Tuesday, March 1, 2011

For Nikki Haley in case she, ahem, missed the president's speech

Don't worry iGov, we've got you covered

Posted by Greg Hambrick on Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 9:09 AM

In an afternoon meeting yesterday, President Barack Obama spoke to the nation's governors. One particular shot of the crowd shows a bunch of folks listening attentively … while Gov. Nikki Haley is turned away and typing on her iPad. To be fair to our governor, the president can be a bit wordy when he wants to be. But he provided some important comments on innovation, tight budgets, and rising Medicaid costs that would have been of some value. Fear not, we've offered a few highlights below, you know, in case you were preoccupied.


We meet at a moment when all of us -- Democrats and Republicans, leaders at the national and the state levels -- face some very big challenges. Our country has come through a long and wrenching recession. And as we recover, the question we're going to have to answer is: Where will the new jobs come from? What will the new sources of economic growth be? And how can we make sure that the American Dream remains a reality into the 21st century? ... We as a nation need to make sure that we are the best place on Earth to do business. We need a skilled and educated workforce, a commitment to cutting-edge research and technology, and a fast and reliable transportation and communications network. That's how we're going to bring new jobs to America, and that's how we're going to win the future.

Those of you who are in this room obviously are on the front lines of this budget debate. As the Recovery Act funds that saw through many states over the last two years are phasing out — and it is undeniable that the Recovery Act helped every single state represented in this room manage your budgets, whether you admit it or not — you face some very tough choices at this point on everything from schools to prisons to pensions.

Yes, we need a conversation about pensions and Medicare and Medicaid and other promises that we've made as a nation. And those will be tough conversations, but necessary conservations. As we make these decisions about our budget going forward, though, I believe that everyone should be at the table and that the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail. If all the pain is borne by only one group -- whether it's workers, or seniors, or the poor -- while the wealthiest among us get to keep or get more tax breaks, we're not doing the right thing. I think that's something that Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on.

We also have to invest in innovation — in American research and technology, in the work of our scientists and engineers, and in sparking the creativity and imagination of our people. Now, a lot of this obviously is done in the private sector. But as much as the private sector is the principal driver of innovation it's often hesitant to invest in the unknown, especially when it comes to basic research. Historically, that's been a federal responsibility. It's how we ended up with things like the computer chip and the GPS. It's how we ended up with the Internet. It's also how a lot of your states are already attracting jobs and industries of the future. ... And if you have any doubt about the importance of this federal investment in research and development, I would suggest that you talk to the cutting-edge businesses in your own states. They will tell you that if we want the next big breakthrough, the next big industry to be an American breakthrough, an American industry, then we can't sacrifice these investments in research and technology.

I share your concern about Medicaid costs. ... We understand the pressure you're under. We understand that we've got to do more. So today — and I mentioned this to Christine last night — I'm asking you to name a bipartisan group of governors to work with Secretary Sebelius on ways to lower costs and improve the quality of care for these Americans. And if you can come up with more ways to reduce Medicaid costs while still providing quality care to those who need it I will support those proposals as well.

Even as we preserve the freedom and diversity that is at the heart of federalism, let's remember that we are one nation. We are one people. Our economy is national. Our fates are intertwined. Today, we're not competing with each other; we're competing with other countries that are hungry to win new jobs, hungry to win new industries. I'm confident we will win this competition as long as we're fighting it together. And I know that, whatever our differences, you share that goal. So you've got a partner in the White House to make this happen. And I hope that this becomes the start of a productive and serious conversation going forward.

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