Competitiveness and innovation are never affected by government exhortations, nor indeed are they affected by any other exhortations, including those of business schools or ďinspirationalĒ speakers.

They come from the underlying real economic and financial conditions of a country and of the world in which it functions.

One can only look at the United States' position in the world and offer a bitter smile at Obama's empty words.

Debts of monumental proportions in every accounting from international balances to personal finance, idiotic pointless wars, and mindless military and security expenditures - all at the same time new competitors like China, India, Brazil, and even Russia grow to new strengths.

The United States is simply not competitive in so many areas of its economy. Nor is there any reason to believe that it can become so before undergoing a great deal of painful adjustment, the kind of adjustment its government works tirelessly to avoid.

Their government ignores reality because Americans are on average surely the world's greatest whiny babies when it comes to painful adjustments.

It is their sense of boundless entitlement, fostered by countless dumb politicians blubbering in Fourth of July speeches about the American Dream and passing laws and budgets, year after year, which are completely irresponsible.

That is simply a one-way trip to nowhere, no matter how big your economy and how great some of its past performance.

But Americans are suckers for tent preachers, in everything from new product advertising to politics and self-help gurus helping themselves to peopleís pocket books, and Obama is really starting to sound like one more of a tiresome breed.

The answer, of course, is for America to shut-up and roll its sleeves up Ė even then there are no guarantees of the same kind of future as it has enjoyed in the past - but you never fire Americaís imagination by truth and reality.

Miracles, sermons, sugar plums, and fairy stories are always in demand.