NYTimes Claim: The Trump Administration’s War on Science

I fixed the headline (and more) for the New York Times.

Below is today’s attack on President Trump’s proposed cuts to the government ‘science’ budget. My comments in blocked-off italics.

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The Trump Administration’s War on Science
By The Editorial Board, March 27, 2017

“Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people,” President Trump said in his speech to Congress last month, after summoning a list of technological triumphs from America’s past. “Cures to illnesses that have always plagued us,” and “American footprints on distant worlds.”

Important: Technology is not science. Not even close.

Against those lofty promises, his first budget blueprint is a cramped document that sacrifices American innovation to small-bore politics, shortchanging basic scientific research across the government — from NASA to the Department of Energy to the National Institutes of Health — in ways that can only stifle invention and undercut the nation’s competitiveness. Meanwhile, more than 40 top government science positions, including that of presidential science adviser, remain vacant.

Also important: Bureaucrats are not scientists. Not even close.

Some research cuts, particularly to the N.I.H., aren’t likely to make it past Congress. But they show Mr. Trump’s lack of understanding of science’s role in national and domestic security, in protecting air and water and other resources and in preventing disease and lowering the cost of health care, which consumes one-quarter of the $3.7 trillion federal budget.

NIH spends billions, but accomplishes little in terms of science. Don’t believe me? Check out NIH’s own history of “advances.” Please count the actual advances in science or medicine. The war on cancer, in particular, has been a dismal failure.

Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist and biomedical research investor who is one of Mr. Trump’s few supporters in Silicon Valley, is an outspoken advocate for government-fostered science. A week before the election, he said: “Voters are tired of hearing conservative politicians say that government never works. They know the government wasn’t always this broken. The Manhattan Project, the Interstate Highway System, and the Apollo program — whatever you think of these ventures, you cannot doubt the competence of the government that got them done. But we have fallen very far from that standard, and we cannot let free market ideology serve as an excuse for decline.”

Kudos to Peter Thiel for his good fortune with Paypal (right time, right place). I’m glad he’s a Trump supporter. But he likely knows little of science — except that it sure is great when billionaire venture capitalists can profit-surf taxpayer funded research and development.

Also, please note that the Manhattan Project and Apollo program were well-defined and limited engineering projects — vs. an open-ended quest for knowledge. The science was already well-known by the time the engineering began.

What the Interstate Highway System has to do with science is anyone’s guess.

That, however, is exactly what Mr. Trump’s budget does. In service to small-government ideology, it proposes to whack 18 percent from the N.I.H.’s budget, and even more from the Department of Energy and the E.P.A.’s science programs. A $250 million annual grant program administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “supporting coastal and marine management, research and education” would be killed, including programs that provide important resources to help coastal states prepare for the coming effects of climate change (no surprise there, since Mr. Trump doesn’t believe in climate change). The earth sciences division at NASA comes in for a 6 percent cut; other reductions take aim at the United States Geological Survey and the National Science Foundation, a big player in scientific research.

Please cite a recent accomplishment (one worth the expenditure) from any of these agencies.

The cuts in human health programs have drawn the heaviest criticism. Mary Woolley, president of Research!America, nonprofit advocates for medical research, says Mr. Trump’s budget “doesn’t reflect the priorities of a nation committed to protecting and improving the health and well-being of its citizens.” The N.I.H.’s 27 institutes underwrite the bulk of the nation’s medical research; after hefty budget increases in the early 2000s, championed by Senator Arlen Specter, who was a Pennsylvania Republican, the economic downturn and internal turmoil have led to cuts that erased most of those gains.

Research!America is a Washington, DC swamp organization agitating for cash to feed greedy and useless taxpayer-dependent researchers.

Mr. Trump’s budget greatly worries medical researchers like Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of the psychiatry department at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Nearly 60 percent of Dr. Lieberman’s $240 million departmental budget is sponsored research, most of it underwritten by the N.I.H. “Each year we eat what we kill — there is no guaranteed recurrent revenue,” he said. “And this is true for all academic medicine.”

Dr. Lieberman, please identify a scientific accomplishment from your department worth the taxpayer expenditure.

In its budget heyday, the N.I.H. approved about 30 percent of eligible grant applications. Since 2008, that number has fallen to 10 to 15 percent. “One would have hoped that biomedical research was spared from the political arena,” Mr. Lieberman said. Not under Mr. Trump.

The government science swamp just wants the money without any obligation to produce anything worthwhile.

13 thoughts on “NYTimes Claim: The Trump Administration’s War on Science”

  1. NIH funded researchers produce papers where claims are made. Where these claims are carefully examine, over half of the claims fail to replicate, or if there is an effect it is much smaller than claimed in the paper. One can argue that the purpose of the papers is not to make valid claims but to get further grants.

  2. “The Manhattan Project, the Interstate Highway System, and the Apollo program —”

    Well those were engineering ventures which absolutely must depend on data. Accurate data. But government frequently does not honor the data, especially when liberals are in positions of power. They want to massage, outright falsify or ignore the data because it often contradicts their agenda. They are policy whores who will not tolerate ANY push back.

  3. Many of these agencies will receive minimal cuts – for example, NASA’ s earth science division is being cut 6%. But they scream that everything they do will now have to stop. What are they doing with the other 94%?

    Also, the way these agencies measure cuts is the old democratic party fear-mongering way. Ask for a huge increase and then get a small increase. Scream to the MSM that you were cut (even though your budget actually went up) and the MSM will endlessly repeat the lie. Hopefully, President Trump’s cuts are actually real-life cuts.

  4. Bureaucrat ‘scientists’ motto’
    ‘We spend 8 hours a day in this [Taxpayer-funded] institution…..surely you don’t expect us to ACHIEVE anything…….?

  5. “Don’t believe me? Check out NIH’s own history of “advances.” Please count the actual advances in science or medicine. ”

    Yes, its amazing what they included in there. Someone celebrated a birthday. Some stepped down as chair of an institute.

    But then I spent most of my life being told that medicine was science. It took so long see through that. Only when i reached a certain level and then looked at a medical journal did i realise.

    “Mr. Trump’s budget greatly worries medical researchers like Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of the psychiatry department at Columbia University College”

    Psychiatry is definitely not a science. They have never cured a single patient as far as i know. They are the equivalent of homeopathy.

  6. Why not tweet, send your info on the #ClimateHoax, to Trump, family, White House,etc? Or DVD’s or other material. To Pruitt, and suggest that he buys copies, for all, in the EPA. For all deceived about, and/or agenda driven bureaucrats?In other Dept’s. To the House and Senate, also. Then to schools and U’s, a Dvd, and maybe get them to buy many more. Betsy Devoss. Ed will be changed, within the next year or two. You could sell them to all schools. Thanks for your work, exposing #ClimateFraud, and their true, devious agenda. Controlling every area of people’s lives.Bankrupting part, by the previous US Gov, destroyers. Who, Creator Lord and Savior Jesus, has, is and continues to expose. He will have His Trump. etc; have huge tribunals for. Globalists, Traitors, destroyers, etc. #ClimateHoaxters, are also about World Gov and enslaving people. Lord put a delay on that. The Lord is going to bless greatly, and transform His USA. For 10-12 years, anyway. More than MAGA,every area.God bless you, and yours! http://www.sordrescue.com/prophetic-words.html

  7. BTW, does anyone other than, maybe 1%, even read the NYT anymore? Why are there comments about their irrelevant dribble?
    I say, ignore ideologue ignoramuses.

  8. The entire mainstream news media has become a mouth for socialist gibberish, anarchy, political correctness, and fake/lying news. Science has been destroyed by “journalism”. You can only publish – yes, in a scientific journal and the newspaper – that which is sensational or proves the editor’s view of the topic. The null result is ignored! The politically incorrect result is chastised! The TRUTH has become irrelevant. These are sad times for the TRUTH!

  9. as John B pointed out. The agencies ask for 10% increases. You say, “No, only 6%” and they then run to the press “OMG…ANTI-SCIENCE!!!! He’s cutting our budget!” They budget like Congress does on the 10 year plan. OMG, our projected budget for 2025 is lower…shout the doom and gloom from the village square!

  10. NYT is not a credible source of information. They have become the modern counterpart of Stryker’s “Der Sturmer”.

  11. Taking the trouble to share this one on my Facebook page so my college-age grandchildren can explain to me just how ignorant their professors think I am.

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