Let the fight begin:
For the sake of accuracy, the reason America became an economic powerhouse had nothing to do with the sort of education Obama mentions. It became an economic power house in the 19th century, led largely by people with little or no education (Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, et al.)
Of course, come to think of it...Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, those guys who started Google - all of them stopped their formal education as it was getting in the way of their contributions to society and the country.
Which is not to knock genuine, good education. But to spend four years drinking beer and doing multiple choice tests is not an education, for example. The GI Bill degraded the meaning of education, turning it into an empty degree granting money-making scam, by putting people into higher education who weren’t qualified, and raising the price for everybody. Which had the deleterious effect of making it necessary to have a degree to get many jobs (for which one was never required before,) and, to add insult to injury, it made a degree, in and of itself, suddenly mean much less.
The reason education is so expensive is because of government programs, starting with the GI Bill. If the government didn't make so much money available, universities might have to build a few fewer squash courts, but...Harvard cost $400 a term before the GI Bill....Simple inflation on its own accounts for very little of the increase in tuition. It's the mountain of money the government made available. Beyond that, using Harvard, again, as an example, anyone who is accepted has his education paid for, in one way or another. My friend from an African country even got some kind of stipend for warm clothes when she arrived at Harvard.
Which shows that the citizens of this country are generous enough, on their own, to pay for real education for those who can benefit from it. The joke degree granting beer swilling cesspools that encourage people who go to them to feel as if they are special, and deserving of third rate jobs in Taco Bell's corporate office, don’t contribute anything and degrade the idea of education. The people who go to those places would be much better off doing something genuine with their time (if it weren't for the fact that the whole system demands worthless pieces of parchment...kind of a Catch-22, although some of this is changing. In Silicon Valley there are organisations set up to encourage people not to go to university...)
There is a large subset of people who graduate from "universities" feeling as if they are special and in some kind of a club, deserving of a “job”, because they could follow the instructions society laid out before them so scrupulously. In reality they’ve been taught to be incapable of independent thought or actions, and will most likely spend their lives enslaved, in one form or another, to some other entity - their credit card company, the corporation they work for, the worthless swill they’re convinced they need by Madison Avenue, the Democratic or Republican parties, the bank who owns their mortgage, etc.
“Universal Education” is something like “Universal Genius”. It simply degrades the meaning of a word. It doesn't make everyone educated.
Again - Education=Good. Four years drinking beer and filling out multiple choice tests≠Education.
In advance, I predict that most people will be too stupid and uneducated to understand this. Which, kind of, will end up proving my point. [PS - This was aimed at the Youtube Audience where this was originally posted! NO ONE reading this here is stupid, I promise! :D]
STAY IN TOUCH