Funding for Science from the 112th Congress

by D H
Tags: 112th, congress, funding, science
Emeritus
PF Gold
P: 16,465
 Quote by caffenta Are you actually saying that you would have no problem with a federal defense budget that is over 40 times the amount allocated for education? Seriously?
Sure. Just because something is worth doing doesn't mean it's the federal government's job to do it. Constitutionally, defense is the federal government's job, and education isn't. (And before people jump and say "You tea-partier, you!" let me point out that ED says exactly the same thing on their web page.)

But again, this misses the bigger picture. The federal government is so strapped for cash that it has to borrow more than the entire discretionary program. Reprioritizing within this program won't solve the problem.
P: 2,284
 Quote by caffenta Are you actually saying that you would have no problem with a federal defense budget that is over 40 times the amount allocated for education? Seriously? Cutting education spending by 83% while barely cutting the much larger defense budget seems OK to you? I'd also like to point out that the current level of K12 education is nothing to be proud of.
I agree with your last sentence, and the sentiment of your post, but I'm not sure that it's a fair comparison. Dumping money into education is probably as useful as dumping it into military spending... and frankly it costs a lot more to develop high-end weapons systems compared to even a first rate education.

So... I'm not sure that, "40x" or comparative percentages is a valid way of looking at this issue. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's a bit apple and orangish.
P: 2,284
 Quote by Vanadium 50 Sure. Just because something is worth doing doesn't mean it's the federal government's job to do it. Constitutionally, defense is the federal government's job, and education isn't. (And before people jump and say "You tea-partier, you!" let me point out that ED says exactly the same thing on their web page.) But again, this misses the bigger picture. The federal government is so strapped for cash that it has to borrow more than the entire discretionary program. Reprioritizing within this program won't solve the problem.
...And really, we've seen what we get with federally funded education... we all seem to agree on that. We've also seen people get all the money in the world, still fail academically.

As I've quoted elsewhere:

 Quote by Dana Gould Maybe the government should figure out how I can get on an airplane with my ******* eyedrops before I set them loose on global warming!
It's not that I wouldn't be thrilled to see the fed, or anyone fix all of my problems, but being realistic I think you're right: lets have them focus on what they HAVE to do, and move out from there. Scientific R&D makes no sense to cut however... I like my teflon, corningware, velcro, and ceramics! I'm thrilled that because the government dumped money into NASA, I can have titanium implants. So, why not go with the proven winner (not NASA, but R&D) that corporations recognize as key too?
P: 163
 Quote by Vanadium 50 Reprioritizing within this program won't solve the problem.
But that's exactly what this bill does. The biggest cash sucking program, defense, barely gets a cut.
P: 2,284
 Quote by caffenta But that's exactly what this bill does. The biggest cash sucking program, defense, barely gets a cut.
Defense isn't purely discretionary AFAIK, only partly.
 Mentor P: 15,202 While some military-related spending such as pensions for retired military personnel is mandatory, the entirety of the Department of Defense's budget is discretionary. The DoD budget is the subject of the defense appropriations bill. Notice those last two words, appropriations bill. Those programs whose budget is the subject of one of the twelve appropriations bills is what is meant by discretionary spending. The huge federal deficit, whether you want to call it $1.27 trillion or$1.5 trillion, is not going to be solved by attacking only the 12% sliver of the budget that represents non-defense discretionary spending. Should Congress eliminate this little sliver of the budget the budget shortfall will still be close to one trillion dollars. The solution to the budget shortfall problem is not going to found in discretionary spending, period. Congress can eliminate all discretionary spending, including the military, and the US government will still have a deficit. The problem can only be solved if Congress is open to rethinking its mandatory spending. That will require some explicit changes to the underlying laws as opposed to back-room dickering over budgets. It won't be easy. That 12% sliver will still be attacked because it is the easiest part of the budget to attack.
Mentor
P: 26,661
 Quote by Rand The Department of Education has increasingly meddled with the more traditional idea of education being tailored to the needs and requirement of communities and states. National Science Foundation Agency/Program Funding Decrease 62% Research in science is best conducted by private industry for economic purposes. States are also best positioned to direct funding in their own K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities.
Without federal government oversight, Kansas will start teaching Young Earth Creationism. When will the book burning begin?

Rand Paul is a lunatic, IMO.

 Rand Paul: Controversial Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Isn't So Bad -- It Enhances The Land! Despite warnings from conservationists that blowing the tops off of mountains to get the precious, precious coal underneath can have a seriously negative impact on the surrounding land, Paul says that when you really stop to think about it, losing those mountain tops is actually a net positive. Paul believes mountaintop removal just needs a little rebranding. "I think they should name it something better," he says. "The top ends up flatter, but we're not talking about Mount Everest. We're talking about these little knobby hills that are everywhere out here. And I've seen the reclaimed lands. One of them is 800 acres, with a sports complex on it

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2...nd.php?ref=fpi
P: 2,284
 Quote by D H While some military-related spending such as pensions for retired military personnel is mandatory, the entirety of the Department of Defense's budget is discretionary. The DoD budget is the subject of the defense appropriations bill. Notice those last two words, appropriations bill. Those programs whose budget is the subject of one of the twelve appropriations bills is what is meant by discretionary spending. The huge federal deficit, whether you want to call it $1.27 trillion or$1.5 trillion, is not going to be solved by attacking only the 12% sliver of the budget that represents non-defense discretionary spending. Should Congress eliminate this little sliver of the budget the budget shortfall will still be close to one trillion dollars. The solution to the budget shortfall problem is not going to found in discretionary spending, period. Congress can eliminate all discretionary spending, including the military, and the US government will still have a deficit. The problem can only be solved if Congress is open to rethinking its mandatory spending. That will require some explicit changes to the underlying laws as opposed to back-room dickering over budgets. It won't be easy. That 12% sliver will still be attacked because it is the easiest part of the budget to attack.
I stand corrected. I have to say, what you say (not the fact of the discretionary nature of the budget) after that initial point seems unlikely to ever occur. Personally I would simply eliminate all entitlements, reinvest that money in education and paying the debt. The result will be a lot of people dead, but that's a solution in and of itself as has been proven in the past. If we're not going to bother to educate, feed, or otherwise care for those who can't care for themselves, lets just reduce the numbers through attrition.

You're fighting the debt on both fronts there.
P: 2,284
 Quote by Evo Without federal government oversight, Kansas will start teaching Young Earth Creationism. When will the book burning begin? Rand Paul is a lunatic, IMO. http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2...nd.php?ref=fpi
AFAIK that's some of his more rational moments!... I don't think he's a lunatic, I think he's just a very ideologically motivated fool who believes what he wants based on painfully limited personal experience. If that's crazy, then the DSM just got a lot fatter.
 P: 1,123 If this thread is an indicator of the debates that will follow - this is a good start. Every program should be put on the table and weighed/measured. Paul is one vote. We elect these people to make decisions - this is nothing but the framework of a conversation.
P: 2,284
 Quote by WhoWee If this thread is an indicator of the debates that will follow - this is a good start. Every program should be put on the table and weighed/measured. Paul is one vote. We elect these people to make decisions - this is nothing but the framework of a conversation.
GOOD! Usually we work the other way and by the time we have a framework, there's no energy left for discussion. This was a well-engineered thread, and there's no reason we shouldn't consider everything: it's not as though we're about to go out and make it happen tonight!
PF Gold
P: 3,103
 Quote by ParticleGrl Industry doesn't do much fundamental R&D anymore, the focus has shifted much more to applied research. See,for instance, http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...5036681619.htm
I don't know that I take BW to be the last word here, but assuming they are correct, why do you think that is? See, e.g. crowding out. There's a good argument to be made that while government labs and R&D funding exploded, the private sector decided to step aside and do other things, still leaving the overall government and private R&D spending well up.

 Also, the DOE, NSF, etc fund University research, and part of grants to Universities end up in operating budgets.
True, and a lot of DOE, NSF, etc funding ends up nowhere near Universities.

 These cuts would not just effect science research, but would have a huge impact on university education.
Huge impact on education? How? That's certainly not true for undergraduate education. Even for graduate education the argument seems weak.

 Finally, we could have a discussion of the timing of these cuts- we might be out of the recession, but unemployment is still high. Meanwhile, companies are sitting on record amounts of cash rather than hiring, or expanding (Apple for instance is sitting on upwards of 50 billion http://technog33k.com/post/282201858...7-billion-cash and has been for nearly a year).
Yes exactly. Why do you think that is? Why are they behaving this way? I suggest again that government interference or threatened intererence in the economy via deficit spending, health care mandates, salary caps, energy taxes all increase risk and crowd out the private sector.

 Is it really the best time to put a lot more highly skilled on the job market? Keynes wasn't a complete idiot.
At the moment the summary of stimulus efforts seems to be, "there are no shovel ready projects". If you want to discuss macroeconomics, then consider the well established impact of government tax rates on unemployment, and not just government spending.

 Edit: Also, dare I say it, maybe the more responsible thing to do would be to raise revenue? Maybe increase taxes?
As Vanadiam suggests that's not evenly remotely feasible as a solution with these spending levels. Federal revenue in 2010 was ~2.1 trillion, spending was about $1.4 more. PF Gold P: 3,103  Quote by caffenta DoD$673.500B $47.581B 6.5% Education$16.256B $78.005B 83% Yeah... We'll be dumb as bricks, but we'll have them big guns, so it's all good. That assumes the US Department of Education actually improves education. Please show how US education is better now with it, than it was some years ago before it. P: 1,123  Quote by ParticleGrl Finally, we could have a discussion of the timing of these cuts- we might be out of the recession, but unemployment is still high. Meanwhile, companies are sitting on record amounts of cash rather than hiring, or expanding (Apple for instance is sitting on upwards of 50 billion http://technog33k.com/post/282201858...7-billion-cash and has been for nearly a year). Is it really the best time to put a lot more highly skilled on the job market? Keynes wasn't a complete idiot. Edit: Also, dare I say it, maybe the more responsible thing to do would be to raise revenue? Maybe increase taxes? You ask about the timing of cuts in spending - citing the recession - then you suggest an increase in taxes? Why not provide tax incentives to spur investment in R&D (in the US) - wouldn't that solve both problems? P: 2,284  Quote by mheslep That assumes the US Department of Education actually improves education. Please show how US education is better now with it, than it was some years ago before it. I'm not sure how you measure that... jobs? Literacy? Individual quality of life? I think a lot of people believe the USDE is ancient... when really it's just Carter's '79 pet. AFAIK literacy in the USA has been a steady 99% 15 and over according to the CIA World Factbook. So... I don't know... are there any good studies that aren't a partisan mess? P: 1,123  Quote by nismaratwork I'm not sure how you measure that... jobs? Literacy? Individual quality of life? I think a lot of people believe the USDE is ancient... when really it's just Carter's '79 pet. AFAIK literacy in the USA has been a steady 99% 15 and over according to the CIA World Factbook. So... I don't know... are there any good studies that aren't a partisan mess? Didn't the President indicate in his State of the Union speech a few days ago that US graduate schools are filled with foreign students - that return to their home countries upon graduation? This indicates that US students are not competitive with foreign students - doesn't it? P: 2,284  Quote by WhoWee Didn't the President indicate in his State of the Union speech a few days ago that US graduate schools are filled with foreign students - that return to their home countries upon graduation? This indicates that US students are not competitive with foreign students - doesn't it? It SEEMS to, but it may be that economic and social factors are the issue, not an issue with USDE funding... P: 686  Quote by WhoWee You ask about the timing of cuts in spending - citing the recession - then you suggest an increase in taxes? I side with economists in the idea that direct spending by the government is a much larger stimulus to the economy than tax cuts. Hence, if you are worried about the deficit, but also worried about the economy, raising taxes is more responsible than cutting spending. Obviously, some mixture of both needs to be done, eventually. Also, the supply-side idea that tax rates are the driving factors of the economy is nonsense.  As Vanadiam suggests that's not evenly remotely feasible as a solution with these spending levels. Federal revenue in 2010 was ~2.1 trillion, spending was about$1.4 more.
But we are also coming out of a recession, and have high unemployment. Getting people back to work, and the economy back on its feet will raise the revenue side of things.

 There's a good argument to be made that while government labs and R&D funding exploded, the private sector decided to step aside and do other things, still leaving the overall government and private R&D spending well up.
US federal spending on scientific research as a percentage of GDP peaked before the 70s. And its not that industry stopped doing R&D, they simply pushed more to short term applied research, which is part of the larger pattern of maximizing short-term profits that characterizes this era of business.

 Huge impact on education? How? That's certainly not true for undergraduate education. Even for graduate education the argument seems weak.
Liberal arts colleges will be fine, however a non-trivial percentage of university operating costs is taken from grants their professors receive. Given that many state universities are already seeing cuts from the state government, a further assault on their operating budget would be extremely painful.

 Yes exactly. Why do you think that is? Why are they behaving this way? I suggest again that government interference or threatened intererence in the economy via deficit spending, health care mandates, salary caps, energy taxes all increase risk and crowd out the private sector.
I'd suggest the more likely reason is more simple, low demand. If they needed to increase capacity to meet demand, they would. They do not.

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