UNC system President Erskine Bowles has no fear that he can, oh, juggle the leadership of one of the nation’s top public universities while simultaneously righting the foundering ship of our country’s troubled financial situation.
"I’m pretty well known to have a strong work ethic," Bowles said in an interview today, Barb Barrett reports. "I’m not afraid of getting both jobs done."
President Barack Obama introduced Bowles, a Charlotte resident, at the White House this morning as the Democratic co-chairman of a new debt commission, formally named the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
The 18-member commission is charged with developing a list by December of ways to cut the nation’s deficit.
It has been a political football this week, with Republicans calling it little more than a "blue-ribbon panel" that won’t help with immediate needs.
Still, Republican congressional leaders are expected to appoint members to the group.
"This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue. This is an American challenge," Bowles said. "If we don’t (solve it), there’s going to be real problems.
"From a university perspective, if we don’t get this deficit in hand, there’s not going to be any money to invest in education and innovation and research."
Bowles said Obama called him about a week ago about the commission, asking for his help, promising that "everything would be on the table" and telling Bowles that the president had selected a Republican co-chairman in former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming.
"I knew that was someone who was serious and someone I could be proud to be their partner," Bowles said.