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Funding for Science from the 112th Congress

by D H
Tags: 112th, congress, funding, science
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ParticleGrl
#73
Jan27-11, 11:04 PM
P: 683
Quote Quote by caffenta View Post
I was referring to your comment about top programs. Nobody in industry really cares, or even knows which program is at the top. And the implication that foreign grad students are somehow inferior is misplaced.
I am in no way suggesting that foreign graduates are inferior. I'm suggesting that US citizens who can't get into the best programs don't bother attending graduate school. People respond to incentives- if the end goal of a phd is academic work, then its much better to go to a Princeton or a Berkeley. If the goal is to get admitted to the US in order to have access to increased opportunity, than choice of program doesn't matter as much. Since the US citizens already have access to the opportunities living in the US entails, a phd from Podunk U isn't all that appealing. The incentive structure is different.

Also, if industry doesn't know which programs are on top, why do you see much more recruiting going on at better ranked programs?

I think it was more that college graduates could find good jobs without having a PhD, so why bother?
Except the same doesn't apply to medical and law schools- US citizens sign up in abundance. Why? Because they see good career opportunities. A phd represents a lifetime decrease in earnings, and people respond to incentives.

And do you have have any idea what life medical doctors lead?
Yes, my sister is a medical doctor. In the time it took me to get my phd, my sister finished medical school and residency (admittedly, her three year residency was an insane amount of work). Two years after finishing residency, she had fully paid off her loans (so if we had started at the same time, I'd be finishing a postdoc). She now works 3 days a week, 13 hours, for which she gets paid extremely well. As far as economic gain from a training program, MD beats phd hands down. Which is why there is no shortage of US students fighting to get into medical schools.
caffenta
#74
Jan27-11, 11:58 PM
P: 163
Quote Quote by ParticleGrl View Post
Also, if industry doesn't know which programs are on top, why do you see much more recruiting going on at better ranked programs?
If you mean recruiting events, that's probably because Princeton et al have a better alumni service and more money. If you mean actual hiring, I haven't seen it from experience. Maybe these top programs matter to the morons very nice people in HR, but to the people who actually hire PhDs, it means pretty much squat. Let me put it this way, I've never been on a post-interview meeting that went like this: "OK, candidate A is very good, he knows his stuff and seems easygoing, but he's from PodunkU. Cadidate B is a dufus, a jerk, and smells really bad, but he's from Princeton, so he is clearly the best choice." If you look at industry resumes, you'll always see education listed last, on the bottom of the second page. That's how much it matters.

As far as economic gain from a training program, MD beats phd hands down.
That's a personal opinion. Grad school didn't cost me a penny (except maybe some dignity), so my economic return is infinite. Do MD students get paid to do the research that gets them a degree? I don't think so. Also, not everybody goes into a PhD purely for economic gain. I didn't, did you? You're understandably bitter now because you're stuck in the middle of 2 worlds (academia and industry). But objectively, would you have made it through law school for example? I know I wouldn't have.

This keeps getting more and more off topic. People are going to tell us to get a room pretty soon.
nismaratwork
#75
Jan28-11, 02:30 AM
P: 2,284
Quote Quote by Gokul43201 View Post
Just to be clear who supports what in this proposal, who here thinks that a 100% cut in DOE spending is a good or okay idea? And likewise with other specific items?

I personally think disbanding the DOE and expecting the DOD (with no corresponding increase in their budget) or Industry to take up the slack is just plain ignorant. I might have found a bit more merit to an argument that the DOE be disbanded (and NSF slashed to a third) and it's too bad that science and higher education will suffer, but that's a price we must pay, over the argument that fantasizes that Industry and DOD are more than (willing and) capable of filling those shoes.
You have no idea how upsetting it is hearing that kind of analysis coming from you... who seems to often be the voice of reason. No offense, but this time I hope you're really wrong, even if I wouldn't put money against you.
D H
#76
Jan28-11, 09:08 AM
Mentor
P: 15,065
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Such as? Your OP listed Sen. Paul's explicit cuts in federal departments and percentages. Which entitlements to US citizens in particular do you suggest be cut and by what percent, to avoid the discretionary cuts originally labeled as "laughable" and "naive"?
Did you read Paul's rationales? Perhaps "laughable" and "naive" weren't the correct terms. Can I switch that to "mind-numblingly stupid," "blatantly false," and "ignorant" instead?

Suppose that Paul had instead said something along the lines of "I propose a 25% across the board reduction in the non-defense discretionary budget" with a rationale of "we have a $1.5 trillion deficit and every government program will need to be cut." That would have been much, much harder to argue against. Our budget is terribly out of whack; cuts will need to be made everywhere.

However, Paul did not do that. He stuck his foot in his mouth instead.


Quote Quote by nismaratwork View Post
You have no idea how upsetting it is hearing that kind of analysis coming from you... who seems to often be the voice of reason. No offense, but this time I hope you're really wrong, even if I wouldn't put money against you.
I am admittedly putting words in Gokul's mouth here, but I think what he was alluding to was the fact that huge cuts do need to be made everywhere. As I said above, if Paul had used a different rationale, draconian cuts of the sort he is proposing would have been very hard to argue against.

The political reality is that the 12% sliver of the budget that represents non-defense discretionary spending is likely to suffer bigger cuts than defense or mandatory programs. That reducing that 12% sliver to nothing will do little to solve the budget problem is a bit irrelevant. That sliver is an easy target compared to the DoD and the mandatory programs, both of which have some very ardent supporters.
WhoWee
#77
Jan28-11, 09:27 AM
P: 1,123
Quote Quote by D H View Post
I am admittedly putting words in Gokul's mouth here, but I think what he was alluding to was the fact that huge cuts do need to be made everywhere. As I said above, if Paul had used a different rationale, draconian cuts of the sort he is proposing would have been very hard to argue against.
Huge cuts do need to be made everywhere - this is a tactic to force everyone to look for items that can be cut.
nismaratwork
#78
Jan28-11, 10:48 AM
P: 2,284
Quote Quote by D H View Post
Did you read Paul's rationales? Perhaps "laughable" and "naive" weren't the correct terms. Can I switch that to "mind-numblingly stupid," "blatantly false," and "ignorant" instead?

Suppose that Paul had instead said something along the lines of "I propose a 25% across the board reduction in the non-defense discretionary budget" with a rationale of "we have a $1.5 trillion deficit and every government program will need to be cut." That would have been much, much harder to argue against. Our budget is terribly out of whack; cuts will need to be made everywhere.

However, Paul did not do that. He stuck his foot in his mouth instead.



I am admittedly putting words in Gokul's mouth here, but I think what he was alluding to was the fact that huge cuts do need to be made everywhere. As I said above, if Paul had used a different rationale, draconian cuts of the sort he is proposing would have been very hard to argue against.

The political reality is that the 12% sliver of the budget that represents non-defense discretionary spending is likely to suffer bigger cuts than defense or mandatory programs. That reducing that 12% sliver to nothing will do little to solve the budget problem is a bit irrelevant. That sliver is an easy target compared to the DoD and the mandatory programs, both of which have some very ardent supporters.
Yeah, I agree with you, that's why I found it so upsetting! When someone who strikes me as slightly left-leaning socially is calling for cuts across the board... strap in.
mheslep
#79
Jan28-11, 11:35 AM
PF Gold
P: 3,081
Quote Quote by Evo View Post
One of the main problems I cited earlier with Paul's desire to dump everyting onto the states and have no Federal obligations is his statement that forest fire control should be solely a state's problem. California is known for it's forest fires and California is on the brink of bankruptcy.
California is not going broke because of forest fires. California has almost exactly the same GDP as does the nation of Canada with a similar population size and vastly greater land area, yet we do not fear how our neighbors to the North will handle forest fires with out the support of the US Forrest Service.

Isn't one of the benefits of being part of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA is that we pool resources and come to the aid of each other?
In time of national peril or disaster brought on from abroad or by no one's fault, we do, and I expect will continue to do so. California is going broke largely because its public unions and local officials have looted the place, while at the same time placing onerous tax and regulatory burdens on businesses causing them to flee the state. Asking, say, Nevada to pay for such a condition would be foolish, not generous. Bail outs are not the reason for which the union was created.

Paul would have us believe that the belief in a United States should be done away with, that we should break up and each state is now on it's own...
I'm unaware that Sen Paul has suggested the US break up in even the remotest fashion.
mheslep
#80
Jan28-11, 12:09 PM
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P: 3,081
Quote Quote by D H View Post
Did you read Paul's rationales?
Yes.
Perhaps "laughable" and "naive" weren't the correct terms. Can I switch that to "mind-numblingly stupid," "blatantly false," and "ignorant" instead?
As you like; I was hoping for actual argument, not more name calling.

Suppose that Paul had instead said something along the lines of "I propose a 25% across the board reduction in the non-defense discretionary budget" with a rationale of "we have a $1.5 trillion deficit and every government program will need to be cut." That would have been much, much harder to argue against.
Harder to argue against politically maybe, not because it is better logical argument or more effective way to govern. Across the board cuts are simply greater appeals to emotion, relying on the fallacy that all government programs are equally valuable to US citizens.

Our budget is terribly out of whack;
Yes, a truism. Leadership actually needs precise proposals as to what to about it. Having leadership that fails to do so, or calls for $40 billion a year cuts and announces new spending programs in the face of a $1500 billion deficit is the action that deserves the stupid and ignorant derision to my mind, if those phrases must be used.
Mathnomalous
#81
Jan28-11, 12:22 PM
P: 199
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Yes, a truism. Leadership actually needs precise proposals as to what to about it. Having leadership that fails to do so, or calls for $40 billion a year cuts and announces new spending programs in the face of a $1500 billion deficit is the action that deserves the stupid and ignorant derision to my mind.
Just like any budget, get rid of the biggest red numbers first. In the US, DoD should be reduced by 60% while SS, Medicaid, and Medicare should be completely and totally eliminated. For faster recovery, increase taxes on those making >=$500k to 50% and reduce taxes on small and medium companies that do most of their business in the US to 5%. No loopholes.
nismaratwork
#82
Jan28-11, 12:24 PM
P: 2,284
Did you just nail someone for "name calling", then proceed to name calling? What point does that make, except that for two line-break you couldn't abstain from behaviour you so abhor.

Beyond that, I'm not seeing that you made any counterpoints, just loaded criticism and verbiage. You identify failures, but I'm not hearing you argue for solutions... then again, I suppose you're just a kind of volunteer ombudsman?
mheslep
#83
Jan28-11, 12:36 PM
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P: 3,081
Quote Quote by Mathnomalous View Post
Just like any budget, get rid of the biggest red numbers first.
That is not what businesses do with budgets. The first thing cut is that which is not absolutely necessary. They prioritize, for the sake of the business. BTW, Paul included cuts to defense in his budget.
Mathnomalous
#84
Jan28-11, 12:43 PM
P: 199
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
That is not what businesses do with budgets. The first thing cut is that which is not absolutely necessary. They prioritize, for the sake of the business. BTW, Paul included cuts to defense in his budget.
Correct. SS, Medicare, and Medicaid are unnecessary; the DoD can survive with a reduced budget.
WhoWee
#85
Jan28-11, 12:51 PM
P: 1,123
Quote Quote by Mathnomalous View Post
Correct. SS, Medicare, and Medicaid are unnecessary; the DoD can survive with a reduced budget.
The SS, Medicare, and (even) Medicaid programs are not unnecessary. However, the programs have exceeded their original designs and have been bloated by political manipulation.
WhoWee
#86
Jan28-11, 01:25 PM
P: 1,123
Quote Quote by Mathnomalous View Post
That's the opinion of a person who is probably 45+ years of age. All 3 ideas are stupid.

SS: a Ponzi scheme that requires population growth of >=0%, cost of living remains virtually unchanged, and inflation is near 0%.

Medicare: a scam whereby young, healthy people indirectly fund the healthcare of old, ill people.

Medicaid: a scam whereby higher income people fund the healthcare of lower income people, because those lower income people cannot afford healthcare due to the price inflation caused by the subsidization of old people's healthcare.
My age is not as important as my professional experience in this area. Also, please note you responded to this specific post: "However, the programs have exceeded their original designs and have been bloated by political manipulation. "

Aside from snide comments - do you have any support for your post?

Let's start with Social Security - what was it originally designed to do - who were the intended beneficiaries - how is it funded - how was it manipulated - do you know?

Next is Medicare - how is Part A funded - do you know? What is the monthly premium and cost sharing for Part B - do you know?

Last is Medicaid - it is the safety net - costs are shared with each individual state. Medicaid has been manipulated and recently expanded - it's become an unfunded mandate forced upon the states.

Do you know who pays for nursing home care - or what has to happen before Medicaid assumes the cost?
D H
#87
Jan28-11, 01:53 PM
Mentor
P: 15,065
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Quote Quote by D H View Post
Did you read Paul's rationales?
Yes.

I was hoping for actual argument, not more name calling.
Since the bill was rather lacking in details, it's a bit hard to do anything other than name calling. If Paul needs to be taken seriously he needs to identify exactly which projects are to be cut. He didn't do that. That said, here are the cuts he proposed related to organizations I specified in the original post. Paul's rationale are indented and in italic. My comments are in left justified plain text.


NASA: 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. Looking at ways to reduce NASA’s spending is long overdue.
Perhaps Rand is unaware that NASA is funding a lot of this presence by private industry. NASA is already stepping aside and allowing innovation to flourish.
In addition, NASA has consistently been flagged by organizations like Citizens Against Government Waste, which most recently highlighted NASA’s multibillion-dollar Constellation program, a project that has been focused on the exploration of the moon and Mars. Despite spending more than $10 billion on this program, NASA has made very little progress since the program’s inception.

Finally, since President Obama has determined to realign the goals of NASA away from human exploration, and more on science and “global warming” research, the need to fund the agency at levels not consistent with the goals of the past provides the opportunity to direct funds toward deficit reduction.
I'll admit that NASA has made little progress on Constellation. Internal [descriptive term elided] at NASA is one reason. A bigger reason is that it has been underfunded from the onset. An underfunded project is going to flounder.

It's funny that Paul starts with a reference to CAGW, an organization which has been anti-human spaceflight for a very long time, and then in the next paragraph uses the supposed realignment away from human exploration as a justification for cutting NASA.

Another funny thing here: NASA gets off very easy in this proposal, yet Paul devotes more words to justifying cuts to NASA than to any other non-defense science & technology effort undertaken by the federal government.


CDC: 28%
The annual budget for the Centers for Disease Control also keeps increasing annually, in spite of “cost-saving efforts” by the department in the way of travel expenses and contract reductions to the tune of $100 million. It seems no matter how much money is appropriated to this or any government agency, they find a “need” for it. It is time for the CDC to work aggressively to find savings in other areas, particularly focusing on domestic priorities rather than spending billions on overseas initiatives.
Perhaps Paul is unaware that bacteria and virus are the ultimate illegal aliens and have no respect for national boundaries. The idea is that it is better to spend a small amount of money fighting a new disease overseas where it first appears before it can become pandemic.


EPA: 29%
Since 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency has worked to enforce greenhouse gas regulations on business without Congressional approval. We have seen EPA’s budgets significantly increase in administrative costs to process and handle the regulations they write.

Even with the budget increases, EPA process for assessing and controlling toxic chemicals has continued to stay on GAO’s High-Risk List for potential waste, fraud, and abuse. From the High Risk List of 2009, “GAO recently reported that EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) – a database that contains EPA’s scientific position on the potential human health effects of exposure to more than 540 chemicals – is at serious risk of becoming obsolete because the agency has not been able to complete timely, credible assessments or decrease its backlog of 70 ongoing assessments. Overall, EPA has finalized a total of only 9 assessments in the past 3 fiscal years.”

Toxic chemicals are not the only areas EPA is falling behind. Their delay on approving mining and drilling permits has costs thousands of jobs across our country.
The first paragraph does justify reigning in the EPA. The last two paragraphs are reasons the EPA's budget should be increased. Paul would have been better off if he had just left those statements out of his rationale.


USGS: 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.
What "state researchers at our colleges and universities"? They are funded by the USGS. The justification for this cut is an unfunded mandate for what has been a job of the federal budget since the very start of our nation.


NOAA: 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.”
Did Paul look into what this vague statement meant? No. He took that vague statement as justification for a 25% cut in NOAA's budget, plus another 11% for punitive measure.

Interesting trend here: As the cuts get bigger, the justifications get ever shorter, have ever less substance, and are ever more politically motivated.


NIH: 37%
President Obama’s FY2011 budget calls for a $1 billion increase in funding to the National Institutes for Health. Reducing federal grants in this area would realize billions in savings.
What, exactly, is the justification for a 37% cut here? There is none.


NSF: 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.
Whoa! A 62% reduction justified by two short sentences motivated solely by a twisted view of the federal government's role? Please.


DOE: 100%
Created in 1977, the purpose and intent of the Department of Energy was to regulate oil prices. The DoE today reflects an agency that encompasses national security activities such as nuclear weapon production, maintenance, and cleanup which are better suited for the Department of Defense, and other activities that are nothing more than corporate handouts.

In addition, the DoE has provided research grants and subsidies to energy companies for the development of newer, cleaner forms of energy. All forms of energy development are subsidized by the federal government, from oil to nuclear, wind, solar, and bio-fuels, however these subsidies and research are often centered on forms of energy that can survive without subsidies. This drives the cost of energy up for all American taxpayers. 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.
Paul is creating an unfunded mandate within the federal government by moving some of the functionality of the DoE back to DoD with no funding for that in DoD. The second paragraph is purely conjectural. He is going to need a bit more than a tiny paragraph to justify eliminating an entire department of the government.
nismaratwork
#88
Jan28-11, 03:01 PM
P: 2,284
Regarding your last point about needing more than a paragraph, maybe he's trying to aim for SUPER-concise legislation?

Naaah... he's just a dope.
mugaliens
#89
Jan30-11, 07:19 AM
P: 595
So long as it doesn't disappear into the nether regions like the millions of Clinton-Haiti dollars...
nismaratwork
#90
Jan30-11, 10:36 AM
P: 2,284
Quote Quote by mugaliens View Post
So long as it doesn't disappear into the nether regions like the millions of Clinton-Haiti dollars...
There is good news there; that money is still largely protected, and while Duvalier and others flock there... nothing is getting released.

If you mean the money put into Haiti already... what can we do? Ignoring them would be monstrous... personally I think this is where the UN needs to step up. Let the US handle Serbia and the like when fighting needs to be done... the UN can manage aid and be police.

Of course, if we do that, and don't help them ourselves... maybe someone else will? Do we want a Chinese 'Cuba' on our doorstep for this round of international conflict?


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