I haven't read it, so I shouldn't draw conclusions, but a book recently reviewed here is titled after a quote from your President; "That Should Have Been Us" (or perhaps us down here).
In Oz kids are forsaking science at school and R&D is almost a memory. I just believe that cleverness is being eroded for "Financial Services", Hospitality, Mining (here), Entertainment and other not clever vocations. I hope that I'm wrong. I hope as well that I don't appear to be singling out the USA.
You may find it ironic that our Federal Minister for Industry recently visited Detroit to offer subsidies to US car companies to continue to assemble vehicles in Australia.