April 21, 2006 5:40 PM PDT

Bush shows support for tech industry

SAN JOSE, Calif.--The United States is losing its competitive edge in science and technology, and President Bush told Silicon Valley leaders Friday that the country can't afford to let that happen.

Bush was at Cisco Systems headquarters to promote his plan to bolster America's competitive advantage in technology. This is the same plan that the president outlined three months ago in his State of the Union address. He started off a panel discussion that included California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cisco CEO John Chambers, telling the audience that the U.S. cannot afford to fall behind emerging economic powers such as China and India.

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President speaks about competition during visit.

"Our economy is good, real good," Bush said. "But the fundamental question is: Can it stay that way five years from now? Or 10 years?"

"The most important thing, in my judgment, to keep America competitive, is for the U.S. to remain at the bleeding edge of technology," Bush said, adding that it made sense for the federal government to fund research and development to "ensure the U.S. remains the innovation center of the world."

Bush spent the week promoting his American Competitiveness Initiative, which proposes spending $136 billion over 10 years. The bill has the support of many Silicon Valley leaders, including Chambers, who noted that China and India are producing 10 times as many Ph.D. graduates as the U.S. is. Chambers spoke about the need to allow technology companies to hire the brightest minds--even if these skilled workers come from overseas.

Technology companies have long lobbied the U.S. government to expand the number of H1-B visas, which enable skilled international workers to hold jobs in the U.S. Although the issue has created controversy, mostly from Americans who contend that the H1-B visa program allows foreigners to take jobs away from Americans, Bush sounded a sympathetic note during the panel discussion. After local entrepreneur Francois Henley spoke about coming to the U.S. from Canada to start his business, Bush said, "I love being the president of a country where people can come with nothing and start their own business."

Later the president said, "This has always been a country that allows people to dream big dreams." To keep America's talent pipeline full, the president has advocated improving all levels of education, especially in math and science.

Silicon Valley leaders can take pride in Bush's initiative, since they are the ones who helped frame it. The Bush administration sought input from many tech leaders before announcing the plan. The bill and the president's visit are a sign that the White House is paying attention to issues important to the tech industry. Despite a chilly welcome from antiwar protesters outside Cisco's campus, the president was positive about his visit to Northern California. He delighted the crowd, saying, "It's wonderful to be in entrepreneur heaven."

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The Bleeding Edge
In a statement following the meeting with John Chambers, President B. said, "It is important to remember that the U.S. must do everything it can to maintain its lead in bleeding edge razor blades. Sure, you get cut sometimes using them, but change is always painful. That's why styptic pencils, which were invented in the U.S., were created. Now, it is true that many razor blades are manufactured abroad, but that is simply because Americans can't or won't produce razor blades here. We live in GLOBAL economy. We must not deny the good people of China, the peaceful propsperous Chinese people from China, the opportunity to make razor blades. After all, at least we Americans are still shaving ourselves. And I will vigorously defend the right of every American, the good people of America, to shave themselves. With Chinese razor blades. And Indian styptic pencils.".
Posted by maxwis (141 comments )
Reply Link Flag
what hes saying is more we better make our kids smarter before our economy gets its ass handed to us....or in a sense more intot he money issue...but hell id prefer it if MY kids were CPL gamers and Google level entreapranuers(hehe i cant even spell it, for once i must tip my hat to the billions of dollars we waste =p, we should invest it in things like dictionary.com =p)
Posted by Nocturnex (163 comments )
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Bleeding economy, no tech....
If 'bright boy' wasnt bleeding our economy to the tune of 1.7 BILLION DOLLARS A DAY to destroy a soverign nation based on lies and deciept then we could invest in our technology industry, schools and be the leader of the world... but not when we are broke! Halliburton and Big Oil are doing fine tho....
Posted by Vetter83 (50 comments )
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or as Robert Noyce would say,
"Go off and do something wonderful."
Posted by onward (13 comments )
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Only way it is going to happen
is the US start to invest seriously in education. The lack of math skills of high school graduates is alarming. Without those math skills, there is no strong tech economy.

Perhaps we need to get a president that isn't the epitome of mediocrity and corruption?
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
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Are China And India Standing Still?
The Pressuredent seems to think that if we just churn out more engineering students our problems will be solved. Beyond attending lavish state dinners abroad where he is shielded by a phalanx of men in black, has he not figured out that countries like China and India are churning out hordes of trained engineers and other professionals? Does he not know that an engineer in India or China costs only a fraction as much as their U.S. counterparts? Does he not know that these governments subsidize large parts of their production value chain to achieve long-term domination? Yes, we are truly blessed to have a 19th century leader for the 21st century.
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
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engineer in India
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/volvo_242_244_245_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/volvo_242_244_245_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Link Flag
Maybe W needs to take some remedial math & science
Seems the President needs to go back to school himself to take more Math and Science classes and get a clue as to what it will take to get that type of education; at the level that he prescribes, and the cost to do it. Instead of funneling money to his cronies companies he needs to direct it at education. And not just for the rich cronies kids that have contributed to his regime, but for everyone. In as far as the H1-B issue, leave it at is present levels. In the U.S. there are a lot of tech workers still looking for work and an influx of 'talent' (a good misnomer for some) from the outside is not necessary. There needs to be a focus on building up your own 'homegrown' talent. That is how we will compete in the Global economy. And this is not saying we need to be isolationist, but that we need to look inward first to find the solutions to our problems.
Posted by (35 comments )
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Two things
I'd like to see a poll that shows how much H1B engineers are paid in comparison to American. If they are paid the same, there is not economic benefit to importing them, so logic would lead to a conclusion that the employers cannot find what they need in this country.

It's been mentioned before, why aren't we taking a look at our educational system and the costs of a higher education today? After 25 years in the high tech industry, I decided to try education and taught as an undergraduate and graduate level professor for 5 years, and went to college and high school administration for another 5. Ten years was all I could stomach. Talk about arrogant, union minded, out of touch people, nobody beats the population of academics. Their paradigm is born of the 18th century and staying there. No way could I justify the cost of a doctoral with what I expected to receive in salary. I worked full time while I studied for both my Bachelor &#38; Master, and was fortunate enough to have my employer pay my tuition. That's a tough long road no matter how you cut it. Not only do we give the gun to the "enemy" we point it at our foot for them.
Posted by kenny-J (53 comments )
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Kill DRM, DMCA, and other unnecessary licensing
That is the only way to garantee the US remains compettitive! One Chinese company announced yesterday the "Municator" Computer for roughly $150 because they didn't have licensing fees.

DRM and other 'rights protection' (DMCA, the soon to be propsed extension, software patents...) is threatening to kill innovation right now because it is seeking to make common and ethical practice, as well as personal (i.e. no harm or loss to others) practices illegal. This is where innovation comes from.
Posted by hawkeyeaz1 (569 comments )
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And He says this with a straight face....
All the while the economy is in the dumps. The deficit is the highest it has been in the history of the US.
But not to worry he and his buddies will have sweet retirements made even sweeter by the deals he's making while being "King George".
As an IT worker I'll be lucky to have enough to live on during retirement, that is if retirement is even an option.
All that will be left of the US economy after 'W' will be service jobs.
Get used to saying "Would you like fries with that?"
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah, they need the tech for more warrentless wiretaps.
People are getting angry over the warrentless wiretaps. I wouldn't be suprised if this is just a bid to make the taps harder to detect by using more advanced technology.
Posted by rderveloy (16 comments )
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