Monday, January 19th, 2009

Science wins big in gov’t stimulus?

That’s Nature‘s take on the topic — and I don’t necessarily doubt it’s accuracy — but I am a hair skeptical.  That is, Nature says NIH will get about $2 billion, but if you read the committee report of the The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009, it comes to $3.5 billion.  $1.5 billion for research, $1.5 billion for facilities and $500k for construction on the NIH campus in Bethesda.

There’s a website that is decidedly partisan, but has the actual bill up, nonetheless…searchable too.

NSF gets an infusion of $2.5 billion, according to the report, which is huge given that NSF has always been something of a small fish. (I wonder if I should apply for a grant for a radio show idea…)


Now, politically, I’m not a “big government” guy, so I’m sure there’s a lot in the bill I won’t love. In fact, I don’t talk politics much because I don’t care for them. I think government should be there for defense, infrastructure (which is where I put research funding) and justice. Everything else is bread and circuses. My problem with social funding is that the social sciences aren’t like physics and engineering. Things like the “War on Poverty” or the public housing projects decades past end up as well-meaning experiments on the poor. I don’t want people starving on the streets, either, but an elaborate, self-sustaining welfare system isn’t really the answer, either.

That said, if  someone can come up with a healthcare system as good as the interstate system, I’m all for it.