President Obama on Innovation and Sustainable Growth

President Obama on Innovation and Sustainable Growth


Dr. Biden:
Good morning everyone,
and thank you. I’m Jill Biden and I’m honored
to be a community college professor. (cheering and applause) I’ve been an English teacher for
almost 30 years and I’ve spent much of my career on
campuses just like this one. In fact, tomorrow I will be back
in my classroom at a community college not too far
from the White House. So I feel right at home here at
Hudson Valley Community College. (applause) People often ask me why I chose
to teach at a community college, and the answer is simple:
it is because every day, my students inspire me
with their commitment, their struggles, and their
belief in education as the best hope for a brighter future for
themselves and their families. I have seen firsthand the power
of community colleges to change lives and serve as a gateway to
opportunity for students at all stages of their
lives and careers. I know that the education gained
on campuses just like this one will provide the knowledge that
will power the American and global economies in
the 21st century. President Obama knows it, too. I have always said that
community colleges are America’s best kept secrets. But this administration has
recognized their value from day one. President Obama is making a
historic and unprecedented commitment to higher education
and bringing more students to colleges like Hudson
Valley so they, too, can gain the skills and the
confidence they need to succeed in a new era. I can’t think of a better
investment in America’s future. I’m proud to be here as a
community college instructor, but I’m especially proud to
introduce a president who not only recognizes the value
of higher education, but is committed to making it
a reality for more Americans. Please welcome
President Barack Obama. (cheering and applause) The President:
Thank you! Hello, Hudson Valley! (cheering and applause) Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you. Thank you very much. What a wonderful reception. It is great to be here. Thanks for whoever
organized the weather. (laughter) I want to, first of all,
say thank you to Jill Biden, who has been a teacher for
almost three decades and she’s spent most of that time
in community colleges. She understands,
as all of you do, the power of these institutions
to prepare students for 21st century jobs, and to prepare
America for a 21st century global economy. And that’s what’s happening
right here at Hudson Valley Community College. So give yourselves a
big round of applause. (applause) We’ve got some special guests
here that I want to acknowledge, in addition to Jill. First of all, a wonderful man,
the governor of the great state of New York — David
Paterson is in the house. (cheering and applause) Your shy and retiring
Attorney General — Andrew Cuomo is in the house. (applause) Andrew’s doing great work
enforcing the laws that need to be enforced. I want to thank
the Comptroller — Thomas DiNapoli is in the house. (applause) Speaker Sheldon Silver
is in the house. (applause) The Democratic
Conference Leader, State Senator John Sampson. (applause) Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings. (applause) We’ve got three outstanding
members of Congress who are just doing great work
every single day — Maurice Hinchey, Paul
Tonko, Scott Murphy — please give them a
big round of applause. (applause) The President of Hudson
Valley Community College, Andrew Matonak, is in the house. (applause) Did I pronounce
that right, Andrew? And Joe Sarubbi, Executive
Director of TEC-SMART, who did a — gave me
a wonderful tour — (applause) Now, you may ask, why are
we here at Hudson Valley? We’re here because this is a
place where anyone with the desire to take their career to a
new level or start a new career altogether has the opportunity
to pursue that dream. This is a place where people
of all ages and backgrounds — even in the face of obstacles,
even in the face of very difficult personal challenges — can take a chance on a brighter future for themselves
and for their family. I was just talking to the
Mayor of Troy, who was — we were in a room, and he
was saying how he had studied calculus in the room where
we were taking a picture. And I had to inform him
I didn’t take calculus. (laughter) But he was testimony, he was
an example of what you can do because of an
institution like this. And I know that here in Troy,
you want and need that chance after so many years
of hard times. Communities like this one were
once the heart of America’s manufacturing strength. But over the last few decades,
you’ve borne the brunt of a changing economy which has seen
manufacturing plants close in the face of global competition. So while all of America has been
gripped by the current economic crisis, folks in Troy and
upstate New York have been dealing with what amounts to
almost a permanent recession for years: an economic downturn
that’s driven more and more young people from
their hometowns. I also know that while a lot of
people have come here promising better news, that news
has been hard to come by, despite the determined efforts
of leaders who are here today and many who are not. And part of the reason is, is that while people in this city work hard to meet
their responsibilities, I have to confess that some in Washington haven’t always lived up to theirs. For too long, as old divisions
and special interests reigned, Washington has shown neither the
inclination, nor the ability, to tackle our
toughest challenges. Meanwhile, businesses were
saddled with ever-rising health care costs; the economy was
weakened by ever-growing dependence on foreign oil;
our investment in cutting-edge research declined; our
schools fell further short; growth focused on short-term
gains and fueled by debt and reckless risk, which led to a
cycle of precipitous booms and painful busts. And meanwhile, too many in
Washington stood by and let it happen. Now, after so many
years of failing to act, there are those who now suggest
that there’s really not much the government can or should
do to make a difference; that what we’ve seen in places
like Troy is inevitable; that somehow, the parts of our
country that helped us lead in the last century don’t have what
it takes to help us lead in this one. And I’m here to tell you that
that is just flat out wrong. What we have here in this
community is talented people, entrepreneurs, world-class
learning institutions. (applause) The ingredients are right here
for growth and success and a better future. These young people
are testimony to it. You are proving that right
here in the Hudson Valley. Students here are training full
time while working part time at GE Energy in Schenectady,
becoming a new generation of American leaders in a new
generation of American manufacturing. IBM is partnered with
the University at Albany; their partnership in
nanotechnology is helping students train in the industries
in which America has the potential to lead. Rensselaer is partnering not
only with this institution but with businesses throughout
the Tech Valley. And early next year, Hudson
Valley Community College state-of-the-art TEC-SMART
training facility is set to open side-by-side with
Global Foundry’s coming state-of-the-art
semiconductor plant. (cheering and applause) So we know that Upstate
New York can succeed, just like we know that there are
pockets in the Midwest that used to be hubs of manufacturing — they’re now retooling; they’re reinventing themselves. We know that can happen. We know that in the
global economy — where there’s no room for error
and there’s certainly no room for wasted potential —
America needs you to succeed. So as we emerge from this
current economic crisis, our great challenge will be to
ensure that we don’t just drift into the future, accepting
less for our children, accepting less for America. We have to choose instead what
past generations have done: to shape a brighter future through
hard work and innovation. That’s how we’ll
not only recover, but that’s how we’ll also build
stronger than before: strong enough to compete in
the global economy; strong enough to avoid the
cycles of boom and bust that have wrecked so much havoc;
strong enough to create and support the jobs of the future
in the industries of the future. So today, my administration is
releasing our strategy to foster new jobs, new businesses, and
new industries by laying the groundwork and the ground rules
to best tap our innovative potential. This work began with the
recovery plan that we passed several months ago, which
devoted well over $100 billion to innovation, from high-tech
classrooms to health information technology, from more efficient
homes to more fuel-efficient cars, from building a smart
electricity grid to laying down high-speed rail. But our efforts don’t end there. For this strategy is about
far more than just recovery — it’s about sustained growth
and widely shared prosperity. And it’s rooted in a simple
idea: that if government does its modest part, there’s no
stopping the most powerful and generative economic force
that the world has ever known, and that is the American people. Our strategy begin where
innovation so often does: in the classroom and in
the laboratory — and in the networks that connect
them to the broader economy. These are the building blocks
of innovation: education, infrastructure, research. We know that the nations that
out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow. The ability of new industries to
thrive depends on workers with the knowledge and the know-how
to contribute in those fields. Unfortunately, today, our
primary and secondary schools continue to trail many
of our competitors, especially in the key
areas of math and science. Hundreds of thousands of
high school graduates who are prepared for college don’t go
to four-year or two-year schools because it’s just too expensive;
they run out of money. And roughly 40% of students
who start college don’t complete college. So all along that education
pipeline, too many people — too many of our young
talented people — are slipping through the cracks. It’s not only heartbreaking
for those students; it’s a loss for our
economy and our country. I know that for a long time
politicians have spoken of training — of job training
as a silver bullet, of college as a cure-all. It’s not. I don’t want to
pretend that it is. We know that. But we also know that
in the coming years, jobs requiring at least an
associate’s degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs
requiring no college experience. Think about that
— twice as fast. We will not fill those jobs, or
keep those jobs here in America, without graduating
more students, including millions more students
from community colleges. That’s why I’ve asked Dr. Biden
to travel the country promoting the opportunities that
community colleges offer. That’s why I’m grateful
that Senator Chuck Schumer, who couldn’t be here today, has
shown tremendous leadership on this issue. And that’s why I’ve set this
ambitious goal: By 2020, America will once again have the
highest proportion of college graduates in the world. We used to be number one. We should be number one again. (applause) Now, to achieve this goal,
we’re going to need motivated students, motivated families,
motivated communities, local leaders who
are doing their part, state leaders who
are doing their part. But the federal government
has its part to do, as well. So to reach this goal we’ve
increased Pell Grants and created a simplified $2,500
tax credit for college tuition. We’ve made student aid
applications less complicated and ensured that that aid is
not based on the income of a job that you’ve lost. I hear too much
from folks who say, I can’t get any student aid
because they’re still looking at my income taxes when I had a job
as opposed to my situation right now. We’ve also passed a new G.I. Bill of Rights to help soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan begin a new life in a new economy. (applause) And the recovery plan has helped
close state budget shortfalls — I think the Governor
will testify — because those shortfalls put
enormous pressure on public universities and
community colleges, while also we’ve made historic
investments in elementary and secondary schools. So we’re helping states get
through some very tough times without having to drastically
cut back on the critical education infrastructure that’s
going to be so important. Now, finally, through the
American Graduation Initiative that I’ve proposed, we’re
going to reform and strengthen community colleges to help an
additional 5 million Americans earn degrees and certificates
in the next decade, because — (applause) — because a new generation of innovations depends on a new generation of innovators. And just last week, the House
of Representatives passed a bill that will go a long way to
reform the student loan system so that college is more
affordable for more people. Right now, the federal
government provides a subsidy to banks to get them to
lend money to students. The thing is, the federal
government also guarantees the loans in case the
students don’t repay. So we’re subsidizing banks to
take on the risk of giving loans to students, even though
taxpayers are absorbing the risk anyway. That doesn’t make much sense. It costs us more
than $80 billion. If we just cut out the
middle-man — the banks — and lent directly
to the students, the federal government would
save that money and we could use it for what’s
actually important — helping students afford
and succeed in college. That’s why — that’s
what the bill — (applause) I want to emphasize this just because every once in a while you may not know what your members of Congress are doing for you. These three guys right here are
standing up for young people. We need senators to do the same. (applause) The bill that they voted on — the bill that I proposed — here’s what it does: It takes
the $80 billion the banks currently get and uses it
to make Pell Grants larger. It uses those funds to focus
on innovative efforts to help students not only go to
college but to graduate. And just as important, these
savings will allow us to make the largest investment ever in
the most underappreciated asset in our education system, and
that is community colleges like Hudson Valley, which are so
essential for the future of our young people. (applause) So we hope to improve on this
bill in the Senate and go even further on behalf of students. Ending this unwarranted
subsidy for the big banks is a no-brainer for
folks everywhere — except some folks in Washington. In fact, they’re
already seeing — we’re already seeing special
interests rallying to save this giveaway. And the large banks — many who have benefited from taxpayer bailouts during the
financial crisis — are lobbying to keep
this easy money flowing. That’s exactly the kind of
special-interest effort that has succeeded before, and we can’t
allow it to succeed this time. This is exactly the kind of
waste that leaves people wary of government, leaves our country
straddled with trillions of dollars of deficits and debt
with little to show for it. And that’s why I
went to Washington, to change that kind of stuff. And I look forward to winning
this fight in the Senate, just as we won it in the House,
and signing this bill into law. (applause) Now, another key to
strengthening education, entrepreneurship, and innovation
in communities like Troy is to harness the full
power of the Internet, and that means faster and more
widely available broadband, as well as rules to ensure that
we preserve the fairness and openness that led to the
flourishing of the Internet in the first place. So today, FCC Chairman Julius
Genachowski is announcing a set of principles to preserve an
open Internet in which all Americans can
participate and benefit. And I’m pleased that
he’s taking that step. That’s an important — (applause) That’s an important
role that we can play, laying the ground rules
to spur innovation. That’s the role of government — to provide investment that spurs innovation and also to set up common-sense ground rules to ensure that there’s a level playing field for all comers who seek to contribute
their innovations. And we have to think about
the networks we need today, but also the networks
we need tomorrow. That’s why I’ve proposed grants
through the National Science Foundation and through the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — or DARPA
— which helped develop the Internet, to explore the next
communications breakthroughs, whatever they may be. That’s why I’ve appointed the
first-ever chief technology officer, charged with looking
at ways technology can spur innovations that help government
do a better and more efficient job. We also have to strengthen
our commitment to research, including basic research, which
has been badly neglected for decades. (applause) That’s always been one of the
secrets of America’s success — putting more and more money
into research to create the next great inventions, the great
technologies that will then spur further economic growth. The fact is, though, basic
research doesn’t always pay off immediately. It may not pay off for years. When it does, the rewards
are often broadly shared, enjoyed by those who bore it — costs but also by those who didn’t pay a dime for
that basic research. That’s why the private sector
generally under-invests in basic science. That’s why the public
sector must invest instead. While the risks may be large, so
are the rewards for our economy and our society. I mean, understand it was basic
research in the photoelectric effect that would one
day lead to solar panels. It was basic research in physics
that would eventually produce the CAT scan. The calculations of
today’s GPS satellites, they’re based on
basic research — equations Einstein put on
paper more than a century ago. Nobody knew they’d lead to GPS,
but they understood that as we advance our knowledge, that is
what is going to help advance our societies. When we fail to
invest in research, we fail to invest in the future. Yet, since the peak of the
space race in the 1960s, our national commitment to
research and development has steadily fallen as a share
of our national income. That’s why I set a goal of
putting a full 3% of our Gross Domestic Product,
our national income, into research and development,
surpassing the commitment we made when President Kennedy
challenged this nation to send a man to the moon. (applause) Towards this goal, the Recovery
Act has helped achieve the largest increase in basic
research in history. This month the National
Institutes of Health will award more than a billion dollars
in research grants through the Recovery Act focused on what we
can learn from the mapping of the human genome in order to
treat diseases that affect millions of Americans, from
cancer to heart disease. I also want to urge Congress to
fully fund the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency, or DARPA, because since its creation
it has been the source of cutting-edge breakthroughs from
that early Internet to stealth technology. So as we invest in the
building blocks of innovation, from the classroom
to the laboratory, it’s also essential that we have
competitive and vibrant markets that promote
innovation, as well. Education and research
help foster new ideas, but it takes fair and free
markets to turn those ideas into industries. My budget finally makes the
research and experimentation tax credit permanent. This is a tax credit that helps
companies afford the often high costs of developing new
ideas, new technologies, new products —
which means new jobs. And this tax incentive returns
two dollars to the economy for every one dollar we spend. Time and again, I’ve
heard from leaders — from Silicon Valley
to the Tech Valley — about how important it is. I’ve also proposed reducing to
zero the capital gains tax for investments in small
or startup businesses, because small businesses
are innovative businesses; they produce 13 times more
patents per employee than large companies do. (applause) Now, these tax incentives
will spur entrepreneurship. But there are other important
steps to foster markets that value and promote risk-takers
and idea-makers who’ve always been the center of our success. That’s why it’s essential that
we enforce trade laws and work with our trading partners
to open up markets abroad; that we reform and strengthen
our intellectual property system; that we sustain our
advantage as a place that draws and welcomes the brightest
minds from all over the world; and that we unlock sources of
credit and capital which have been in short supply as a
result of the financial crisis. Now, there are some other
fundamental barriers to innovation and economic growth
that we’re going to have to tackle in order to ensure
American leadership, and prosperity continues
into the 21st century. For as a nation we face
enormous challenges, from ending our dependence on
foreign oil to finally producing — providing all Americans with quality, affordable health care. We’ve got to attack these
challenges to create a climate for innovation. And innovation can then be an
important part of how we meet these challenges. So let me give you an
example — health care costs. They leave our small businesses
at a disadvantage when competing with our large businesses, and
they leave our large businesses at a disadvantage when
competing around the world. We will never know the enormity
of the costs of our economy to the countless Americans unable
to become entrepreneurs, or to start a small business,
to follow their dreams, because they’re afraid of
losing their health insurance. So to lead in the
global economy, we must pass health insurance reform that brings down costs and provides more security
for people who have insurance, and offers options to people
who don’t have health insurance. (applause) Health insurance reform
will be good for business, and especially good
for small business — especially good
for small business. Now, in the meantime, the
recovery plan that we passed earlier this year has begun to
modernize our health system. So innovation can also help
drive down the cost for everybody. We are taking long-overdue steps
to computerize America’s health records. And this is going to reduce
the waste and errors that cost billions of dollars and
thousands of lives — while protecting patients’ privacy. And it’s important
to note, as well, that the records
that are held — each of us having our own
medical records in digital form — holds the potential of offering patients the chance to be more active participants in the prevention and treatment of illness. And health IT, health
information technology, if implemented effectively, has
the potential to unlock so many unanticipated benefits because
it provides patterns of data that we don’t yet collect but
could reveal discoveries that we can’t predict in terms
of how to cure illnesses. The same thing is true
when it comes to energy. No area will need innovation
more than in the development of new ways to produce and
use and save energy. And you understand that
here at Hudson Valley. I firmly believe that the nation
that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation
that leads the global economy. And that’s why — (applause) That’s why we’re doubling our capacity to generate renewable energy, building a stronger
and smarter electric grid. And I was meeting some young
people who are being trained right here so that they’re going
to be working on creating this smart grid. We’re investing in technologies
to power a new generation of clean-energy vehicles. We’ve helped reach an agreement
to raise fuel economy standards. And for the first
time in history, we’ve passed a bill to create
a system of clean energy incentives which will help make
renewable energy the profitable kind of energy in America, while
helping to end our dependence on oil and protect our planet
for future generations. This bill has passed the House. We’re now working to pass
legislation through the Senate. It is time to get this done. (applause) We have to lead on energy. We can’t be lagging behind. (applause) So that’s an overview
of our strategy. All these pieces fit together. It’s a strategy that’s essential
for our recovery today, but more importantly, for
our prosperity tomorrow. It’s a strategy rooted in a deep
and abiding faith in the ability of this country to rise
to any challenge — because that’s our history. We’re a people with a seemingly
limitless supply of ingenuity and daring and talent. And at its best, our government
has harnessed those qualities without getting in the way. That’s what led to the
building of the Erie Canal, which then helped put
cities like Troy on the map; that linked east and west and
allowed commerce and competition to flow freely between. That’s what led a pretty good
inventor and a pretty good businessman named Thomas Edison
to come to Schenectady and open what is today a thriving
mom-and-pop operation known as General Electric. (applause) A former senator from New York,
Robert Kennedy, once told us, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” It was not an
accident, not a gift, that America led
the 20th century. It was the result of hard work
and discipline and sacrifice, and ambition that
served a common purpose. So it must be in
the 21st century. Future success is no guarantee. As Americans we always have to
remember that our leadership is not an inheritance; it
is a responsibility. So from biotechnology
to nanotechnology, from the development of new
forms of energy to research into treatments of ancient diseases,
there is so much potential to change our world and
improve our lives — while creating countless
jobs all across America. The question is, if we are ready
to embrace that potential, if we’re ready to lead
the way once more. I think we’re ready. I’ve seen it all across America. This generation, generation
of young people sitting here, they have an
unparalleled opportunity. We are called upon to help
them seize that opportunity. That’s what you’re doing here at
Hudson Valley Community College. That’s what I intend to make
sure that we do in Washington. That’s what we will
do as a nation. Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United
States of America. (applause)

Author:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *