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'YouCut' Targets National Science Foundation Budget

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the conjugate-special-interest dept.

Math 760

jamie writes "As some of you may have heard, the incoming Republican majority in Congress has a new initiative called YouCut, which lets ordinary Americans like me propose government programs for termination. So imagine how excited I was to learn that YouCut's first target — yes, its first target — was that notoriously bloated white elephant, the National Science Foundation."

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Cut YouCut (3, Informative)

topham (32406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596622)

The smart move is to cut YouCut, because your Congressman should already be cutting the crap you dislike,

Re:Cut YouCut (5, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596668)

Agreed. That and cut congressional perks too.

Re:Cut YouCut (1, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596762)

Since the blog linked in the summary is down, here is the link to the site itself: http://republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/ [house.gov] I might be missing something but I don't see anything about the National Science Foundation, never mind being the "first target". The first chosen cut was something called "New Non-Reformed Welfare Program"

Re:Cut YouCut (4, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596994)

"The YouCut Citizen Review will look at grants issued by the National Science Foundation and identify those that you consider wasteful"

We are launching an experiment - the first YouCut Citizen Review of a government agency. Together, we will identify wasteful spending that should be cut and begin to hold agencies accountable for how they are spending your money.

First, we will take a look at the National Science Foundation (NSF) - Congress created the NSF in 1950 to promote the progress of science. For this purpose, NSF makes more than 10,000 new grant awards annually, many of these grants fund worthy research in the hard sciences.

From http://republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/Review.htm [house.gov]

Re:Cut YouCut (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596778)

If we start with the TSA I'll support the program, silly as it is.

Re:Cut YouCut (1, Insightful)

Xyrus (755017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596764)

So let me get this straight. The average American, who is not well versed in our own government, who doesn't really understand financial management, who can't locate Iraq on map, and overall isn't educated more than enough to make them a somewhat functioning worker, will be given the privilege to recommend what programs should and should not be cut.

Well, I guess it can't be worse than the asshats we already have in congress.

Re:Cut YouCut (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596816)

So let me get this straight. The average American, who is not well versed in our own government, who doesn't really understand financial management, who can't locate Iraq on map, and overall isn't educated more than enough to make them a somewhat functioning worker...

Gets to be a two-term President. Yes, we've already been over that. Can you just accept it and move on please?

Re:Cut YouCut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596858)

This won't do anything for determining what programs should be gutted on merits, but it does point out programs that are unpopular. Unpopular programs are likely to be either those perceived as inefficient or those that benefit a select few. While simply repealing these would be a bad idea, they should probably at least be looked at more than the average popular program.

Re:Cut YouCut (2)

txmcse (937355) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596934)

Yes, that ill-informed, uneducated grunt... that happens to pay taxes... is allowed a voice on where his money goes.

Re:Cut YouCut (1, Troll)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596856)

How about a poll, and the voters decide if the scumbag politician in question gets his/her head chopped off? I am willing to bet, at a $1.00 per vote, we could balance the budget and get rid of the national debt.

Re:Cut YouCut (1)

cjnichol (1349831) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596880)

How does your congressman know what crap you dislike? Perhaps by setting up a system where everyone has a chance to voice their concerns? A system where everyone has a chance to vote on what to cut?

Re:Cut YouCut (0)

joeboomer628 (869162) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596952)

Why would anyone want the government to decide that scientific exploration in a particular area is a worthy pursuit? There is no justification for tax revenue being spent on science because private enterprise can achieve more faster and cheaper than government sponsored boondoggles. Look how much money they have wasted on programs like ethanol corn subsidies and fusion power. Private energy science is far more efficient and productive. Don't even get me started on electric cars.

Re:Cut YouCut (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596992)

So where is that working private industry fusion reactor?

Obscene (4, Insightful)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596628)

Look, I'm not an American, I'm just looking over the fence and respectfully trying to make sense of what I'm seeing. But that's just obscene.

Re:Obscene (1)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596768)

Since you are on the fence, does that mean you are Canadian?

I am too

Re:Obscene (4, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596770)

The Chinese increased the 2010 science budget by 8%, to $24 billion, according to Science magazine. Meanwhile, Republicans are seriously(?) talking about cutting the entire National Science Foundation.

At least don't cut any more funding for education. How else are we all going to learn Mandarin?

Re:Obscene (-1, Flamebait)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596798)

The Chinese increased the 2010 science budget by 8%, to $24 billion, according to Science magazine.

Yeah, and?

Seriously, when was the last time that a government science fund produced something worth $24,000,000,000? Every major invention I can think of came from a private company doing research for a specific need, not a government program doing research in order to keep scientists eating from the taxpayers' pork trough.

The Chinese just have far more dollars than they know what to do with, and are desperate to find anything useful they can do with them.

Re:Obscene (5, Insightful)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596850)

0123456, you ignorant slut.

The advances of science are not something you can just measure overnight and call profitable. Knowledge spreads around, and benefits everyone. Not to mention the fact that a lot of this grant money creates jobs (lab workers, grad students, aka FUTURE SCIENTISTS) and is spent on equipment made by American manufacturers.

Re:Obscene (4, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596866)

Seriously, when was the last time that a government science fund produced something worth $24,000,000,000? Every major invention I can think of came from a private company doing research for a specific need, not a government program doing research in order to keep scientists eating from the taxpayers' pork trough.

I don't know... maybe this little thing called the "internet", which was developed by DARPA, a government research agency?

Re:Obscene (5, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596878)

Seriously, when was the last time that a government science fund produced something worth $24,000,000,000? Every major invention I can think of came from a private company doing research for a specific need, not a government program doing research in order to keep scientists eating from the taxpayers' pork trough.

How ironic that your ability to communicate that to us is only due to DARPA funding what was the initial Internet. Lasers, most of moden medicine, the Internet, all resulted from government research. Private companies don't want to invest in basic research because the time 'till return is "too long" for them (5-20 years out). In short, you're a fucking moron.

Re:Obscene (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596898)

The entire fields of Plasma Physics, Quantum Physics, and Materials science created the semi conductor industry.

Re:Obscene (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596966)

Wow, you truly are a moron.

Re:Obscene (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34597000)

Seriously, when was the last time that a government science fund produced something worth $24,000,000,000? Every major invention I can think of came from a private company doing research for a specific need, not a government program doing research in order to keep scientists eating from the taxpayers' pork trough.

Governments, just like private corporations, can have specific needs requiring research. Specifically, they can perform research on how to properly scan people at Airports without causing cancer and without missing the ton of nukes that slipped through the tests.

Also, science funds account for more than just magical breakthroughs that produce something new. They also include maintaining the current level of service, such as predicting the 5-day forecast you see on a daily basis. If you want, you can just pull a list of government research organizations and guess what they're trying to do (even if it's verification or quality control of research from private companies.)

Re:Obscene (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596804)

Meanwhile, Republicans are seriously(?) talking about cutting the entire National Science Foundation.
 
I guess this is how rumors spread. A dumb blogger says something about one of the items proposed to cut (not voted in as a chosen cut) is some grant about "collaboration among soccer players". A dumber slashdot article submitter translates this into Republicans are proposing cuts to the NSF. An even dumber slashdot poster translates this into Republicans are proposing to cut the entire National Science Foundations. This is really pathetic.

Re:Obscene (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596860)

To prove your point further: I read recently that Newt Gingrich said he'd like to triple the NSF budget so we can catch up to the Chinese. If I recall it was in an editorial in Science or Nature...

Newt Gingrich? (2)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596986)

I read recently that Newt Gingrich said he'd like to triple the NSF budget

I could never imagine I would ever come to the point of saying this: but Newt Gingrich is one of the few people left in the Republican Party I can respect.

I disagree with a lot -maybe most- of what he's saying, but he does have a brain, and he uses actual arguments, with premises and statements and conclusions and all that stuff. He's fluent in the English language, well read, and rather eloquent.

Now for the rest of his party..

Re:Obscene (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596950)

I guess they figure they'll keep DARPA so they can have their cool neato weapons still (even though the basic science behind them goes bye bye).

Baby Boomers fucking things up yet again. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596864)

It basically boils down to the Baby Boomers fucking up yet again. It's something they've done every decade since the 1960s.

In the 1960s, their naivety resulted in protests and riots, along with the rise of "isms" like feminism.

In the 1970s, they started to make their way into power. Their energy and economic policies were absolutely terrible. Stagflation crippled many Western nations' economies during the 1970s.

By the 1980s, they were reaching higher and higher levels of power in business and government. Their total avarice again stunted real growth of the American economy.

They achieved the ultimate level of power in the 1990s. Thanks to their horrid economic policies, they almost single-handedly enabled the Chinese economy to grow so quickly, while at the same time ruining the American economy using "free trade".

They retained power during the 2000s, fucking up the corporate landscape and the American economy even further. Getting older in age, they started turning to religion, leading to shenanigans like this.

Never has a single generation caused so much trouble.

Re:Obscene (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596892)

It is obscene on multiple levels.

This has no place on a government sponsored site, especially when it poses as some kind of "direct democracy" via American Idol. If Cantor wants to do this fine, but he should do it on his own dime, not mine. The same goes for the other side of the aisle. If I go to a .gov site, I go there for facts and services, not political posturing.

Science ! (5, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596636)

yes, that should be the first thing to cut money from indeed ! because, then, texas education board can claim that jefferson was a godless whore, and instead put the name of an obscure preacher in front of him as a founding father. of course, right after approving school curriculum books that say 'world has been created in 6 days' is a valid theory ...

kudos americans. you have succeeded in giving a second chance to the morons who have awarded the world with a neverending war on terror, a turmoil in middle east, violation of all constitutional and modern civil rights, kidnappings, torture, wall street DEregulation (and corresponding scam), and body scanners and many, many more !

heaven knows what they will do to you (and the world, if they can) with this second chance. maybe the first thing they will mandate will be mandatory cavity searches in airports.

Re:Science ! (3, Funny)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596650)

I'm thinking we may consider moving some of this money over to K-12 grammar education.

haha ahah ahahah (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596676)

you should move more focus from form, to content. that mindset, is causing all the troubles like the one in this article.

Re:haha ahah ahahah (2, Insightful)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596700)

That is a lot easier to do with capitol letters and punctuation in the proper place. Writing like that just makes you look either uneducated or stoned.

Re:haha ahah ahahah (-1, Flamebait)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596852)

I agree that unity100 is an ignorant semi-literate foaming-at-the-mouth liberal troll, but I would just like to point out that if you are going to correct someone's writing you need to learn the difference between capitol letters and capital letters.

troll. (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596940)

all that's written in that 'foaming' post, have come to pass. more, is on the way.

this indifference and self delusion of YOU americans, is what is causing all these issues youre suffering.

you call someone who calls bullshit as it is, a troll on one day, and the day after you complain about various liberties youre losing. despite this repeats every 2 days, you people seem to be incapable of identifying the sequence that is looping in there.

Re:Science ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596672)

Hahahaha... Ha...

Wow you're serious?

A second chance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596704)

We put the other party in charge of everything. They changed nothing.

Re:A second chance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596738)

You gave them 2 years to completely change a multi-trillion dollar enterprise with 400 million users. Yep, that should be plenty of time to fix 8 years that did 20 years of damage. There was actually progress being made at a decent clip. There's not a God damn switch for this stuff that they can just flip. Thank you for fucking us all.

Re:A second chance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596812)

Reread the top post of this thread, and tell me which of those items they've made any progress on whatsoever. Some of the stuff they've even accelerated. The health care bill was Bob Dole's plan from the 1990s, and the problem of nobody being able to afford skyrocketing health insurance has been fixed by mandating that we all buy it. The tax cuts are Bush's, and it's still a time of war and they're still a bad idea.

I don't think there was a single thing broken over the prior eight years that got fixed in the last two. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the fucking ever really stopped -- it's just gotten easier for one party to explain away its lack of ambition to fulfill the demands of its constituency.

Sigh... (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596646)

Cuts hurt. Taxes hurt. Our economy is in shambles and both solutions make no sense. I guess the only stance worth fighting for anymore is legalizing marijuana, at least that way I won't care what happens.

Re:Sigh... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596708)

Or we could tax the rich, close the loopholes on capital gains and outsourcing, enact tariffs against countries with environmental and labor protections weaker than ours, and use the revenue to put the unemployed to work on new infrastructure.

Hah, as if. We'll continue to cut taxes (20 for the rich, 1 for the poor, 20 for the rich, 1 for the poor, etc), then hit the deficit cap and slaughter Social Security and Medicare, and finally end up a destitute 3rd world nation, under god.

Re:Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596938)

Ever hear the old saw of if you want less of something, tax it and if you want more of something subsidize it? So let's tax the rich and subsidize the poor and produce less rich people and more poor people! Does that sound like a winner? It is hard to cut taxes for the poor when they don't pay any income tax. I'll meet you part way though and gladly close the income tax loopholes (write-offs) and rid ourselves of our perverse incentives and artificial barriers - mortgage deduction is a direct subsidy to the mortgage industry as prices increase to absorb this subsidy. Similarly, the estate tax merely causes the rich to spend an unhealthy chunk of their fortunes on estate planning rather than taxes for the most part.

Why not? (2)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596720)

I guess the only stance worth fighting for anymore is legalizing marijuana, at least that way I won't care what happens.

It works for me. Where are the "get the government out of my choices" voices for this?

If nothing else, it would cut part of the prison population and increase the tax base.
All you need to do is make it a multiplier for other crimes. Murder? And high? Looks like you get an additional 5 years.

And how about fixing the tax system a bit? Why does Bill Gates need a tax cut? Why does he need a tax cut MORE than a guy who makes $30K a year? Why does Paris Hilton need to protect more of her inheritance?

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596794)

Hilton's inheritance would most certainly not be "protected" under this bill. Get your head out of your ass.

Good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596656)

Science should go. We don't need to WASTE money on science. We need jobs! What we need is another tech revolution, you know, develop some great technology that pushes the economy forward big time. SpaceX and the privatization of space is one area that could boom the economy and you all want to waste money on science?

Nerds.

Um, we're broke? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596660)

  With our national debt at 100% GDP and our unfunded mandates at 8 times that, we're more than broke. We're spending our grandchildren's tax dollars.

  When it comes down to choosing between "free" healthcare, "free" medicine, and everything else "free" the government owes people, why is it a surprise that what people think here is "honest" and "important" will fall by the wayside.

  Welcome to Idiocracy.

Re:Um, we're broke? (2, Insightful)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596730)

Remember in the 90s when all the pundits said that we were spending the next generations money? It turns out they were right. Those of us who entered the workforce in the last 10 years, or will enter in the next 10, are feeling the effects of the irresponsibility of the last 20 or 30 years. Having those same people who caused this still in power makes no sense, but even in the land of the free the people with the power will fight to keep it. We are witnessing either the beginning of a new era, or the downfall of the US, and it all depends on if we let the same assholes keep leading us down the path to ruin.

Re:Um, we're broke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596800)

Maybe we should be cutting things that make up a significant portion of the budget. Like, say, massive subsidies to the rich in the form of tax cuts, a gigantic, pork-barrel military, (eg: expensive new planes the air force doesn't want via lucrative defense contracts). The entire NSF budget is a tiny drop in an ocean of debt, and one that has far better payoff than most.

No, we need to actually raise taxes to a sane level.

New name ... (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596682)

.... same acronym.

Not Sufficient Funds.

I'd much rather dissolve the NEA (0)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596692)

Since the Federal Government has no business in education... (it's the state's job). And if you think individual states are doing it wrong, well, perhaps we should just stick to basics.... like mathematics and English. The NEA and the other drains on our education system have screwed up schools so much, we can't be certain students are learning a fucking thing. Well, just go to McDonald's and you'll see our kids aren't learning shit.

And instead of buying computers for every little snotnosed curtain climber, let's just focus on getting them able to READ and WRITE... because a computer is not something necessary, even in a high-tech world. Once you have the fundamentals (removing the self-esteem, pluralism, and multi-clutural studies (the "it's Europe and America's fault" classes), learning a computer is a cakewalk.

Re:I'd much rather dissolve the NEA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596726)

you do realize that the NEA is a union, right?

Re:I'd much rather dissolve the NEA (2)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596734)

"And instead of buying computers for every little snotnosed curtain climber, let's just focus on getting them able to READ and WRITE"

Because computers never helped anyone learn either of those skills, let alone any other useful skills that they will use later in life...

Re:I'd much rather dissolve the NEA (1)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596972)

If you can't learn to read and write without a computer, I don't want to hire you.

Re:I'd much rather dissolve the NEA (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34597002)

Well first off you should figure out what NEA means. The NEA is the National Endowment for the Arts.

Everybody take a deep breath!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596694)

OK, all you hyperventilating science lovers, just relax!! No one is going to cut all of NSF's funding!!! All that will be cut are grants that are just idiotic, like the ones cited at the YouCut site!! So, just chill!!!!!!!

Re:Everybody take a deep breath!!! (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596876)

OK, all you hyperventilating science lovers, just relax!! No one is going to cut all of NSF's funding!!! All that will be cut are grants that are just idiotic, like the ones cited at the YouCut site!! So, just chill!!!!!!!

Except that Congress gives $x +/- $y to the NSF who then gives it out to people who submitted grant proposals. Congress itself as a body is not involved in deciding what proposals get the money (although I'm sure select committee members "suggest" projects in their home states). Like you don't get to say your tax money only goes to needy welfare recipients and not to military expenses. The thing about this uproar is that the NSF is just a foundation - it does not science itself. They just hand out grant money. If they are given less tax money then would-be researchers will need to seek money from other grant providers (the NSF is not the only one) or they will have to come up with projects that at least sound like the payoff to society is more immediate / tangible. Less hysterics about cuts to this foundation, please.
 
And while we're on the subject of cuts, please put National Endowment for the Arts and National Public Broadcasting on the chopping block.

Re:Everybody take a deep breath!!! (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596916)

Slight correction, Congress as a body CAN cut funding to an ongoing NSF funded project, which is what this article is about. But they can do this for any federal program.

Re:Everybody take a deep breath!!! (0, Flamebait)

poppycock (231161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596886)

With all due respect, fuck your deep breath. I know that the entire budget of the NSF won;t be cut, even under the most conspiratorial scenarios.

The issue here is one of priorities. Cutting science *first* is like eating your seed corn.

The dumb fuck, anti-intellectual, knuckle-dragging, bible thumping horse's asses leading the GOP aren't qualified to judge a worthy science project, but they sure as hell ought to know that their even dumber followers are even less qualified.

This is not about the budget. This is about creating the perception of being tough by finding some projects that very few non-scientists can understand, and railing against it. Damn the consequences!

I'll bet Sarah Palin will find some research on fruit flies and try to gut that.

Jebus but these fuckers are stoopid!

Investing in the Future won't get you votes today! (5, Insightful)

Cordath (581672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596696)

Private companies typically do not engage in long-term research that isn't likely to lead to directly commercializable results. I know this flies in the face of red-blooded 'merican "all socialism is evil" doctrine, but public sector research, funded by tax-payer money, is needed to build the foundations for tomorrow's industries. Quantum computing, like many other bleeding edge fields, is too immature, too high-risk, and with pay-offs that are far too distant for the private sector.

Research and education are both investments that can yield fantastic returns, but they are long-term investments that require steady commitment rather than periodic outbursts of zeal punctuating long periods of apathy. A minor cut now might help balance the books today, but the lost opportunities down the road will more than negate that. Top researchers don't hang around after you cut the funding they run their labs and pay their students and post-docs with. They won't wait a few years until times are good again. What they will do is go where the money they need to work is, and if they can't find that in the U.S., they'll likely find it in Canada, China, Australia, etc.. The U.S. is far from the only country doing quality research in QC these days.

Unfortunately, some U.S. politicians are of the opinion that they can make political hay by screwing over those "pinko" scientists. They're smart enough to know what they're sacrificing, but votes for them are a worthier cause! The only way to fight this kind of thinking is to call up your local representative/senator/etc. and let them know you're not buying it. The only way to make them stop this kind of thing is to make them think they'll lose votes today, because that's all they care about.

Votes Today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596790)

Many were just elected... votes today don't matter anymore. Any politician will say what it takes to get elected- the truth comes out once they are in office.

Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596806)

Um, at first glance this looks like this is a bunch of Republicans inviting citizens to go through and try to spot dodgy expenditures and grants given out by the NSF.

You know, transparency, holding the government accountable, stuff like that. Basically half of Obama's platform, really.

Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596910)

I think the average person has no idea what useful or good science is. I'm pretty sure that if it isn't directly related to medicine, energy, or climate change (...if they even think it is true...) most people would consider it useless. I do cognitive science/neuroscience research, and all the time people are confused why people pay us to figure out how the brain works without intentions to directly "help people." Hell, even that "soccer efficiency" study or whatever can probably be applied to some other thing our government likes that involves people working in teams, ie the military.

Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596998)

Yes, random lay people who probably have an axe to grind for one reason or another is definitely a better way to review science funding rather than the actual scientists who approve the grants.

I for one welcome our populist overloads.

Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596818)

Private companies typically do not engage in long-term research that isn't likely to lead to directly commercializable results. I know this flies in the face of red-blooded 'merican "all socialism is evil" doctrine, but public sector research, funded by tax-payer money, is needed to build the foundations for tomorrow's industries.

Could you name a few things that 'public sector research' has come up with 'as the foundations of tomorrow's industries' which private companies wouldn't have done themselves for far less?

Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (4, Informative)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596896)

Rocket technology
Early computers
Internet
Countless advances made by publicly funded scientists


Of course you could argue that EVENTUALLY, all these would have been done by private interests. I don't believe that is true, but even if it is... the question is becomes how long would it have taken and how closely would it be controlled?

Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596936)

Yes, I could. You could too, with a few basic google searches. Give it a try and answer your own post. Of course you won't because your question was for the sake of argument, not because you want to learn something new.

Here, I will even help you, so you don't think I am just trying to be your typical AC asshat.

Google search for basic science research profit [google.com]

Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (2)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596962)

Understanding global warming, basic nuclear physics, basic quantum mechanics and the number theory underlying public key encryption come to mind. There is no profit in laying the groundwork for things like that. Such things aren't a specific thing you do and then market what came out of it. It's a rising tide of understanding that enable you to even think the thoughts involved in making products based on it.

Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (1)

Kevinv (21462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596974)

if public sector research developed something, how can you prove that private companies WOULD have done it for less? Unless they both happen to develop simultaneously, without knowledge of the other (so no cross contamination of work) you can't prove it. You also can't prove that if the private sector developed something that the public sector would have for far less (or more).

Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596996)

And you know this how? Historically, scientific and technological progress has happened because it has produced near future benefits and advantages for those who engage in it. Even for the basic sciences. Claiming that the private sector isn't interested in research ignores that the money supplied from public funding is far greater and less accountable. You basically have a bunch of researchers with the business model "spend public fundings and look busy".

I see no reason to expect we'll get "quality research" merely because big checks are written. The remaining non-monetary incentives to conduct research are similarly being undermined. For example, peer evaluation runs into a game theory problem. If everyone gives out lazy evaluations, then their own research has a lower bar to meet. And anyone who doesn't play ball (say has a reputation for hard work or excellence can be undermined). I don't think it's prevalent today, but I don't see mechanisms in place to keep publicly funded research from sliding into complete mediocrity over the next few decades. The current generation being educated faces significant incentives to cheat, even at the graduate education level. I think a poor ethical upbringing will result in poor scientific output.

Ultimately, the only research that consistently produces quality results is stuff that someone discerning pays money for. Sure, the National Science Foundation is still to a degree such an organization. But the private world is chock full of people who pay for scientific results and get them. Further, there's still profitable private research. That has strong positive feedback for scientific quality.

Better Idea (5, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596710)

Cut "defense" spending, airport security, congress critter perks, and tax breaks for those who least need them. That should bring our deficit to negative. The republicrats can thank me later.

How about these... (3, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596716)

Cut the NSA, CIA, FBI, ATF, DEA, and all that anti-democratic shit.

Re:How about these... (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596786)

anti-democratic shit

I'm not sure you understand the concept of democracy. Most Americans are for the war on (some) drugs. Most are against smoking. Most were for prohibition. Most are against (some) guns. Most are for the giant espionage apparatus that "keeps them safe".

Most people are complete fucking retards. Democracy is the notion that we should pretend to care what they think. None of those agencies are anti-democracy. They're anti-freedom.

Where is the budget for the Congress itself ? (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596724)

Can some enterprising person divide up the budget of the House of Congress itself onto a YouCut type site.
I am sure some people would like less brass in the new bathrooms.
Or perhaps cuts to "fact finding" missions.
Maybe we could do with fewer congress critters. Save lots of $ there.

-- Or perhaps the salaries could be cut --
In 2006, congresspersons received a yearly salary of $165,200.[173] Congressional leaders were paid $183,500 per year. The Speaker of the House of Representatives earns $212,100 annually. The salary of the President pro tempore for 2006 was $183,500, equal to that of the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate.[174] Privileges include having an office and paid staff.[122] In 2008, non-officer members of Congress earned $169,300 annually

Re:Where is the budget for the Congress itself ? (2)

StopKoolaidPoliticsT (1010439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596912)

2010 estimates (in billions of dollars) from OMB's hist03z1 spreadsheet:

National Defense: 719

Human Resources: 2504
Education, training, employment and social services: 143
Health: 372
Medicare: 457
Income Security: 686
Social Security: 721
Veterans Benefits: 125

Physical Resources: 176
Energy: 19
Natural Resources: 47
Commerce and Housing credit: -25
Transportation: 106
Community and Regional Development: 28

Net interest: 188

Other functions: 214
International Affairs: 51
General Science, space and technology: 33
Agriculture: 27
Administration of justice: 55
General government: 29
Allowances: 19

So, figure Congress and the general operation of government costs about $84 billion. I agree we should cut Congress' expenses and their perks, but that would barely be the tip of the iceberg. I favor a 10% cut across the board from every outlay in each of the next 3 years. The problem is, for every one of those lines above, there are hundreds of lobbyists doing everything they can to access your wallet and thousands or millions of Americans that demand that you fund their idea. And don't let this year's interest line fool you, in just a couple years, interest on our debt will exceed the military budget (2015's estimate puts it at 685 military vs 571 interest).

Raising taxes isn't going to solve the problem, we have to cut spending... and yeah, that means someone's sacred cow is going to be gored, so I say we gut them all equally. Just look at slashdot, we already have the "gut the military but spare NSF funding" posts going on... everyone favors cutting the stuff they don't like while keeping or increasing funding for the things they do. Lets cut everything... we simply can't afford to continue spending the way we have for the last century.

A straw man if there ever was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596732)

There are two specific projects being put on the table to be cut, and their scientific merit is questionable. So far, no "hard sciences" like quantum computing are proposed for cuts. However, that's not good enough for the author, he wants everything to retain funding. To make his point, he wants to sabotage the whole thing by asking readers to ensure that hard sciences like quantum computing do get put on the list of cuts. In effect creating a straw man to attack.

Ironically, it's precisely this mentality of entitlement that needs to be stopped. He doesn't care how minor the science is, he believes everything that the NSF calls "science" should receive funding. Right, and every other agency believes that every self-important thing they do should also receive funding. So everything, basically, gets funding, something that it might be true to say that Democrats were more in support of, regardless of the public's ability to pay for it. And ultimately, that's how the Republicans won the last round of elections in the first place. This is what's called a reality check.

Re:A straw man if there ever was (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596792)

Your (the USA) country is already on of the "dumbest" in the world. Cutting a few dollars from the education or science system isn't likely to make you much dumber, so why not?

Re:A straw man if there ever was (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596824)

Cutting a few dollars from the education or science system isn't likely to make you much dumber, so why not?

Since educational standards have dropped while education spending has risen in real terms, you could make a strong argument that the best way to improve educational standards is to slash education spending.

Drowning in the bathtub. (5, Interesting)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596744)

This is exactly the kind of framing that brings joy to those with a grudge against effective government - playing entirely in their end zone, scoring point after point when they're supposed to have the ball.

Corporations have proven that, given the option, they will simply not do basic research. Now, we're using recent tax breaks (plus extra double tax cuts for the rich) causing further massive deficits to argue that huge swaths of basic research be eliminated, because they're too luxurious for us to afford (compared to the utter non-luxury of war-time double-tax-cuts for the mega-rich).

Basic science is really our only path towards actually knowing how to solve a lot of deep, inherent, and growing problems in our world. Problems that will only get worse as more resources are pulled into the hands of the few who will never let that money out of their small investment circles and estate holdings by choice.

The rich (frequently) aren't villains - they're just those that are good at gathering resources, the natural end result of selecting for people who can best acquire resources from others. The dynamic of a glut of rich getting more controlling over more resources is an ancient dynamic - the very word Crass is an example of this - take a little time to read up on Marcus Licinius Crassus [wikipedia.org] adventures in emergency real estate acquisitions if you want a little insight into to today's real estate capitalism. Of course, he did die getting gold poured down his throat after his overreach - but he also created an empire too.

Sacrifice research on the alter of making room for tax breaks, however, and you're selling the very soul of your nation's future. You're creating an empire at the cost of drowning your future in your acquired gold.

Ryan Fenton

I Call Shenanigans (3, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596750)

If you go to the site, they're not saying we should cut ALL of the NSF funding. They're asking people to suggest specific grants that are not good uses of tax dollars. The OP is essentially saying that there can't possibly be waste anywhere in the NSF budget at that anyone who would even suggest such a thing must necessarily be anti-science.

FAIL (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596754)

There is no "incoming Republican majority in Congress" because Republicans will only have a majority in the House. Congress = House + Senate.

Re:FAIL (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596830)

Why let math stand in the way when there is partisan bickering to be had?

Re:FAIL (2)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596968)

Multiple FAIL: It is not Republicans who put up this site but a Republican, Rep. Cantor. "YouCut Targets National Science Foundation Budget" is unnecessarily inflammatory and factually incorrect: one or two of the science grants with titles like "collaboration among soccer players" and "sound of breaking objects" were given as examples of unnecessary gov. spending. No cuts to NSF budget were proposed or voted in by anybody. It is ridiculous that something like this is posted on the front page. I long noticed the leftist bias among slashdot editors but at this point they seem to be turning this site into "another dailykos for the nerds, stuff that matters to liberals only"

Re:FAIL (1)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596982)

Unfortunately, the mathematics researcher who previously checked these ideas for mathematical sanity was cut.

Cut the IRS and go to flat tax! (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596760)

Cut the IRS and go to flat tax!

Re:Cut the IRS and go to flat tax! (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596820)

Flat taxes are inherently regressive. Go national sales tax or VAT, that way people are taxed on sonsumption, not earning, and frugality can be rewarded.

Simple Solution to this Budget Problem (5, Insightful)

TheRedDuke (1734262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596780)

Yes, it's been said on /. a million times before: end the freakin' wars. Stop the runaway military spending. It's that simple. NSF's annual budget = $7.4 billion (source: NSF). That's about a week in a half in Iraq, if memory serves.

double the NSF budget (1)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596872)

If we stopped the wars, and doubled the NSF budget, we'd be so much better off in a couple years.

Re:Simple Solution to this Budget Problem (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596890)

I get the stance on Iraq, but we're leaving Iraq soon anyhow. What I don't get is the stance on Afghanistan. We can now allow the same people to regain power in the region, its just cant happen. If we ignore terrorism it isn't going to go away, and most of the alternative solutions are quite frankly moronic.

Re:Simple Solution to this Budget Problem (2)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596904)

According to a Nobel-winning economist [reuters.com] , as of early 2008 the (then) almost five year war had a direct cost of $845 billion (true costs estimated at $3 trillion).

$845 billion / 5 years = $169 billion a year

With 365 days in a year, that puts the daily average cost at $463 million dollars. That's the NSF's annual budget every 16 days. Now, if only we had waited two weeks to invade...

Use it against them. (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596814)

Corn Subsidies.

They are ridiculously wasteful and artificially prop up the price of ethanol when we should be producing them with grasses and weeds instead of corn stalks.

Or how about the TSA?

If progressives use this weapon aganst them, they can be forced to put their money where their mouth is.

Re:Use it against them. (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596956)

How about we eliminate all farm subsidies in general? Did you know we *pay* Brazil tens of millions of dollars a year to allow us to subsidize our cotton farmers? God. damn. ridiculous.

On the other hand, I think the DoD could use some good ol' fashioned cost cutting, while eliminating the wage cap on social security contributions.

/You say "progressive" like it's a bad thing
//Republican: A polite term for someone raping America while wearing a smile and telling us its for our own good

Tea Party Dullards (2)

Yergle143 (848772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596822)

This is wrong on so many levels. First off the NSF budget is just pitiful, 6.85 billion in 2009. The physical sciences are flat out starving. Come on, this is the groundwork of our entire technical civilization...how many trillion is that worth a year? And most importantly the examples that he gives...soccer grant, and grant for video game sound. Well all right. The video game industry (which is entirely predicated on math math math more math -- insert joke [head shots]) is like 50+ billion. I think that research may well pay off. The NIH budget is 29.5 billion. I am in the biosciences and if you cut that in half and it would make no difference to the health of this country. Cancer...the same...Alzheimers...Schizophrenia...no progress... My point is that of all the Government research agencies, the NSF is in the most need of some love. This is just shameful.

Re:Tea Party Dullards (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596978)

And there is 0 waste in 6.85 billion dollars, or 6,850,000,000 dollars huh. I support the NSF and it's goals, but you can't say that there isn't a good 10 to 15 percent of overfunded crap in there, that should get if not removed from their funding moved to stuff that would be a better end goal.

Did anybody watch the video? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596844)

How does the blogger conclude what he does from this short video?

Read/Watch the Actual Republican Message (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596868)

First, we will take a look at the National Science Foundation (NSF) - Congress created the NSF in 1950 to promote the progress of science. For this purpose, NSF makes more than 10,000 new grant awards annually, many of these grants fund worthy research in the hard sciences. Recently, however NSF has funded some more questionable projects - $750,000 to develop computer models to analyze the on-field contributions of soccer players and $1.2 million to model the sound of objects breaking for use by the video game industry. Help us identify grants that are wasteful or that you don't think are a good use of taxpayer dollars.

http://republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/Review.htm [house.gov]

better ideas than cutting science funding (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596902)

*cut the military budget, it's the single largest section of the federal government weighing in at 800 billion a year.
*kill the NEA, we're locking away people for harming themselves... at a cost of nearly 200 billion a year and we aren't getting any tax money from sales tax on legalized drugs. Also gangs are like under alcohol prohibition funded by illegal activities like drug dealing.
*farm subsidies because we Americans so don't need more HFCS.
*clean up the entitlement programs, maybe even relegate them to the states.

Re:better ideas than cutting science funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596944)

DEA not NEA oops

NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34596920)

If you can find a defense for NASA in Article 1, Section 8 let me know, I sure can't - http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec8.html [usconstitution.net]

Make The Cuts Broad & Deep (2, Insightful)

mojo-raisin (223411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596948)

I've worked 10 years in biomedical research both in academia (where I got my paycheck from the NIH), and in industry (pharma & diagnostics).

I am ABSOLUTELY in making very deep cuts in the National Institutes of Health budget. It should be cut in half over the next 10 years.

I have witnessed the efficiency and progress in industry, and it make some of the top academic researchers look like true money and time wasters. The amount of truly useful work to come out of academia does not justify stealing from taxpayers.

It is the moral position to support cuts to the NIH, military, NSF, Dept of Ed, etc.

perspective (1)

jkmartin (816458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596976)

Annual defense budget: $700,000,000,000
Average annual taxes per American adult to defense: $3,050

NSF budget: $7,000,000,000
Average annual taxes per American adult to NSF: $30
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