Obama for Investment in Education, Innovation to Beat India, China

By Arun Kumar

Washington, March 1 (IANS) Citing growing competition from India and China, US President Barack Obama has warned against more tax breaks to the wealthy to find resources for investment in education, innovation and infrastructure.

Talking to visiting governors of both parties Monday, he said the compromise he struck with Republicans last year on extending tax cuts to everyone - including the rich - has already made Americans' paycheques 'bigger' and allowed businesses to "write off major investments".

"These are tax cuts and changes in the tax credit system that are going to spur job creation and economic growth, and I'm proud that Democrats and Republicans worked with each other to get it done," Obama said.

"In the long term, however, we need to address a set of economic challenges that, frankly, the housing bubble largely papered over for almost a decade," he said, noting that the world is more connected and more competitive than ever before.

"When each of you tries to bring new jobs and industries to your state, you're not just competing with each other, but you're competing with China, you're competing with India, you're competing with Brazil, you're competing with countries all around the world," Obama said.

"And that means that we as a nation need to make sure that we are the best place on Earth to do business," he said.

"We need a skilled and educated workforce, a commitment to cutting-edge research and technology, and a fast and reliable transportation and communications network."

"That's how we're going to bring new jobs to America, and that's how we're going to win the future," Obama said.

"Making these necessary investments would be hard at any time. But it's that much harder at a time when resources are scarce. After living through a decade of deficits and a historic recession that made them worse, we can't afford to kick the can down the road any longer," he said.

Earlier, Vice President Joe Biden also spoke about the need to "do something about preparing ourselves to compete in the future in terms of education, innovation and infrastructure".

Some polls suggest that many people "think we've already lost the future to China. They think we've already lost the future to India. They already think we are behind the eight ball".

But, "we are still better positioned than any country in the world-any country in the world-to own the 21st century economically", he said.


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