Trump's budget director pick: “Do we really need government-funded research at all”

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by CaptMurdock, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. CaptMurdock macrumors 6502a

    CaptMurdock

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    #1
    President-elect Donald Trump recently picked Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina to head the White House's Office of Management and Budget.
    The post was written in the midst of a heated debate in Congress about how much more money to allocate to the fight against the Zika virus. It wasn’t clear whether Mulvaney, a budget hawk, was referring to all of the government’s scientific research or just to government-funded research on Zika.

    ... Mulvaney exaggerated the uncertainty around the link between the birth defect microcephaly and Zika to cast doubt on the need for Zika research funding. His argument, in other words, was: Scientists aren’t sure what’s going on with Zika, so why do we need research?
    We don't know the answer, so why bother asking the question? o_O
    :rolleyes:

    Anti-intellectualism has found its home in the Trump Administration.
     
  2. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #2
    Narrow view vs wide view, lack of foresight and I have to assume a lack of intelligence. A lot of it boils down to only allocating money to the things, in this case things considered important to the person asking the short sighted question, who has no clue how Zika could impact our country and apparently is not bright enough to care.
     
  3. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    #3
    Trump on down fits that description. All that matters is money.
     
  4. VulchR, Dec 21, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016

    VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #4
    Funny - given Trump's reliance on the internet, I would have thought his team would be aware of the value of government-funded research.

    FWIW I am a neuroscientist. Governments want private industry to invest in medical research. Private industry wants government to do it. While both retreat from investing in the future, research funding is drying up at an alarming rate. We're haemorrhaging institutes, labs, and people.
     
  5. haxrnick macrumors 6502a

    haxrnick

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    #5
    Not sure if he wants to do away with it completely or cut back on the stupid spending government tends to do. If the latter, can't say I blame him.

     
  6. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Nice deflection. He was talking about this in the context of researching disease.

    How "stupid" is that?
     
  7. CaptMurdock thread starter macrumors 6502a

    CaptMurdock

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    #7
    $283,000? Trump probably spends more than that on toupees.
     
  8. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #8
    how does a $5000 expense make a top ten list?

    The writer also suggests that he may practice animal cruelty as a hobby.
     
  9. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #9
    I don't think that event worked out quite the way it was described.

    Here's the Mar 2015 article the "totally destroyed everything" quote was taken from:


    Here's an update from Feb 2016:

    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news...g-sun-city-llama-drama-1-year-later/80977958/

    The USDA backed down, and the couple is holding off on getting a license. The llamas no longer make public appearances.

    Bullis and Freund have been busy – they took their eight llamas and three new rescued alpacas and moved to Chino Valley in May, expanding from a half-acre property to three. They're loving life in a smaller, rural town, Freund said.​

    The couple are still "farming" llamas, with more animals, on a bigger property, so it's a bit of a stretch to say they were "regulated out of existence".
     
  10. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #10
    With a no nothing President and administration perhaps the bigger question to ask is if we even need them for four years? :D
     
  11. appleisking macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Anti-intellectualism has FOUND? Only just found? Have you been asleep the last 18 months?
     
  12. Jess13 Suspended

    Jess13

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    #12
    I just read a Mediaite piece from today on Rand’s Festivus, dealing with this subject.


    Rand Paul Celebrates Festivus With ‘Airing of Grievances’ Over Federal Waste

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/rand...with-airing-of-grievances-over-federal-waste/

    • $29 million for lost cranes and bulldozers in Afghanistan
    • $2.5 million to study “what makes the perfect first date
    • Half a million to study if selfies make you happier
    • $1.25 million to produce a superhero cartoon in Pakistan
    • $70,000 to study the wage gap in Wikipedia editors
    • $750,000 to study if the federal government paying for studies produces better studies (yes, seriously)

    Rand has railed numerous times on his Twitter about wasteful government studies.
     
  13. CaptMurdock thread starter macrumors 6502a

    CaptMurdock

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    #13
    M'kay. I will admit that some of these studies seem, on the surface, a tad frivolous. By a quick calculation, those you have up there as an example total a little over $34 million.

    Now, how much in corporate subsidies does the U.S. pay every year? Betcha it's a lot more.
     
  14. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #14
    Isn't there a book released every year with dumb research funding lists?
     
  15. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #15
    Hey...that selfie question is important!!! :D
     
  16. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Does it include the Grant Proposals?
     
  17. tunerX Suspended

    tunerX

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    #17
    Betcha Rand is against those subsidies too. You try to defend waste with an example of different, more excessive, waste... Do you really think that since we wasted a crap ton of money on corporate subsidies its just fine to waste less on frivolous studies?
     
  18. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended

    DUCKofD3ATH

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    #18
    "Do we really need government-funded research at all?" Good question--maybe we'd do better by pursuing tort reform. Cut the blood-sucking lawyers out of the loop and then more firms would be willing to invest in R&D.
     
  19. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #19
    You used the word, "frivolous." So it appears you've written these studies off as worthless.

    But what do you base that judgement on? How do you know a study is frivolous?
     
  20. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #20
    Government funded research is absolutely necessary and responsible for supporting many important scientific and medical findings.

    That said, I believe the system is in need of reform. There however a lot of government money, at least in healthcare, that goes to extremely silly research that I think that could be allocated to more pressing issues.

    I might also suggest if government research leads a a company to develop a profitable product, that money should be reimbursed, at least in part.

    Reimbursement does sometimes happen but typically is negligible. Take for instance the chemo drug paclitaxel (trade name Taxol) was developed by the NIH- spending something like $500m. The drug is derived from Yew tree bark. Bristol Meyers Squib was licensed to market the drug, who sold $9 billion worth. The government's licensing deal reimbursed them $35 million. That's 0.38% of the total revanue and gaining only 7% of their initial investment.
     
  21. tunerX Suspended

    tunerX

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    #21
    Is there a constitutional requirement for these studies? Anything outside of essential functions to maintain the union is frivolous within the purview of the federal government.

    If you want shrimp on a treadmill you can pay for it or find someone willing to pay for it.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/08/23/139852035/shrimp-on-a-treadmill-the-politics-of-silly-studies
     
  22. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #22
    You obviously didn't read your own link.

    It says the opposite of what you think it says.

    Try to make it beyond the headline next time.
     
  23. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #23
    The day that bloviators like Rand control science is the day the US loses its competitive edge. Who would have imagined that the PhD research of a couple of guys from California resulted in the search engine for Google? Studies that might seem silly to somebody who has spent 5 minutes learning about the field might just make sense to those who have been studying the field their entire adult lifetime.

    Case in point from my field of neuroscience: Tapping sea slugs with glass rods. Sounds silly, right? It turns out that the sea slugs learn to shrug off the tapping and stop responding to it (habituation). That's an example of learning, and because the 'brain' cells in seas slugs can be individually identified, it was possibly to trace the circuit from the siphon (where the slug was tapped) to the motor muscles of the gill (which is withdrawn after each tap). It was then possible to determine exactly how the nervous system of the slugs learned to ignore the tapping, which led to the molecular study of learning and memory, which in turn lead to understanding about conditions like Alzheimer's disease and also advances in machine learning based on the biology of learning. Oh, and by the way it led to a Nobel prize or two. The point is you just never know what a scientific discovery will lead to.

    Perhaps when Rand does a comprehensive cost/benefit study of the impact of his lawmaking on US society, then we can talk about wasted federal funding.
     
  24. tunerX, Dec 22, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016

    tunerX Suspended

    tunerX

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    #24
    I did read it. The federal government doesn't need to fund studies like this. The study is fine but if you want it you pay for it. Within the purview of the federal government it's a frivolous study.

    From that link are you going to be able to explain to me how that shrimp study is essential for the federal government? It is a good study and it has merit, but it is not essential for the federal government to operate. If it isn't essential it is frivolous. You are the one who asked me how I identify something as frivolous... but you attack the link instead of the explanation.
     
  25. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #25
    How about since the 1952 elections,,,when a big feature of the Texas-oilmen-funded advocacy of Eisenhower was mockery of the ivory tower intellectualism eggheadedness of Adlai Stevenson.

    Leaving aside the fact that a smiling Eisenhower later copped to taking their money and leaving behind their distaste for anything remotely resembling social safety nets, the harping in 1952 on intellectual concerns as effete and removed from "real American interests" was then and still is a spoke in the wheels of effective advocacy of our scientific and technological development.

    Over and over again it has been demonstrated that investment in stuff like manned and unmanned space missions, oceanographic and atmospheric research etc has spun off other discoveries, materials and processes eminently suited to creating or sustaining improvements in our lives and the array of industries that support our continued advancement. Yet we have the know-nothings harping on how science-dependent agencies like NASA and NOAA need fiscal constraints as potentially huge moneywasters, and how returns on investment in "pure research" -- which industry declines to take up since it won't show a profit by next weekend-- just end up as big-government boondoggles.

    Meanwhile we watch as China buys our hog-breeding technology and the land here to grow hogs on, happy to tinker with the breeding formulas over there while here we raise the livestock, slaughter it, send it to China for their burgeoning middle class to consume and try to figure out how to deal with the vast ground and water pollution of those processes. Maybe if we spent more money on pure research, some failed lab experiment that didn't prove one hypothesis might accidentally tell us how to turn hogsh$t into platinum but we'll never know because the House caucus on drowning government suspects "pure research" gives a bunch of guys in white lab coats a free ride in the stock market on taxpayer-funded wages.
     

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