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Obama Budget Asks For 1% Boost In Research 351

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-spend-it-all-in-one-place dept.
sciencehabit sends this excerpt from ScienceInsider: "One of the big three research agencies appears to be lagging behind its doubling peers in the president's 2013 budget request released this morning. The $4.9 billion budget of the Department of Energy's Office of Science would rise by 2.4%, to $5 billion. In contrast, the National Science Foundation would receive a nearly 5% boost, to $7.37 billion, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology a hike of 13%, to $860 million. These three agencies were originally singled by President George W. Bush in 2006 for a 10-year budget doubling, a promise that President Barack Obama and Congress have repeatedly endorsed despite the current tough economic times. ... Obama is asking for a 1% increase in overall federal spending on research, to $140 billion. Within that total, the White House seeks a similar 1% hike in the $30 billion devoted to basic research."
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Obama Budget Asks For 1% Boost In Research

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  • by timeOday (582209) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:27PM (#39023883)
    And a 1% increase is actually a decrease. You have to talk in inflation-adjusted numbers for it to mean anything. That said, just maintaining the status quo is somewhat generous; we do need to back off govt. spending as the economy improves.
  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:28PM (#39023893) Journal

    Republicans love science as long as it's something they can monetize and doesn't conflict with their social agenda.

  • Re:How about zero? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog (537054) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:28PM (#39023895)

    Better to cut defense spending and fix the tax laws than to cut research spending. The last thing this country needs is to fall further and further behind the rest of the world.

  • Re:How about zero? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SydShamino (547793) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:29PM (#39023915)

    Research is food for the economy. We won't be able to balance the budget if there's no revenue, and there won't be revenue without businesses providing jobs, and there won't be jobs without innovative new technologies and products.

    Your proposal for the economy is like balancing a household's budget by eliminating all spending on food. Sure, if you can do that over 10 years you'll go a long way towards balancing your budget, but more than likely by that point your household's members are either all dead or spending all their time subsistence begging while living under a bridge (with a household budget of $0).

    And if research is food, education is water. Sorry this is a food analogy instead of a car analogy.

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:40PM (#39024057)

    Pretty easy really:

    Bush: I pledge to double research spending over the next 10 years

    A year later, the Republicans lose the election, putting Obama in office. Either:

    A) Obama meets the pledge, in which case he's spending uncontrollably on things that don't matter
    or
    B) Obama doesn't meet the goal, in which case he's a anti-science short thinking idiot.

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ThisIsNotMyHandel (1013943) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:43PM (#39024107)
    Social agenda? Like Solyndra.........
  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:43PM (#39024111) Homepage Journal

    Politicians love (insert buzzword here) as long as it's something they can monetize and doesn't conflict with their social agenda.

    FTFY.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:43PM (#39024123) Journal

    Thanks a lot, President Lawnchair. Maybe some time in my lifetime we'll get an actual liberal in the white house (though I can't think of when that would be)?

    I too would like to get a real liberal in the White House. Till that date comes, all I can do is to try my best keep the wacko Republicans from getting the Presidency, pack the courts, and hand over what little remains to the Mulitnational Corporations and the banksters. That means voting Obama.

  • ...Nothing.

    The National Institutes of Health would also see its budget remain flat, at $30.7 billion

    Thanks a lot. And for those of you who think you don't care, it's worth pointing out that NIH is the first funding agency to require publications coming from its work to be put in open-access or publicly-accessible journals. The other agencies are still allowing their work to go into paywalled journals at the time. So even if you don't agree with their mission of health research, you might want to at least take notice that they are trying to ensure that the work the taxpayer pays for is in a place where the taxpayer doesn't have to pay again to see the results.

    And being as NIH grant success rate is at an all-time low [sciencemag.org] (same source), the odds of more great original research coming from their effectively-reduced budget is miniscule.

  • by pz (113803) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:45PM (#39024147) Journal

    As pointed out, a 1% increase is not keeping pace with inflation, and is therefore a decrease in real dollars. The baked-in numbers for a typical grant allow approximately 3% year-to-year inflation, so 1% more money means every funded grant will see a reduction of 2% in buying power, on average (how would you feel about taking a 2% pay cut next year?). Also, since government agencies have already encumbered budgets for the most part (that is, most of their budget goes toward funding existing grants) a decrease in real dollars means it will become even HARDER to get a new grant in the future. It's already hit insane levels of difficulty to get an award: a given project can go from being evaluated near the top of the heap to don't-even-bother-us levels from one year to the next through the random, capricious nature of the review process (and I speak from hard experience on this). When only a few percent of grant applications are being funded, each selection is no longer purely a meritocratic decision. That is neither good for the US, nor for Science.

  • by afidel (530433) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:48PM (#39024191)
    How do you grant an X prize for basic science research? Basic science is the area where the government is absolutely needed because no company can afford to fund it as there is no payback in the horizon that a companies shareholders will find acceptable (excepting those with a government granted monopoly like Bell Labs). Most practical research should be left to the private sector because as you say the government is not particularly effective at picking the right horse.
  • Re:How about zero? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog (537054) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:51PM (#39024231)

    But cutting a far smaller research budget will? Where's the logic in that?

    And who says that a balanced budget is the right thing to do? Economists will tell you that a balance budget when you are trying to grow the economy is a bad idea. People just think blanketly that you always have to balance your budget but it just doesn't work that way on the scale and scope of a government our size.

    Now that's not to say that things aren't out of whack. You just need to prioritize things.

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:53PM (#39024257) Journal

    From TFA:

    These three agencies were originally singled by President George W. Bush in 2006 for a 10-year budget doubling

    From you:

    The Republicans are very much anti-intellectual. You can pretend otherwise if that helps you sleep at night, but you are fooling yourself.

    Just so we are clear:
    If (
    Republican does X)
    Republicans are wrong;
    Else
    Republicans are wrong;
    EndIf

    Did I get that right?
    Does it help you sleep at night knowing that whatever Republicans do, you will find fault?

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShavedOrangutan (1930630) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:55PM (#39024295)

    Republicans love science as long as it's something they can monetize and doesn't conflict with their social agenda.

    Democrats love science as long as it's something they can socialize and control.

    (Hey, it's just as much bullshit as your comment.)

  • Re:How about zero? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:59PM (#39024361)

    But cutting a far smaller research budget will? Where's the logic in that?

    The budget can't be balanced until people learn to give up things. That means everyone. If you want to say "my pet program is exempt", then so will everyone else. Then no one gives up anything, and the problems just get worse.

    And who says that a balanced budget is the right thing to do? Economists will tell you that a balance budget when you are trying to grow the economy is a bad idea.

    When do we not want to grow the economy? Apparently, the answer is "in the future, when the bill for the spending comes due". Ask Greece how well borrowing and spending works to permanently sustain economic growth.

    You just need to prioritize things.

    Says the guy who wants money spent on his pet programs.

  • Re:How about zero? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:07PM (#39024483) Journal

    A more financially responsible move would be to "INVEST" in R&D (with selection possibly based on a tender process)

    Like Solyndra?

  • Re:How about zero? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:18PM (#39024655)

    Research doesn't balance the budget.

    That's like saying college tuition doesn't pay for your salary after you graduate.

    That whole internet economy? Government funded research built it (insert stale Al Gore joke if you must).

    Interstate highway system, infrastructure 'investment' without which this country simply wouldn't be a shadow of itself today. And you know how they built it? Using research paid for by the government.

    There isn't enough money to balance the budget through cuts. The only way to balance the budget is through growth. And research investment is a tried and proven way to increase growth.

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:30PM (#39024819) Homepage Journal

    They don't want to admit it is realty about attacking Obama while controlling women. Does that mean Obama has no agenda? Of course not, but giving women the free choice to engage in sex without shame and with medical attention, well that is just and right.

    What? I mean..really....what???

    No one is controlling women. They are just as free as men to fuck at will....with our without shame.

    But why the fuck should someone pay for them to do so? If they want birth control, they are just as free now to get it as before....why should other Joe/Jane Q. citizens have to pay to subsidize them fucking? Something that I think everyone will agree upon...is a decision that is up to the individual to make.

    Since when is birth control a fucking right??

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:47PM (#39025049)

    What would you rather do: pay a few dollars for someone to get a set of birth control pills, or a few thousand dollars to house kids in orphanages, pay for parents with kids that they're not prepared for, or, heck, just deal with the social outcomes of children being born unwanted?

    It's not a fucking right, but it has a fucking awesome ROI compared to the alternative.

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rasperin (1034758) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:04PM (#39025369)
    Only a few thousand? Man you must live in a third world country, it's about $35,000/child/year to house a kid in an orphanage. But hey, let's not even think about that the overall savings, when gp can get pregnant or has a medical condition that requires the hormones in bc, you tell me again. I mean, why the hell should we pay for cancer treatment when you don't have cancer?
  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:07PM (#39025429) Homepage Journal

    It's insurance. The women pay for it, along with the rest of their healthcare through insurance.

    Contraception is more critical to women's health and wellbeing than to men's because men walk away from pregnancies without health problems, an STDs are more infectious to women. Denying contraception is a way to keep women down.

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:17PM (#39025603) Homepage Journal

    Republicans are against evolution and climate change science; Democrats are for them. They are two of the most fundamental sciences bearing on public policy. Before that Republicans were against "tobacco kills science" while Democrats were for it. The list goes on.

    Your false equivalence is what's bullshit.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:22PM (#39025681) Homepage Journal

    Because Bush's AIDS spending was a subsidy to American drug corps it was required to be spent on.

    This is true of most foreign aid. Either direct subsidy to American vendors through a foreign customer, or freeing up foreign funds from the American funds' target so foreign funds can be spent on American vendors. And amidst the $billions, some is spent on even less direct strategic subsidies to American vendors.

    The benefits of these programmes, while including foreign consumers, typically accrue mainly to the rich Americans who make the foreign deals, and the large shareholders and their financial support class.

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday February 13, 2012 @06:26PM (#39025757) Homepage Journal

    Contraception is more critical to women's health and wellbeing than to men's because men walk away from pregnancies without health problems, an STDs are more infectious to women. Denying contraception is a way to keep women down.

    Wouldn't that work the opposite then?

    If women have all the contraception they want....they're liable to have sex more often, resulting in greater exposure to STDs?

    I mean, I'm guessing that the contraception for women here 99% of the time is going to be specific to them, the pill or intrauterine devices, all of which do nothing to prevent STDs.

    Why don't they just make it easier to set up and run your own HSA (Health Savings Account) so the average person can load it up pre-tax for medical spending, don't have it forced to be associated with a high deductible insurance acct the way it currently is set up.

    Then, let the person pay into it pre-tax...and women can use that to purchase their contraception...and it is then back to a personal thing.

    Frankly I'm all for women being on the pill....not having to worry about her getting knocked up is a HUGE peace of mind thing.

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tibit (1762298) on Monday February 13, 2012 @07:02PM (#39026267)

    What I find the most crazy is that being "against" evolution just doesn't compute, it's a non-sequitur. It's like being against conservation of energy (I mean here a law of Nature). You may not like that our biosphere works this way, but that's just too fucking bad I say. Pretending that biosphere works some other way doesn't make it so...

    What plenty of people somehow don't get is that scientific theories (even in mathematics!) are based on observed facts, and they have predictive power. Being against evolution is basically saying that one is against what we observe and the fact that we can predict things based on it. It's absurd at best.

    That's the real problem I see in plenty of uneducated BS: there is the use of words, but those words don't mean anything. It's like asking for the meaning of life: the phrase "meaning of life" doesn't mean much. There's an infinite number of things that we can write that are completely meaningless when posed as general questions. It's like saying "meaning of number five", or "meaning of bees". You can ask about meaning of certain things in context where they appear, like what is the meaning of number five in some poem, or meaning of bees on some painting. But that's not, unfortunately, how plenty of highfalutin' existential questions are posed...

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by loom_weaver (527816) on Monday February 13, 2012 @07:32PM (#39026567)

    Plus the cost of imprisonment if the kids don't overcome the steep challenges ahead of them with the meagre resources they have...

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dave420 (699308) on Monday February 13, 2012 @08:11PM (#39026907)
    Accidents happen even to the most careful people. Either society pays a few bucks now, or tens of thousands for the next 18 years, plus however long their more-likely jail sentences are. It's financial and medical insanity to deny these things. Just ask the doctors, who know a lot more about the societal impact of these things than you clearly do.
  • by dave420 (699308) on Monday February 13, 2012 @08:20PM (#39026981)
    Because no country, like no man, is an island. Our economies depend on those countries, albeit usually indirectly, but in very real ways. Raw materials, labour, shipping, produce, you name it. Plus there's the benefit of helping 30+ million people not die in agony and leave their similarly-afflicted children to a life of abject hell. Surely you can accept that if the world was a better place to live in for everybody, it would be a better place to live in. I've never seen a terrorist movement born from well-fed, safe, healthy people, but plenty of allies.
  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cimexus (1355033) on Monday February 13, 2012 @08:24PM (#39027017)

    Birth control is part of a health care scheme in any civilised country. And health care is a fucking right.

  • Re:Bush did what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xeranar (2029624) on Monday February 13, 2012 @08:46PM (#39027257)

    No one is controlling women. They are just as free as men to fuck at will....with our without shame.

    But why the fuck should someone pay for them to do so? If they want birth control, they are just as free now to get it as before....why should other Joe/Jane Q. citizens have to pay to subsidize them fucking? Something that I think everyone will agree upon...is a decision that is up to the individual to make.

    Since when is birth control a fucking right??

    Since women have to carry the baby. Why do people weirdly assume that sex is an equal-sided equation? Men insert into women and once the event is over if certain measures aren't taken women become pregnant a majority of the time. Thus preventing women from getting birth-control limits the amount of sex that can be had for women due to the risk of pregnancy versus men who can keep going willy-nilly until court cases catch up to them with paternity.

    As for the actual issue at hand in this current setup is that religious organizations (such as private religious schools and hospitals) along with employers in general want to be able to morally justify their prohibiting of birth control on their insurances. The public isn't paying for birth control in this scenario and your line of logic could justify life saving treatment, public schooling, and to be on topic: research grants. But the reality is as a society we agree to do certain things for each other no matter what we personally think because we agree to live in this society.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

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