms of figuring this stuff out, then they're the ones who are going to get the jobs of the future. And I don't want them to get those jobs. I want us to have those jobs right here in the United States."
People were anxious about the future of the country, he said, "because if you don't have confidence that the country can pull together and you know that the problems are hard to solve and you know that we've got competition from China and India and Brazil and Europe, then you start thinking, well, maybe we're not going to be the same land of opportunity 20 years from now or 30 years from now as we were."
Earlier, making a similar pitch at a public meeting in Iowa, Obama said: "You saw countries like China, India and Brazil investing heavily in their education systems and in infrastructure...And where we used to be ranked number one, for example, in the proportion of college graduates, we now rank number 12."
"So slowly all the things that had made us the most productive country on earth were starting to slip away. And we were losing that competitive position," he said.