This is a SCIENCE blog.
I had intended this blog to primarily cover “real” science, related to my field. Cutting edge research. Intrepid exploration of the of the Populus genome. Maybe the occasional news story.
CERTAINLY I was going to stay away from politics, if only for the sake of my sanity.
But I have barely gotten the cellophane wrapper off and THIS turns up to stain its shiny new pages.
The document in question is a bill from Sen. Rand Paul, free-market evangelist and poster boy for the Tea Party movement. It purports to cut $500 billion of “waste” from the Federal Budget.
Let’s have a look at what “waste” Sen. Paul is proposing to cut, shall we?
Food and Drug Administration – Decrease 62%
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Decrease 28%
National Institute of Health – Decrease 37%
National Science Foundation – Decrease 62%
Research in science is best conducted by private industry for economic purposes.
Wow… There must a lot of waste in the world of science! I had no idea that we were single-handedly causing the trillion dollar annual deficit! Cutting those programs sure is the way to go!
No wait… I think I remember something about Federal spending on research…
Oh yeah. IT’S TINY.
A few more highlights:
Education – Decrease 83%
The mere existence of the Department of Education is an overreach of power by the federal government.
(I’ll give you a chance to read that again, shall I? You might as well, the next generation may not be able to.)
Energy – Decrease 100%
The market has always provided new forms of energy development without governmental interference; it is time for the free market to start taking the reins.
(Because the free market has done SUCH a good job up till now in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.)
U.S. Geological Survey – Decrease 29%
The U.S. Geological Survey is the largest water, earth, and biological science civilian mapping agency in the United States. Though these are important activities, they can be given to state researchers at our colleges and universities, without having large numbers of regional executives and multiple offices.
(With the remaining 17% of the Education budget?)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Decrease 36%
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was formed in 1970 to serve as both a physical and atmospheric science agency, as well as for the purpose of commercial fishery conservation. Yet according to the NOAA website, “Approximately 25 % of NOAA’s annual budget was committed to making progress in understanding the link between our global economy and our planet’s environment.”
(Because there couldn’t possibly be any reason to understand the planet’s environment if you’re trying to preserve commercial fisheries…)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration – Decrease 25%
With the presence of private industries involved in space exploration and even space tourism, it is time for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to step aside and allow innovation to flourish.
(You’re right, we should stand aside and let the scores of viable private alternatives to the Shuttle take flight! Oh wait… Never mind, we’ll just pay the Russians to launch our satellites.)
Wow… Is anything safe from Sen. Paul’s Hatchet of Righteousness?
Defense – Decrease 6.5%
National defense is the primary constitutional function of the federal government.