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'YouCut' Targets National Science Foundation Budget 760

Posted by timothy
from the conjugate-special-interest dept.
jamie writes "As some of you may have heard, the incoming Republican majority in Congress has a new initiative called YouCut, which lets ordinary Americans like me propose government programs for termination. So imagine how excited I was to learn that YouCut's first target — yes, its first target — was that notoriously bloated white elephant, the National Science Foundation."
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'YouCut' Targets National Science Foundation Budget

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  • Cut YouCut (Score:3, Informative)

    by topham (32406) on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:44PM (#34596622) Homepage

    The smart move is to cut YouCut, because your Congressman should already be cutting the crap you dislike,

    • Re:Cut YouCut (Score:5, Informative)

      by AJWM (19027) on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:52PM (#34596668) Homepage

      Agreed. That and cut congressional perks too.

      • Re:Cut YouCut (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:10AM (#34596778)

        If we start with the TSA I'll support the program, silly as it is.

    • I would say that our Congressman's salary should be the first item on YouCut.

      Perhaps the Republicans would like to man up [lasvegassun.com] and be the first to go? ;)

  • Obscene (Score:5, Insightful)

    by starfishsystems (834319) on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:45PM (#34596628) Homepage
    Look, I'm not an American, I'm just looking over the fence and respectfully trying to make sense of what I'm seeing. But that's just obscene.
    • Re:Obscene (Score:4, Insightful)

      by flyingsquid (813711) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:10AM (#34596770)
      The Chinese increased the 2010 science budget by 8%, to $24 billion, according to Science magazine. Meanwhile, Republicans are seriously(?) talking about cutting the entire National Science Foundation.

      At least don't cut any more funding for education. How else are we all going to learn Mandarin?

  • Science ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:47PM (#34596636) Homepage Journal
    yes, that should be the first thing to cut money from indeed ! because, then, texas education board can claim that jefferson was a godless whore, and instead put the name of an obscure preacher in front of him as a founding father. of course, right after approving school curriculum books that say 'world has been created in 6 days' is a valid theory ...

    kudos americans. you have succeeded in giving a second chance to the morons who have awarded the world with a neverending war on terror, a turmoil in middle east, violation of all constitutional and modern civil rights, kidnappings, torture, wall street DEregulation (and corresponding scam), and body scanners and many, many more !

    heaven knows what they will do to you (and the world, if they can) with this second chance. maybe the first thing they will mandate will be mandatory cavity searches in airports.
  • Cuts hurt. Taxes hurt. Our economy is in shambles and both solutions make no sense. I guess the only stance worth fighting for anymore is legalizing marijuana, at least that way I won't care what happens.
    • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:58PM (#34596708)

      Or we could tax the rich, close the loopholes on capital gains and outsourcing, enact tariffs against countries with environmental and labor protections weaker than ours, and use the revenue to put the unemployed to work on new infrastructure.

      Hah, as if. We'll continue to cut taxes (20 for the rich, 1 for the poor, 20 for the rich, 1 for the poor, etc), then hit the deficit cap and slaughter Social Security and Medicare, and finally end up a destitute 3rd world nation, under god.

      • Take a look at the tax dollars paid by "the rich". They already significantly pay more in taxes than all other income classes - combined.
    • by khasim (1285)

      I guess the only stance worth fighting for anymore is legalizing marijuana, at least that way I won't care what happens.

      It works for me. Where are the "get the government out of my choices" voices for this?

      If nothing else, it would cut part of the prison population and increase the tax base.
      All you need to do is make it a multiplier for other crimes. Murder? And high? Looks like you get an additional 5 years.

      And how about fixing the tax system a bit? Why does Bill Gates need a tax cut? Why does he need a ta

  • Um, we're broke? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:50PM (#34596660)

      With our national debt at 100% GDP and our unfunded mandates at 8 times that, we're more than broke. We're spending our grandchildren's tax dollars.

      When it comes down to choosing between "free" healthcare, "free" medicine, and everything else "free" the government owes people, why is it a surprise that what people think here is "honest" and "important" will fall by the wayside.

      Welcome to Idiocracy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by orphiuchus (1146483)
      Remember in the 90s when all the pundits said that we were spending the next generations money? It turns out they were right. Those of us who entered the workforce in the last 10 years, or will enter in the next 10, are feeling the effects of the irresponsibility of the last 20 or 30 years. Having those same people who caused this still in power makes no sense, but even in the land of the free the people with the power will fight to keep it. We are witnessing either the beginning of a new era, or the downfa
      • Re:Um, we're broke? (Score:5, Informative)

        by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @02:03AM (#34597522)
        Ummm, I hate to break it to you, but it WASN'T in the 90s that the U.S. debt soared. Since WWII, there are have been precisely two periods where the ratio of U.S debt to GDP rose [zfacts.com] in a sustained way. The first was under Reagan/Bush, when under Reagan especially, the (democratic) congress consistently approved a budget that was lower than what the president recommended. The second was under Bush Jr./Obama. Regarding the latter, Obama isn't spending at any greater rate than Bush Jr. did, but at least he has the excuse that deficit spending is the only thing that has kept the economy from going into a full blown depression.

        The bottom line however, isn't that this is the end of the world, the U.S. just needs to ensure that the deficit spending is being spent on things that will improve the economy in the long-term. However, tax cuts are absolutely the worst way to improve the GDP in the long-term. It would be better to spend the money on replacing aging infrastructure and building new infrastructure, or other things that have a direct and unambiguous effect on the economy.
        • by Solandri (704621)

          Since WWII, there are have been precisely two periods where the ratio of U.S debt to GDP rose in a sustained way. The first was under Reagan/Bush, when under Reagan especially, the (democratic) congress consistently approved a budget that was lower than what the president recommended. The second was under Bush Jr./Obama.

          That's a bit of a deceptive way to view it since it makes it appear that debt was shrinking most of the time, when in fact it was growth in GDP (inflation) which is causing existing debt t

  • by PPH (736903) on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:54PM (#34596682)

    .... same acronym.

    Not Sufficient Funds.

  • by Cordath (581672) on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:56PM (#34596696)

    Private companies typically do not engage in long-term research that isn't likely to lead to directly commercializable results. I know this flies in the face of red-blooded 'merican "all socialism is evil" doctrine, but public sector research, funded by tax-payer money, is needed to build the foundations for tomorrow's industries. Quantum computing, like many other bleeding edge fields, is too immature, too high-risk, and with pay-offs that are far too distant for the private sector.

    Research and education are both investments that can yield fantastic returns, but they are long-term investments that require steady commitment rather than periodic outbursts of zeal punctuating long periods of apathy. A minor cut now might help balance the books today, but the lost opportunities down the road will more than negate that. Top researchers don't hang around after you cut the funding they run their labs and pay their students and post-docs with. They won't wait a few years until times are good again. What they will do is go where the money they need to work is, and if they can't find that in the U.S., they'll likely find it in Canada, China, Australia, etc.. The U.S. is far from the only country doing quality research in QC these days.

    Unfortunately, some U.S. politicians are of the opinion that they can make political hay by screwing over those "pinko" scientists. They're smart enough to know what they're sacrificing, but votes for them are a worthier cause! The only way to fight this kind of thinking is to call up your local representative/senator/etc. and let them know you're not buying it. The only way to make them stop this kind of thing is to make them think they'll lose votes today, because that's all they care about.

  • Better Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Friday December 17, 2010 @11:59PM (#34596710) Homepage
    Cut "defense" spending, airport security, congress critter perks, and tax breaks for those who least need them. That should bring our deficit to negative. The republicrats can thank me later.
  • How about these... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@@@hotmail...com> on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:00AM (#34596716) Homepage

    Cut the NSA, CIA, FBI, ATF, DEA, and all that anti-democratic shit.

  • Can some enterprising person divide up the budget of the House of Congress itself onto a YouCut type site.
    I am sure some people would like less brass in the new bathrooms.
    Or perhaps cuts to "fact finding" missions.
    Maybe we could do with fewer congress critters. Save lots of $ there.

    -- Or perhaps the salaries could be cut --
    In 2006, congresspersons received a yearly salary of $165,200.[173] Congressional leaders were paid $183,500 per year. The Speaker of the House of Representatives earns $212,100 annually.

  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:05AM (#34596744)

    This is exactly the kind of framing that brings joy to those with a grudge against effective government - playing entirely in their end zone, scoring point after point when they're supposed to have the ball.

    Corporations have proven that, given the option, they will simply not do basic research. Now, we're using recent tax breaks (plus extra double tax cuts for the rich) causing further massive deficits to argue that huge swaths of basic research be eliminated, because they're too luxurious for us to afford (compared to the utter non-luxury of war-time double-tax-cuts for the mega-rich).

    Basic science is really our only path towards actually knowing how to solve a lot of deep, inherent, and growing problems in our world. Problems that will only get worse as more resources are pulled into the hands of the few who will never let that money out of their small investment circles and estate holdings by choice.

    The rich (frequently) aren't villains - they're just those that are good at gathering resources, the natural end result of selecting for people who can best acquire resources from others. The dynamic of a glut of rich getting more controlling over more resources is an ancient dynamic - the very word Crass is an example of this - take a little time to read up on Marcus Licinius Crassus [wikipedia.org] adventures in emergency real estate acquisitions if you want a little insight into to today's real estate capitalism. Of course, he did die getting gold poured down his throat after his overreach - but he also created an empire too.

    Sacrifice research on the alter of making room for tax breaks, however, and you're selling the very soul of your nation's future. You're creating an empire at the cost of drowning your future in your acquired gold.

    Ryan Fenton

  • I Call Shenanigans (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:06AM (#34596750) Homepage

    If you go to the site, they're not saying we should cut ALL of the NSF funding. They're asking people to suggest specific grants that are not good uses of tax dollars. The OP is essentially saying that there can't possibly be waste anywhere in the NSF budget at that anyone who would even suggest such a thing must necessarily be anti-science.

    • And how shall the people do that? It takes days to write a grant application, it takes multiple hours to have it reviewed by an expert panel, and then you want to vote on it essentially by its title? I am all for programs such as this - but if anyone wants a certain grant to be denied, he should write up a 10+ page essay reasoning why this grant is not a good use of money. If that essay contains an informed opinion - well, fine, cut it.
  • by TheRedDuke (1734262) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:11AM (#34596780)
    Yes, it's been said on /. a million times before: end the freakin' wars. Stop the runaway military spending. It's that simple. NSF's annual budget = $7.4 billion (source: NSF). That's about a week in a half in Iraq, if memory serves.
    • by Solandri (704621) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @04:19AM (#34598108)

      Yes, it's been said on /. a million times before: end the freakin' wars. Stop the runaway military spending. It's that simple.

      No it's not that simple. I wish the people saying this would go to the Congressional Budget Office web site and actually try reading some of the budget projections instead of parroting some line which happens to fit their worldview.

      In a nutshell, U.S. military spending has more or less been steadily declining [cbo.gov] as a percentage of the GDP and percentage of the budget [urban.org], up until 9/11. After 9/11 it started to tick upwards, but is still near the lowest it's been since WWII [truthandpolitics.org]. It's actually one of the few parts of the budget which has been getting smaller over the last 50 years.

      What's killing the budget are the social programs. Specifically Medicare/Medicaid, though Social Security rears its head every now and then. Medicare and Medicaid are projected to grow so much [cbo.gov] and so quickly that if we completely eliminated all military spending - dropped it to zero - within about 20-25 years the growth in Medicare/Medicaid will have consumed all of the savings.

      This isn't a conservative problem, this isn't a liberal problem. It's a straight-up accounting/math problem, and I know most of the folks here are pretty good at math. Put aside any preconceptions you may have. Go read the the CBO report on the budget [cbo.gov]. See for yourself where the problems in the budget are.

  • by Yergle143 (848772) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:18AM (#34596822)

    This is wrong on so many levels. First off the NSF budget is just pitiful, 6.85 billion in 2009. The physical sciences are flat out starving. Come on, this is the groundwork of our entire technical civilization...how many trillion is that worth a year? And most importantly the examples that he gives...soccer grant, and grant for video game sound. Well all right. The video game industry (which is entirely predicated on math math math more math -- insert joke [head shots]) is like 50+ billion. I think that research may well pay off. The NIH budget is 29.5 billion. I am in the biosciences and if you cut that in half and it would make no difference to the health of this country. Cancer...the same...Alzheimers...Schizophrenia...no progress... My point is that of all the Government research agencies, the NSF is in the most need of some love. This is just shameful.

  • by mojo-raisin (223411) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:34AM (#34596948)

    I've worked 10 years in biomedical research both in academia (where I got my paycheck from the NIH), and in industry (pharma & diagnostics).

    I am ABSOLUTELY in making very deep cuts in the National Institutes of Health budget. It should be cut in half over the next 10 years.

    I have witnessed the efficiency and progress in industry, and it make some of the top academic researchers look like true money and time wasters. The amount of truly useful work to come out of academia does not justify stealing from taxpayers.

    It is the moral position to support cuts to the NIH, military, NSF, Dept of Ed, etc.

    • Ummm... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:52AM (#34597056) Homepage Journal
      How did the people you work under in industry get to where they are today? They earned their PhD is how. And most likely, if you are working in the US, the PhDs above you earned their degrees at schools in the US, with that graduate work supported at least in part by taxpayer funding.

      In other words, we don't train scientists in this country without NIH/NSF/DOE funding. It simply doesn't happen, because it is too expensive to do any other way. If those three agencies were all terminated this afternoon, grad schools across the country would suffer immediately. Eventually the number of new degrees issued would plummet and employers looking for PhDs would have to hire from abroad.

      In other words, congratulations you just expressed support for accelerating the brain drain.

      The amount of truly useful work to come out of academia does not justify stealing from taxpayers.

      Just because you don't understand the work - or the value thereof - coming from academia does not mean it has no value.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:55AM (#34597084)

    From time to time, I act as a grant reviewer and panelist for the NSF. I can quite frankly attest that the NSF is anything but bloated. The number of excellent and virtuous projects that do not get funded is always a crying shame. Of course, some proposals are utter rubbish. However, far fewer projects get funded than are deserving of funding. Not only that, the NSF provide us with a small *per deium*, from which we have to pay our own hotel, meals, transportation and everything else, apart from travel costs. One is lucky to break even, when working for the NSF. In addition, it is hard work! Our lunch break is usually just long enough to run across the road to a food court and then we eat as we work. In the evenings, there are summaries to write. I only do it because I believe that it makes the world a better place. However, if this is what the Republicans are intending, there will be no need for more business bailouts, as they will just outsource the whole country to multinationals (who usually don't pay tax, due to off-shore 'arrangements'). Thus, this is a strategy only Osama bin Laden could rationally endorse.

  • It's all up to me? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by icannotthinkofaname (1480543) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:46AM (#34597394) Journal

    The Republicans want me, an ignorant, uninformed American, to decide what to cut from the US Government budget?

    I vote we cut the Republican Party.

    Who's with me?

  • Republican Majority (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @02:06AM (#34597540)

    The Republicans don't have a majority in Congress, they have a majority in the United States House, one of the two houses of Congress, the other house, the United States Senate retains a Democratic majority.

  • by Epeeist (2682) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @04:26AM (#34598142) Homepage
    When I did my Ph.D. I had the good fortune to meet Charles Townes [wikipedia.org], the inventor of the maser. According to him he was told it was very interesting, but there would never be any real use for it.
  • by rangek (16645) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @05:00PM (#34602260)

    This makes me want to throw-up.

    Having "the people" review NSF grants, the same people of whom half believe that antibiotics kill viruses (imperiling all of us when they strong arm their spineless doctors into prescribing antibiotics for colds) and think that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, is a freaking ridiculous idea. Furthermore, the idea that targeting grants individually in NSF, whose budget, at $7 billion is 0.2% of the total budget is an effective way of cutting the deficit is asinine. And to top it all off, that measly $7 billion is one of the major reasons the United States is still a power in science and technology at all, especially as private R&D collapses in the face of the recession (in the short term) and Wall Street's fetish for quarterly results.

    Fuck you, Eric Cantor. Fuck you, ignorant Republican douche-bags. I am D-O-N-E done. We are going to Hell in a handbasket, and instead of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic (which would be bad enough), you are stealing life jackets from children and setting them ablaze because the water is cold and we need to keep warm.

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