Insisting that the US cannot afford to cut its education budget, President Barack Obama has said it has to compete with countries like India and China which are "not playing for a second place" and voiced opposition to tax breaks to the American firms shipping jobs overseas.
Obama, who was here for an election rally ahead of the November polls in support of Governor Deval Patrick, said the Republicans want to cut education spending by 20 per cent to help pay for a 700-billion-dollar tax break that only the wealthiest two per cent Americans will ever see.
The Republicans may think that a cut in education spending is a "good idea" but countries like India and China don't, he said.
"We see an America where every citizen has the skills and training to compete with any worker in the world. The other side might think it's a good idea to cut education by 20 per cent, but you don't think it's a good idea. You know who else doesn't think it's a good idea? China, and South Korea, and Germany, and India," Obama told an audience of about 8000 on Saturday.
He said these countries are boosting education spending, not cutting back. "They understand that whoever is able to train their young people will be able to out-compete any other country in the world. Those countries are not playing for second place. And the United States doesn't play for second place. We play for first."
Obama said it was for this reason that tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies that used to go to big banks are now going where they should -- to students and families.
"That's why we want to make our new college tax credit permanent, which will be worth 10,000 dollars in tuition relief for every student in America," he said.
Stressing that taxpayers should never again pay a bailout for Wall Street's mistakes, Obama said he will "fight the efforts of some in the other party to privatise Social Security, because as long as I'm President, nobody is going to take the retirement savings of a generation and hand it over to Wall Street.
"That's why we won't go back to the days when insurance companies and Wall Street banks had free rein to run roughshod over the middle class."
Obama further said the country's future must be "driven by American innovation and American ingenuity."
He said tax breaks should be given to small businesses, US manufacturers and clean energy companies that are creating jobs in the US "because I don't want to see all the solar panels and wind turbines and electric cars built in Europe or in Asia."
"We don't want to keep giving tax breaks to corporations that ship our jobs overseas," he said.