Being a scientist, I hear an endless stream of nonsense about how anti-science the Republicans are and how much they slash and burn science funding to pay for their wars and corporate interests. It’s bullshit, of course. One of the principle opponents of the space program was Walter Mondale — a democrat. The superconducting super-collider was killed by Bill Clinton — a Democrat. And it is mainly liberals and progressives, notably Gregg Easterbrook, who demand that all of NASA’s work be practical. I told everyone that science funding would be hurt with the Dems in power.
I hate being right all the time.
In short, this omnibus spending bill is at best disappointing, and at worst a total disaster, for science funding in the US. Overall, the research agencies all received a meager increase in their budgets (roughly 1% for NIH, 2% for NSF, 3% for NASA, and 2% for the DOE). That’s disappointing because these increases don’t keep up with inflation, are far, far short of the Administration’s request and the American Competitiveness Initiative, and won’t support all the scientific projects in the pipeline.
Oh, it gets better. The Democrats are ending our participation in ITER, the foremost nuclear fusion project. Nuclear fusion, which has just passed breakeven, has the potential to replace all of our fossil fuels and nuclear fission plants with clean safe nuclear energy. But the “we love the environment and hate global warming” Democrats aren’t interested.
Of course, everyone is blaming Bush for this (and specifically, the war funding). But the Dems came in under the President’s request. This was one of the few areas were they controlled spending.
Yes, I have a personal stake in this (for now, at least). At some point, I’ll put up my post on that subject. But you just have to savor the irony. The anti-intellectual Bush is more interested in funding science than the super-enlightened Democrats.