Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Stemming Cell Research

How fitting: The day an article appears detailing business community complaints that the Bush administration pays more attention to moral issues rather than economic, the House passes a bill expanding stem cell research -- and is threatened with the president's first veto. So, a president who has yet to cast a single veto over a spending measure (though there are noises about doing so on the transportation bill), is preparing to do so on a measure that has both scientific and economic benefits.

During the Clinton administration, a Democratic president pushed back his base which urged him to permit taxation on the Internet. As a result, the U.S. economy thrived because of that new medium. Even, despite the excesses inherent in -- and later wiped out because of -- "the bubble", it can't be ignored that the absence of the government's heavy hand in Internet commerce heped benefit the economy.

Arguably, advancements in biotechnology are as significant this decade as the Internet boom was to the last. Yet, the U.S. is now lagging behind several countries -- including South Korea -- in stem cell research. A major reason for this is the president's blocking federal support. No one disagrees that there aren't moral implications involving expanding stem cells. But, can the United States help shape the rules, if it chooses not to even play the game?

There may be enough votes to sustain a presidential veto of this bill, but let's be fully clear what all the stakes are.

UPDATE: E-MAIL OF THE DAY (with apologies to Andrew Sullivan):
"Option A)
A universally popular, entrepreneurial spirited, 21st Century new-economy job growing, Stock Market loving, U.S. House of Rep.-approved STEM CELL RESEARCH BILL

Option B)
A limitedly popular, pork loaded, big government, 20th Century old-economy jobs growing, Stock Market apathetic, U.S. House of Rep.-approved TRANSPORTATION BILL.

What is a "compassionate conservative" to do?

There can be only one "first" veto. Hmmmmmmmmm..."

As someone else once said: Indeed.

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