Friday, March 17, 2017

Science and medicine leaders say Trump budget would be dire for U.S.

I suggest reading the whole article.
The private sector is interested in short-term profits. An example is that there is little work by the private sector on developing new antibiotics, even though we know there is an urgent need for them.

I remember when Reagan cut spending on health research. Some years later, a friend got a spinal injury in a car crash, and was allowed to die because it would cost so much to care for him. Within six months, there was the first of several breakthroughs that were able to reduce the damages from such injuries. Over the next couple of years there were several other breakthroughs. I thought if Reagan hadn't made those cuts, the research might have happened in time to save my friend's life.

By Joel Achenbach March 16, 2017

President Trump's budget blueprint calls for massive cuts to federally funded research. The leaders of the scientific and medical establishment woke up to that startling news Thursday morning and quickly fired off statements of protest and alarm. This budget, they collectively warned, threatens America's pre-eminence in science and technology.

“This is not a budget that’s designed to make America first,” Rush Holt, chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, told The Washington Post.


Holt pointed to the administration's proposal to eliminate completely the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which does research on batteries, metals, electrical grids, etc.


Investment in Earth and space science has given us better satellite data for our military, more accurate forecasting that protects the public from natural hazards, and improved our understanding of the effects of a changing climate on agricultural, ecosystems, and human health. Without the critical data and information this research provides, who will farmers turn to when they need help managing their crops? Who will the Pentagon turn to when they need information to support effective troop movements? Who will families turn to when a hurricane or tornado threatens their lives and livelihoods?

Glynda Becker, president of the Science Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for federal funding for public and private universities, issued a statement saying that China, South Korea and India are aggressively investing in research and development and that the Trump budget could imperil U.S. leadership in science:

“Since World War II, America’s commitment to scientific breakthroughs has been a continual driver of U.S. economic growth. The personal computer, the Internet, smartphones are all based on research that had its beginnings in labs and centers funded in part by the federal government. Likewise, the biomedical revolution with its advancement of disease-fighting vaccines and lifesaving drugs and the advance of diagnostic tools such as the MRI would not have occurred without federal support of collaborative research. And, most of the technologies that have made our men and women in uniform the world’s most effective fighting force, all had their start and ongoing improvements in federally funded scientific research.”


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