Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government The Almighty Buck Politics Science

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Obama Budget Asks For 1% Boost In Research

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:22PM (#39023821)
    Thanks a lot, /. And just how do you propose that I cram this datum into the politically-convenient narrative of science-hating Republicans that the internet has been spoon-feeding for years?
    • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        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.

      • 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.)

        • by jeffmeden (135043)

          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.)

          Given that the hottest, fastest growing company is Facebook (a tool for socialism) it would seem like Americans by and large like things that are socialized...

          (this bullshit pile isn't quite tall enough yet.)

        • 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.

          • 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...

      • by perpenso (1613749) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:00PM (#39024375)

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

        Social agendas like battling AIDS in Africa?

        "President-elect Barack Obama doesn't often offer praise for President George W. Bush's foreign policy, but on Monday he offered the outgoing head of state accolades for battling AIDS in Africa. "I salute President Bush for his leadership in crafting a plan for AIDS relief in Africa and backing it up with funding dedicated to saving lives and preventing the spread of the disease," Obama said in taped remarks to the Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health.""
        http://articles.cnn.com/2008-12-01/us/world.aids.day_1_aids-relief-anti-retroviral-president-s-emergency-plan?_s=PM:US [cnn.com]

        • by Hatta (162192) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:25PM (#39024739) Journal

          That's a great example. Bush put a lot of money into AIDS prevention and research, which is a great thing. But the groups he funded were prohibited from advocating for contraceptive use, ignoring all the research that tells us family planning is crucial to women's health. Look at all the good Bush did with that money, and think of how much better that would be if it was spent the way science tells us is effective?

          Like I said, they only care for science when it fits their social agenda.

          • by cayenne8 (626475)
            Why should we be sending all that money to another country to begin with???

            How does that help or strengthen the US's position?

            Do we not have US citizens still getting AIDs here ? Why are we not eradicating the problem here and getting our own house in check...before throwing our hard earned money to foreigners all over the world?

            • 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.

            • 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.
        • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:29PM (#39024797) Homepage Journal

          That's because AIDS work is the only positive accomplishment that Bush can point to. You can give him that one.

          However, cynics looking into his AIDS accomplishments also point rightfully to the fact that his initiatives REQUIRED that AIDS drugs be bought through American sources. This wasn't exactly fleecing these foreign countries (as the prices were actually fair when compared to the prices of the same drugs in the states), but it was another windfall for his corporate buddies. It also prevented these countries from saying to hell with drug patents and setting up their own drug manufacturing (which would have produced the drugs at costs even more reasonable for their poor population).

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

      by artor3 (1344997) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:34PM (#39023963)

      Well, for starters, he only asked to increase the budget for science in his last year in office. In previous years he had been cutting it. Also his party opposed him on the increases. Then there's the fact that he routinely cut funding for agencies that violated the Republican dogma, such as the EPA. Oh, and the fact that one of the key aspects of the Republican Party platform is the lie that all the scientists in the world are part of one big conspiracy to trick people into thinking the world is getting hotter. Not to mention the Republican Party's constant support for creationism. And their turning the world "intellectual" into a pejorative.

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

      • 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: (Score:2, Troll)

          How do you sleep at night when we've seen this exact policy from the GOP for the last 4-6 years.

          Clearly stated by Senate Minority Leader McConnell (KY):

          "Our number one priority is to make Obama a one term President."

          It really doesn't get much clearer than that.
          • by LehiNephi (695428)
            Considering that Obama has only been president for slightly more than three years (and president-elect for only 4 months more), I find it hard to believe that Mitch McConnell has been stating that objective for 4-6 years. Besides, if you look beyond that statement to the reasoning behind it, you might find that there's some logical rationale behind it.
          • by ArcherB (796902)

            How do you sleep at night when we've seen this exact policy from the GOP for the last 4-6 years.

            Clearly stated by Senate Minority Leader McConnell (KY):

            "Our number one priority is to make Obama a one term President."

            It really doesn't get much clearer than that.

            Actually, it does get clearer than that:

            “Well that is true, [making Obama a one-term President is] my single most important political goal along with every active Republican in the country. But that’s in 2012. Our biggest goal for this year is to get this country straightened out, and you can’t get this country straightened out if we don’t do something about spending, about deficit, about debt and get this economy moving again. So, our goal is to have a robust vibrant economy that wi

            • Of course he is all for cutting spending as long as it doesn't affect his corporate contributors. There isn't one Republican saying we need to cut the fat in the defense department even when they make all other federal spending look like change for the coke machine.

          • That's not just some Republicans with that as a priority - there are plenty of independents and, yes, even Democrats that feel the same way.
        • Re:Bush did what? (Score:5, Informative)

          by artor3 (1344997) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:05PM (#39024449)

          A doubling over ten years does not mean double it now and keep it that way for a decade. It means "sometime in the future, when I'm not in office anymore, the next guy should double it". The fact is that compared to funding levels in 2000, their funding levels only received inflation adjustments through to the 2007 budget. Only in 2008 did they get a noticeable increase. This information is readily available on the organizations websites, such as here [nsf.gov].

          Now please, try to refute the parts about the Republicans supporting creationism or using "intellectual" as an insult. This should be a fun read.

          • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

            by ArcherB (796902)

            Now please, try to refute the parts about the Republicans supporting creationism or using "intellectual" as an insult. This should be a fun read.

            OK, I'll try. From HERE [nytimes.com]:

            John C. Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum, said he was surprised to see that teaching both evolution and creationism was favored not only by conservative Christians, but also by majorities of secular respondents, liberal Democrats and those who accept the theory of natural selection. Mr. Green called it a reflection of "American pragmatism."

            That help? You're right. It was a fun read!

            Also note that, as a conservative myself, I do not favor the teaching of Creationism in school, as part of the official curriculum. However, I don't feel that schools should have the right to say that creationism is wrong.

        • by bug1 (96678) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:13PM (#39024563)

          If (
          Republican does X)
          Republicans are wrong;
          Else
          Republicans are wrong;
          EndIf

          Only a republican would format conditionals in such a haphazard and condesending manner ! ;)

    • 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.

    • By asking if they're still for it when it's the other guy leading the charge.
    • Both Republicans and Democrats have been too soft on Science and Technology instead preferring to spend money elsewhere.

      Technology is not a priority for either party. Republicans prefer military spending- democrats prefer social spending. There isn't really anyone who is speaking out for technology.

      • by PickyH3D (680158)

        As an engineer at a large defense contractor, I beg to differ.

        Unfortunately, as with all government spending, there is a lot of pork and corruption, but there are also some legitimately big technology products that advance the state of the art under the guise of military spending.

  • More energy research? But how will that impact our fossil-fuel overlords?!

    On a serious note, my only real hope is that either patents won't be granted, or else they'll be granted and licensed at essentially no charge to American companies for the advances, and that companies would have to compete based on their efficiency and ability.

    Of course, I'm probably living in a pipe dream.

    • by LehiNephi (695428)
      Personally, I'm wondering why we should be increasing research spending at all. Unfortunately, our political environment has become such that a spending freeze is often mischaracterized as "you're cutting off funding for X" when in fact such a proposal is status quo.
  • Well should it happen? The religious conservative of US will say no, but will claim "no way" with the budget deficit.

    I mean we should all know by now, Ronald Reagan the last fiscal conservative died. All the political conservatives today are un-American religious-oppression right-wing-nuts.

  • 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.
    • we do need to back off govt. spending as the economy improves.

      Many economists would disagree with you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pz (113803)

      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 dec

    • That said, just maintaining the status quo is somewhat generous

      When talking about investing in research, I don't know. I'd hate to get cancer in 20 years and there be no cure because we cut research spending, rather than social security, defense spending, or medicare. I mean, I realize that's a tough one politically, but maybe talk about it at least?

  • Since he knew his fellow conservatives would want to cut the research budgets, he offered up a less-than-inflationary offer for an increase. He'll likely cave on either no increase whatsoever, or a small cut.

    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)?
    • 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.

      • by Nimey (114278)

        Unfortunately I agree with you. Obama's been a disappointment at best and a damned disaster for civil liberties, but our system is Broken and so we're left with the binary choice of Bad or Worse. Worse is letting the Republicans run things again, after they've shown they can't be trusted with a free hand, /and/ most of their leadership from the Bush II years are still in place, so they're not even /sorry/.

    • by anagama (611277)

      A book I'm going to need to read soon has an awesome title:

      The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad

  • ...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 the gnat (153162)

      NIH is the first funding agency to require publications coming from its work to be put in open-access or publicly-accessible journals.

      I'm pretty sure this is not true - NIH-funded researches still publish in Nature or Elsevier journals all the time, without paying extra to make their work open-access. (I know this because I get c**kblocked by the paywall every time I'm browsing the literature on a weekend.) The requirement is actually that they deposit the manuscript in PubMed Central within either 6 mont

      • NIH is the first funding agency to require publications coming from its work to be put in open-access or publicly-accessible journals.

        I'm pretty sure this is not true

        Here's the link proving it to be true, straight from the NIH. [http]

        NIH-funded researches still publish in Nature or Elsevier journals all the time

        Which is still allowed. I can't force you to read the requirements if you chose not to.

        The requirement is actually that they deposit the manuscript in PubMed Central within either 6 months or a year (I forget which) after publication, regardless of what other arrangement may have been made with the journal.

        So you did read the requirement, then. Where is your grievance?

        So everything funded by the NIH should, in theory, become open-access eventually

        Which does not counter what I said...

    • I have a hard time believing it's as good as your link says. Thinking about the funding opportunities I applied for in the last three years I'd say the funding success rate in my experience is much closer to 8% than 18%. I can think of two grants I wrote (one NIH, one USDA) where the success rate ended up less than 5%. If we went back to the 30% success rate of 2003 I'd be dancing buck-naked on top of the lab benches...so I guess there's an upside to the abysmal funding since nobody wants to see that.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Not only are not all NIH-funded studies published openly (would be nice though) but they're also evil, traitorous bastards. They spent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars trying to prove something they knew wasn't true, that eating fat made you fat and that eating cholesterol raised your cholesterol count. The closest they could get was proving that taking a drug to lower your count decreased your risk of heart disease. Then they told us that fat was bad for you and we should all eat a lot of carbohydrates

  • In other news China's technological espionage department has just petitioned Beijing to allow them another 1% more funding to help steal the extra technology discovered from America's 1% tech research spending increase.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:06PM (#39024465)

    A 5% increase, devoted mostly to energy research would make sense. Diverting all money from the Mars/Moon budget would certainly help. Near Earth orbit is research. Until we have a money-positive, energy positive use for the moon or Mars, they're hubris and nothing more.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:29PM (#39024801)

    I don't care who's president; I fully endorse this. If anything, they're not putting nearly enough money into these programs. This sort of thing is where our tax dollars should be doing. This and infrastructure. But I don't mean the kind of crap infrastructure programs like we've been seeing these past few years that do nothing but keep a few construction workers employed and puts money into the hands of companies that would have gotten business anyway.

    What I mean are public works projects like those seen in Japan, South Korea and China; programs that have a long term positive impact but that actually make sense for the region. Of course, that pointless high speed rail that's been bandied about is not one of them. Unless we were developing our own high speed train and not just buying something overseas. We don't even have the expertise in this country to build our own high speed rail.

    Absolutely money should be shifted away from defense spending, but I'd also like to see less spent on wasteful, shortsighted social programs. There are people out there who need the help, but many of these programs don't provide any long-term benefit for the country and merely increase dependency. Change the cultural mindset in this country and teach these people to fend for themselves and you'll see a much more profound improvement.

    Of course, a lot of jobs have moved overseas and there's no bringing them back. The real challenge is to strike a good balance, something like Japan or Germany has managed. But I think the mindset in those cultures is quite different to what we have here in the US, at all levels. Unlike the average American workers, the lowliest employees still have a strong work ethic and take pride in what they do. And at the other extreme, upper management still has a lot of pride and maybe even nationalistic tendencies. And they still have a drive to actually make something. American management, however, seems intent on finding with quickest and easiest way to make a buck at the expense of everything else. But then, sometimes you can't blame them. I've got friends who complain that you spend several times more getting someone in the States to make something, but you don't even have a guarantee of quality.

    Look at something as simple of toys. The nicest, highest quality stuff routinely comes out of Japan and Germany and often it's still made domestically. Compare that to American toys which are always made in China, usually poorly conceived and where the cost-cutting is always evident. With the vast majority of "American" products it's only a matter of time before China builds brand strong enough that they can stand on their own. At that point why bother with the middleman? The middleman being the American corporation that does nothing but own a brands, logos on the box, basically.

    And that's where the fundamental problem arises. Will we be able to maximize the benefit of this investment in science if we end up offloading all of the actual design and manufacture to a foreign company? Are we just going to end up making a bunch of guys at the top even more wealthy? But then, I guess we have to start somewhere.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

Working...