Funding for Science from the 112th Congress

  • News
  • Thread starter D H
  • Start date
  • #1
D H
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Insights Author
15,393
683

Main Question or Discussion Point

This bill by Sen. Rand Paul, http://www.randpaul2010.com/2011/01/senator-paul-introduces-500-billion-in-spending-cuts/ [Broken] (links to the bill itself and a summary are in the linked page), is almost surely DOA, but it does reflect some of the thinking in the new 112th Congress. The outlook for funding for science & technology is a bit grim. Just some of the cuts proposed by Paul:

NASA: 25%
CDC: 28%
EPA: 29%
USGS: 29%
NOAA: 36%
NIH: 37%
NSF: 62%
DOE: 100%

SO NASA gets off easy with a mere 25% cut here.

Rand's rationale for many of these cuts are IMHO incredibly naive and laughable. Laughing is not the right response, though. I'm more than a bit worried that a reduced version of these draconian proposals will become law.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,887
616
It seems those who most fervently believe in American Exceptionalism don't recognize what it takes to become exceptional. Do they look around and think everything that makes America what it is today has all just been a gift from God?

Past generations had a commitment to investing in America - in the form of infrastructure (requires taxes), education (requires taxes), and R&D (requires taxes). If it takes an all-out fight to even fund the basics today, where will be be 25 years from now?
 
  • #3
Mech_Engineer
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,572
171
Rand Paul wants to cut 100% of the Department of Energy budget? As in dissolve the entire department?
 
  • #4
2,425
6
Rand Paul wants to cut 100% of the Department of Energy budget? As in dissolve the entire department?
Well, that's quite a shock. DOE funds quite a bit of fundamental research, some of which cannot be done anywhere else in the world (yet). If PF members look upon these proposals as realistic (do you ?), I guess many physicists should seriously consider relocation. I am already, and these news are useful to make one's mind.
 
  • #5
mheslep
Gold Member
311
728
This bill by Sen. Rand Paul, http://www.randpaul2010.com/2011/01/senator-paul-introduces-500-billion-in-spending-cuts/ [Broken] (links to the bill itself and a summary are in the linked page), is almost surely DOA, but it does reflect some of the thinking in the new 112th Congress. The outlook for funding for science & technology is a bit grim. Just some of the cuts proposed by Paul:

NASA: 25%
CDC: 28%
EPA: 29%
USGS: 29%
NOAA: 36%
NIH: 37%
NSF: 62%
DOE: 100%

SO NASA gets off easy with a mere 25% cut here.

Rand's rationale for many of these cuts are IMHO incredibly naive and laughable. Laughing is not the right response, though. I'm more than a bit worried that a reduced version of these draconian proposals will become law.
Replying to appeals to emotion with more of the same: Continuing with business as usual is naive and, given the immediate examples of other countries (cf. Greece), laughable. Burdening the citizens of the US with increased debt at the rate of $1.5 trillion per year is draconian.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #6
Evo
Mentor
23,134
2,653
People voted for this guy?

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.
:bugeye:

Forest Service: Reduced 20 percent

Similar to sections of the EPA, the Forest Service has been on the Government Accountability Office’s “high-risk” list
for waste, fraud, and abuse. In recent years, Congress has provided the Forest Service with a nearly blank check to
address forest fire issues.
A strong step for reform would be to eliminate the federal forest subsidies and to start
turning many of these (national) forests over to the states or private interests. These states could maintain control over their
forests, using them for timber, conservation, or recreation based upon the needs of the environment.
Anyway, his suggestions are all here, unfortunately no studies, no rationalization, no information, no sense.

http://www.randpaul2010.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Overview-500-billion-cuts-2.pdf [Broken]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #7
mheslep
Gold Member
311
728
It seems those who most fervently believe in American Exceptionalism don't recognize what it takes to become exceptional. Do they look around and think everything that makes America what it is today has all just been a gift from God?
It certainly is not the federal government that makes the US exceptional.
 
  • #8
mheslep
Gold Member
311
728
People voted for this guy?
Yes, 755,061 Kentuckians did, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/18/AR2010101804287.html" [Broken] I just wish my state could rent the guy out as our Senator for a while.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #9
Evo
Mentor
23,134
2,653
Yes, 755,061 Kentuckians did, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/18/AR2010101804287.html" [Broken] I just wish my state could rent the guy out as our Senator for a while.
Kentucky, that would explain a lot. Whatever he gets paid, he needs to be run out of office and we can save the money. Then hopefully someone with a brain might get elected.

This guy isn't just a sandwich short of a picnic, he's missing the entire basket.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #10
cristo
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
8,107
73
Reading through his proposals, his main "idea" seems to be that government shouldn't pay for anything, and that most things should be left up to private companies to deal with. Well, of course, I could cut a budget easily: just declare that most issues are not the government's problem, and be done with it*.

* Actually, I shouldn't jest too much, since that's not too far from my PM's ideas
 
  • #11
mheslep
Gold Member
311
728
Kentucky, that would explain a lot. Whatever he gets paid, he needs to be run out of office and we can save the money. Then hopefully someone with a brain might get elected.

This guy isn't just a sandwich short of a picnic, he's missing the entire basket.
Heh, after last nights speech I was thinking similarly about Obama.
 
  • #12
2,425
6
Heh, after last nights speech I was thinking similarly about Obama.
We are all very enthusiastic about your personal opinions, however maybe you will post those relevant to the discussion only ?
 
  • #13
Evo
Mentor
23,134
2,653
Let's be sure to stick to Rand's proposals and what they would do to the country, to science, and to R&D to solve the serious problems we are faced with.
 
  • #14
2,425
6
The complete shut down of DOE would not only impact this country. Beyond the US, there are tens of thousands (yes, really) of world top scientists devoting most of their time to working with some national lab(s) under the DOE.

The biggest catastrophe in the history of high energy physics in the US was the cancellation of the SSC. In terms of bare money, we are contemplating almost a factor 4 impact just counting DOE. In terms of world impact to high energy physics, the cancellation of the SSC would be dwarfed. To my understanding, independently of my personal involvement, it is almost the worst time to make such a move.
 
  • #15
russ_watters
Mentor
19,546
5,825
Reading through his proposals, his main "idea" seems to be that government shouldn't pay for anything, and that most things should be left up to private companies to deal with. Well, of course, I could cut a budget easily: just declare that most issues are not the government's problem, and be done with it*.

* Actually, I shouldn't jest too much, since that's not too far from my PM's ideas
Nor should you be so dismissive one of the fundamental concepts behind the creation of Western society! His "idea" (you put it in quotes to be dismissive) is a big part of the basis for capitalism and democracy! ....or an idea that even if you dislike must be weighed thoughtfully against the reality of runaway debt. People don't like seeing cuts to things they have a vested interest in, but that's life! We're in debt and our income isn't going to catch up with our spending for a while, so cuts need to be made. The alternative - the current course of action - is to allow our debt to swamp the economy.

Now I'm not saying I agree with everything he proposes (heck, I'm not even clear that I get all of it). But hard choices need to be made and that means everything needs to be on the table. Next-up, the National Endowment for the Arts...
 
  • #16
2,425
6
Sure, if you only count his first year in office (he's been in two now....) against all 8 of his predecessor! :yuck:
I do not agree, but I will stick to the mentor recommendation right before your post. Shall we ?
 
  • #17
Borg
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,874
2,301
This bill by Sen. Rand Paul, http://www.randpaul2010.com/2011/01/senator-paul-introduces-500-billion-in-spending-cuts/ [Broken] (links to the bill itself and a summary are in the linked page), is almost surely DOA, but it does reflect some of the thinking in the new 112th Congress. The outlook for funding for science & technology is a bit grim. Just some of the cuts proposed by Paul:

NASA: 25%
CDC: 28%
EPA: 29%
USGS: 29%
NOAA: 36%
NIH: 37%
NSF: 62%
DOE: 100%

SO NASA gets off easy with a mere 25% cut here.

Rand's rationale for many of these cuts are IMHO incredibly naive and laughable. Laughing is not the right response, though. I'm more than a bit worried that a reduced version of these draconian proposals will become law.
Education: 83%

I lived in KY for 6 years. I'm glad to be free.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #18
mheslep
Gold Member
311
728
The complete shut down of DOE would not only impact this country. Beyond the US, there are tens of thousands (yes, really) of world top scientists devoting most of their time to working with some national lab(s) under the DOE.

The biggest catastrophe in the history of high energy physics in the US was the cancellation of the SSC. In terms of bare money, we are contemplating almost a factor 4 impact just counting DOE. In terms of world impact to high energy physics, the cancellation of the SSC would be dwarfed. To my understanding, independently of my personal involvement, it is almost the worst time to make such a move.
The valid case to make for the citizens that must pay the bills and at risk for having their savings inflated away by money printing and deficit spending is not that government jobs will be lost, but in the scientific value that comes out of these labs, as compared to the Universities, industry R&D (cf. Bell Labs), etc.
 
  • #19
336
14
The valid case to make for the citizens that must pay the bills and at risk for having their savings inflated away by money printing and deficit spending is not that government jobs will be lost, but in the scientific value that comes out of these labs, as compared to the Universities, industry R&D (cf. Bell Labs), etc.
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/content/09_36/b4145036681619.htm

Also, the DOE, NSF, etc fund University research, and part of grants to Universities end up in operating budgets. These cuts would not just effect science research, but would have a huge impact on university education.

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/2822018582/apple-sitting-on-a-cool-59-7-billion-cash [Broken] 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?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #20
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2019 Award
24,284
7,090
Also, dare I say it, maybe the more responsible thing to do would be to raise revenue? Maybe increase taxes?
No problem. The 2009 revenue from income tax was $915B. The deficit for 2011 is expected to be $1.5T. So all you need to do to balance the budget is to increase income taxes by a factor of 2.6. So, if you're in the 25% bracket, that would put you in the 66% bracket.

Still think it's a good idea?
 
  • #21
336
14
No problem. The 2009 revenue from income tax was $915B. The deficit for 2011 is expected to be $1.5T. So all you need to do to balance the budget is to increase income taxes by a factor of 2.6. So, if you're in the 25% bracket, that would put you in the 66% bracket.

Still think it's a good idea?
Thats a pretty naive analysis. First, we SHOULD raise taxes across the board. The iron law of wages suggests that lower and lower-middle class workers will see their salaries rise to offset the costs anyway. However, we should also add higher tax brackets.

The highest bracket right now is something like 375,000, and something like 35%? Why not add a bracket at 50% for 450,000, 60% for 550,000, maybe up to 90% for making over a million. I can find no source close at hand for how much money that would raise, but it may be non-trivial (of course, it may be trivial, if anyone has good numbers, post them!) . A highly progressive taxation system would also act as part of a shock-absorber needed to help damp the boom and bust cycles.

Further, we need to think hard about how we tax unearned income. It doesn't matter what the top brackets are if people can count their salary as capital gains instead. Its a bit crazy that the third richest man in the world was only taxed at 17.7% in 2007 (while his receptionist was taxed around 30%) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/27/AR2007062700097.html
 
Last edited:
  • #22
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2019 Award
24,284
7,090
Of course it's naive. It's a single number. But it shows the magnitude of the problem. It's not that the government is spending 5 or 10% more than it is taking it: it's spending much, much more than it is taking in.

The naive proposal that you don't like has a 92% bracket for those above $375,000, and taxes up to 2/3 of capital gains. Your proposal is even less progressive than mine, and as such would require someone other than "the rich" to pay a larger factor than my 2.6 to make up for it.
 
  • #23
chiro
Science Advisor
4,790
131
Thats a pretty naive analysis. First, we SHOULD raise taxes across the board. The iron law of wages suggests that lower and lower-middle class workers will see their salaries rise to offset the costs anyway. However, we should also add higher tax brackets.

The highest bracket right now is something like 375,000, and something like 35%? Why not add a bracket at 50% for 450,000, 60% for 550,000, maybe up to 90% for making over a million. I can find no source close at hand for how much money that would raise, but it may be non-trivial (of course, it may be trivial, if anyone has good numbers, post them!) . A highly progressive taxation system would also act as part of a shock-absorber needed to help damp the boom and bust cycles.

Further, we need to think hard about how we tax unearned income. It doesn't matter what the top brackets are if people can count their salary as capital gains instead. Its a bit crazy that the third richest man in the world was only taxed at 17.7% in 2007 (while his receptionist was taxed around 30%) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/27/AR2007062700097.html
Do you honestly think the wealthy would put up with that? They would move either their assets or both themselves and their assets somewhere more "encouraging"
 
  • #24
131
0
Code:
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. :uhh:
 
  • #25
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,887
616
Do you honestly think the wealthy would put up with that? They would move either their assets or both themselves and their assets somewhere more "encouraging"
Where else in the world has low taxes, and is safe?
 

Related Threads on Funding for Science from the 112th Congress

  • Last Post
4
Replies
83
Views
7K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
30
Views
4K
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
17
Views
3K
Top