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S&T and the Stimulus Package(s)

There may actually be a silver lining in all of this bailout and stimulus package spending that could be beneficial in the long run after all. Even though some of this could be lost during the Conference Committee meetings to reconcile the differences between the House and the Senate versions, more than $17 billion is designated for scientific research (biomedical research is among the beneficiaries while physical sciences are de-emphasized).

A breakdown of how the funding is allocated has been provided by the lobbying group, Scientists & Engineers for America Action Fund. A good deal of the funding is for infrastructure improvements and programs. The actual breakdown of the proposed spending is found here.

Someone asked me whether I thought that "science should be funded only if it makes money." My answer was simple: "The lack of funding for basic science and research is one of the critical issues for the United States going forward. The exploration of new things and the unknown is essential to the growth of what we know. Without it, we might as well be monkeys." Basic science is not intended to make money. It is what follows the basic research that leads to solutions.

One of the things that is quite clear as the War on Terrorism moves into the next phase is that one of our advantages is our capacity to innovate and invent. This was brought our by Dr. Ruth David, former Deputy Director for Science and Technology at the Central Intelligence Agency and now President and CEO -- ANSER (Analytic Services Inc.) in her paper for the Journal of Homeland Security, "Homeland Security Technologies: Creating an Asymmetric Advantage".

2 Comments

I totally agree. The best thing for our country in the long run is to invest in education and scientific research. The future will be dominated by the smartest people.

The importance of Science & Technology (as well as related education) to our National Security, cannot be understated, Jake. There should also be concern when you see the heavy equipment manufacturing and auto industry jobs shriveling up.

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