Obama: U.S. Had “Gotten a Little Soft” in Last Couple Decades, Lost Competitiveness

Chris Carlson/AP Photo

In an interview with an Orlando TV station Thursday, President Obama said that the U.S. had “gotten a little soft” in the last couple decades, losing its competitiveness.

Discussing with WESH-TV’s Jim Payne how this is a particularly “challenging” time for young people, the president said that “even before the financial crisis hit, one of the reasons that I ran for president was that wages, incomes had flat-lined at the same time that costs were going up, I think people felt that opportunities were becoming more constricted for the next generation.”

“And that’s why,” the president continued, “making sure that we’re revamping our education system, making sure we’ve got world class infrastructure, investing in basic science, research and technology, making sure that we are moving manufacturing to the US, and that we are being tough with our trading partners — making sure that they’re not taking advantage of us. There are a lot of things we can do.”

“The way I think about it is, this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades,” he said. “We need to get back on track.”

The president added that he wouldn’t trade the position of the US with any country on earth, since “we still have the best universities, the best scientists, and best workers in the world; we still have the most dynamic economic system in the world. So we just need to bring all those things together.”

-Jake Tapper