This week in the State of the Union address, I set forth my American Competitiveness Initiative. This plan will help our Nation to compete with confidence, raise the standard of living for our families, and generate new jobs for our citizens.
Generations of risk-takers, inventors, and visionaries have made America the world's most prosperous and innovative nation. Just 25 years ago, most Americans used typewriters instead of computers, rotary phones instead of cell phones, and bank tellers instead of ATMs.
Today America is at the doorstep of even more technological advances. But we cannot afford to be complacent. We're seeing the rise of new competitors, like China and India, who are making great strides in technology. In response, some people want to wall off our economy from the world. That is called protectionism. The American people should not fear our economic future because we intend to shape our economic future.
To keep America the world's most competitive and innovative nation, we must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. My American Competitiveness Initiative will encourage innovation throughout our economy and give American children a firm grounding in math and science.
This initiative has three key elements. The first element is to double the Federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next decade. Most of the technological advances we enjoy today are the fruits of research investments made years ago, and many of these advances benefitted from government support. The increased funding I have proposed will support America's creative minds as they explore promising areas, such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources. These investments will lead to new inventions that offer better choices for consumers and a better life for our citizens.
The second element of this new initiative is to encourage bolder private sector investment in technology, because the private sector remains America's greatest engine of innovation. The research and development tax credit gives businesses an incentive to invest in projects that could lead to new discoveries. Congress allowed this tax credit to expire at the end of 2005, and the House and Senate are now considering another temporary extension. But a temporary extension does not allow our innovators to plan and invest with certainty.
Other countries offer permanent tax incentives for research and development. To keep America the world's leader in technology and innovation, Congress needs to make the tax credit for research and development permanent.
The third element of this initiative is to make sure our children learn the skills they will need to keep America the world's most innovative country. Math and science are critical to many of our country's fastest-growing industries, so we must encourage our children to take more math and science classes and make sure those classes are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. I'm proposing that we train 70,000 high school teachers to lead Advanced Placement courses in math and science, bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms, and give early help to students who struggle with math so they have a better chance at good high-wage jobs. If we ensure that America's children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world.
The American Competitiveness Initiative will help our nation remain the world's economic leader. By investing in research and development, unleashing the innovative spirit of America's entrepreneurs, and making sure that our economy has workers highly skilled in math and science, we will lay the foundation for lasting economic prosperity.
Thank you for listening.