State of the Union 2006

President George W. Bush, in his State of the Union address, announced plans to keep America competitive by offering new initiatives to improve education, the economy, health care and the energy crisis.

“Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hardworking, ambitious people — and we’re going to keep that edge,” said the president, as he announced the American Competitiveness Initiative. According to Bush, this initiative will “encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our nation’s children a firm grounding in math and science.”

He exposed his plans to double federal funding for scientific research and exploration in “nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources,” while encouraging greater research within the private sectors. Bush said this will improve standard of living for the American people.

In a bid to spur innovative thinkers from an early age, Bush seeks to increase math and science education at the elementary level. “We need to encourage children to take more math and science and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations,” he said. “I propose to 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.”

To keep America productive is to keep the economy growing, said President Bush. “Our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save, and invest,” he said, outlining the $880 billion in tax relief that resulted in “more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth.” He urged Congress to make tax cuts permanent.

Bush addressed the rising cost of health care by outlining strategies to reduce medical expenses. “We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology, to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors,” he said. Bush also proposed a new savings account that offers self-employed individuals and those working with small businesses the same level of financial security that big company employees enjoy.

“Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy,” Bush said as he urged America to reduce its dependence on oil. To curtail this addiction to oil, he unveiled the Advanced Energy Initiative, “a 22 percent increase in clean-energy research.” This new initiative is set to change the way energy is used in homes and businesses, as new technologies like zero-emission coal-fired plants and other energy advances will be implemented.

Energy conservation techniques are also being applied to vehicles, as Bush proposed to increase research for “better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen.” He hopes that these new energy saving techniques will result in a 75 percent reduction in oil import from the Middle East by the year 2025.

Social Security benefits for baby boomers, immigration and the war in Iraq were among other issues that were addressed by the president.