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Obama's Budget Priorities: Can We Compete with China and India?
President Obama has unveiled his proposed 10-year budget today, and while there’s nothing particularly shocking included for those who have been following the ongoing debate between the White House and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the new economic plan for the United States offers a window into the moderate-leftist worldview about the future of the United States. We’re facing fierce economic competition from China, India, and other developing nations, and what we do in the next 10 years could determine the ultimate fate of the country.
The opening sentences of the official summary set up the framing for the budget and for the future success of the United States:
We now face a make-or-break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it. After decades of eroding middle-class security as those at the very top saw their incomes rise as never before and after a historic recession that plunged our economy into a crisis from which we are still fighting to recover, it is time to construct an economy that is built to last.
Concerns about the erosion of the middle class are expected to shape President Obama’s reelection bid, and will be tied in to the general structure of the US economy and what we can do to maintain a competitive edge in a globalized economy. There are five primary planks in the new budget that seek to achieve prosperity in the short- and long-term, while combating ballooning debt:
-Job Creation: extension the payroll tax cut, investment in transportation infrastructure, modernization of schools and the hiring of more teachers, tax credits aimed to stoke small-business hiring and investment
-Education: $850 million more for the Race to the Top program, reforms in teacher compensation and accountability, increased college affordability through reforms, enhanced support for community colleges
-Innovation and Manufacturing: increased spending on research and development, tax incentives for manufacturers who create jobs in America, electric vehicle, clean energy, and energy efficiency initiatives
-Infrastructure: modernizing transportation infrastructure, including support for inter-city rail projects, creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, building out a next-generation wireless broadband network
-Budgetary Reform: expiration of the Bush tax cuts, institution of the Buffett rule for high-income households, $1.5 billion in deficit reduction, fees on TARP recipients, Medicare savings, $487 billion in defense cuts
All of these measures, more or less, are in line with the general post-war American political priorities, albeit with a left-leaning bent toward an increased governmental role in ensuring the competitiveness of our workforce through the subsidization of US-based jobs, education, and infrastructure projects. But is this enough to compete against the radically different economies of India and China?
Much concern has already been expressed during the Republican presidential primary about our relationship with China, and to a lesser extent, India. Both countries are exhibiting unprecedented economic growth that has upended decades of academic economic thinking about the optimal capitalist democratic state.
The rough beauty of the American West seems as far as you can get from the polished corridors of power in Washington DC.
The rough beauty of the American West seems as far as you can get from the polished corridors of power in Washington DC. Until you look at the title to the land. The federal government owns large tracts of the western states: from a low of 29.9% in Montana, already more than the national average, up to a whopping 84.5% in Nevada.
Researchers are using technology to make visual the complex concepts of racism, as well as its political and social consequences.
- Often thought of first as gaming tech, virtual reality has been increasingly used in research as a tool for mimicking real-life scenarios and experiences in a safe and controlled environment.
- Focusing on issues of oppression and the ripple affect it has throughout America's political, educational, and social systems, Dr. Courtney D. Cogburn of Columbia University School of Social Work and her team developed a VR experience that gives users the opportunity to "walk a mile" in the shoes of a black man as he faces racism at three stages in his life: as a child, during adolescence, and as an adult.
- Cogburn says that the goal is to show how these "interwoven oppressions" continue to shape the world beyond our individual experiences. "I think the most important and powerful human superpower is critical consciousness," she says. "And that is the ability to think, be aware and think critically about the world and people around you...it's not so much about the interpersonal 'Do I feel bad, do I like you?'—it's more 'Do I see the world as it is? Am I thinking critically about it and engaging it?'"
President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.
A new coronavirus vaccine on display at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/ Russian Direct Investment Fund via AP
Medical workers draw blood from volunteers participating in a trial of a coronavirus vaccine at the Budenko Main Military Hospital outside Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.