Monday, March 24, 2008

Reductions in R&D spending

The National Science Foundation has published Science and Engineering Indicators 2008. The data shows that the Bush administration has halted the long term trend of increased funding of U.S. government funding of science and technology.

Given the estimates of one to three trillion dollars spent on the wars in Iraq and Iran, and the weakening economy, reductions in government spending in other areas are to be expected. Of course, cutting back on science and technology spending will in the long run result in our nation being weaker than it otherwise would be, but that weakness is inherent in the waste of war.

However, it seems to me that we need a national debate on where to cut spending and where we must find the resources to continue investing in the future for our children and grandchildren. American families are now facing the reality that they may be better off not investing in mcmansions and SUVs, but that they need to save for their kid's college educations. Perhaps our legislators need to learn a similar lesson, and make the hard choices between feel good earmarks, tax policies motivated by short-term political interests, and long-long term investments needed to contribute to the long-term health of our economy.

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