It’s funny — listening to people like Jim Cramer on the Today show this am, you’d think that Obama was wasting time and getting distracted by issues unrelated to the economy (but related to “special interests”) like re-opening stem cell research.

I live in the San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose Bay Area and if you look at the local news yesterday and today here (TV and newspaper), folks are pretty excited about the surge this will create for Bay Area biotech firms. Holding back this research has actually held back an important sector here. The news is all about training employees fast enough for the new jobs this can create here. They are good jobs too including young technicians. Stem cell research happens to be vital to the economy of California, which by the way, is one of the largest in the U.S. and the world.

Here’s the San Jose Merc:

Shares in California stem cell companies jumped and researchers rejoiced Monday after President Obama ended an eight-year limit on federal funding for studies of embryonic stem cells. [...]

The signing ceremony at the White House was heavily attended by scientific notables and officials from California, which has committed $3 billion to a taxpayer-funded stem cell research funding program to keep the state at the forefront of the field.

Supporters are hoping that the groundwork laid by the program will give California research centers the edge in winning federal grants under the new administration policy. Such basic research grants bring science to the point where private companies can invest, said Dr. Deepak Srivastava, director of UCSF’s Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, a center of stem cell research.

“Until recently, most of the private capital has stayed on the sidelines due to the federal policy and the early stage of the work,” Srivastava said. “I think that will change because private industry will see that this whole field will be jump-started.”

By signing the order, the President is helping to ensure America’s continued global leadership in scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs — essential not only for the country’s economic prosperity, but for the progress of all humanity. Sure, the research is controversial and I am excited personally about the promise adult stem cells hold. Still opening stem cell research completely will get us further faster to improve lives through better jobs and better healthcare. Furthermore, the majority of Americans – from across the political spectrum, and of all backgrounds and beliefs – agree with the scientific community that we should pursue this research. So those who say that stem cell research has nothing to do with the economy just doesn’t get it.

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