"Sputnik Moment is Back" Says President Obama

"Sputnik Moment is Back" Says President Obama

It’s not a rallying cry for the space program, but President Obama invoked the impact that the 1957 launch of Sputnik had on the United States in a speech today about the U.S. economy and workforce.

“In 1957, just before this college opened, the Soviet Union beat us into space by launching a satellite known as Sputnik. And that was a wake-up call that caused the United States to boost our investment in innovation and education — particularly in math and science. And as a result, once we put our minds to it, once we got focused, once we got unified, not only did we surpass the Soviets, we developed new American technologies, industries, and jobs.

“So 50 years later, our generation’s Sputnik moment is back. This is our moment. If the recession has taught us anything, it’s that we cannot go back to an economy that’s driven by too much spending, too much borrowing, running up credit cards, taking out a lot of home equity loans, paper profits that are built on financial speculation. We’ve got to rebuild on a new and stronger foundation for economic growth.

“We need to do what America has always been known for: building, innovating, educating, making things. We don’t want to be a nation that simply buys and consumes products from other countries. We want to create and sell products all over the world that are stamped with three simple words: “Made In America.” That’s our goal.”

He made the speech at the Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The White House said the President chose that venue because Forsyth exemplifies “not just how America came to lead the world in the 20th Century, but how it can regain that status unambiguously,” pointing to the community college’s success in granting degrees in fields needed for 21st Century industries.

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