Guess what? The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies approved legislation last Wednesday that cuts into the budgets of the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and various other science-related grant programs. I realize that the deficit is an issue, but we have an underemployment crisis when it comes to doctorate-holders in this country. Considering that a large proportion of these highly educated workers do work that is traditionally funded by the government, this is us shooting ourselves in the foot.
Politicians like to use construction workers as a good example of a workforce sector that can be directly stimulated by government spending – let me remind everyone that academic research is another one of those areas where the private sector is much less likely to pick up the slack. Let’s not just think about pulling out the shovels, let’s pull out the test tubes and spectroscopy charts as well.
We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane – Kurt Vonnegut