I thought, after President Obama’s State of the Union address, that at least we could all probably agree that advancing scientific research (and thus, economic growth) was a good thing. But now we see what the House Appropriations Committee has in mind when it comes to cutting $ 35 billion from the budget–and that includes a lot of whacks at scientific research programs that are at the center of the innovation agenda. Reports Portfolio:
Republicans propose cutting $1.1 billion from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences. The plan calls for a $1 billion budget cut at the National Institutes of Health, the federal government’s medical research agency. The Centers for Disease Control would see its funding drop by $755 million. Agricultural research would be cut by $246 million.
The spending plan, which will go to the House floor for a vote next week, also calls for eliminating $1 billion in funding for high-speed rail projects, a program that Obama wants to spend $53 billion on over the next six years. Amtrak would face a $224 million budget cut.
Among the other cuts:
* The Department of Energy’s loan-guarantee program, which supports loans for clean-energy projects, would be reduced by $1.4 billion.
* Spending on other energy efficiency and renewable energy programs would be cut by nearly $900 million.
* The Environmental Protection Agency would have $1.6 billion less to spend, making it harder for the agency to proceed with regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.
Honestly, the last cut is the only one that at least makes some sense from the point of view of a Republican who wants to stimulate the economy. They think GHG regulations will kill growth and jobs. I think they’re wrong–but at least there’s an argument there.
What on earth is the economic argument for cutting any of this other research?