Yesterday the Trump led Republican administration released its “Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” which, in the words of Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was crafted in part by looking at Trump’s speeches and media interviews. Mulvaney said “You’ll see reductions exactly where you would expect it from a president who just ran on an ‘America First’ campaign. If he said it on the campaign, it’s in the budget.”
Apparently science and medical research are not necessary in Trump’s vision of a great America.
Below is a graph from the Journal Science which shows in detail the cuts in federal funding that have been proposed by the Republican administration of Donald Trump.
Critically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in line for a 30% reduction in funding. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), largely responsible for medical and biomedical research, would have to sustain a 5.8 billion dollar cut which would set its budget back to the lowest level in 15 years. This proposed budget slash is devastating to the agency, as a majority of its budget supports ongoing research grants. This cut would leave essentially no money to fund new grants—which means no research in 2018. Kathy Hudson, a former NIH deputy director who left the agency in December was quoted as saying “The nation would lose research and researchers in a way that would not be recoverable,” Hudson says. “It is pretty terrifying.”
Federal Agencies tasked with environmental research and climate change science such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the EPA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) would also see deep cuts in their funding which will cripple their ability to carry out their mission. This should come as no surprise however, as many of Trump’s cabinet picks and advisers are climate change deniers. As I’ve written before in this space, Trump’s EPA head, Scott Pruitt, is the chief denier of climate change science, right after Trump himself who has famously tweeted, among other statements of denial, that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Science and medical research are essential for the functioning of our society and for the health and well-being of all. Every major medical breakthrough, from antibiotics to insulin to life-saving medical devices to medications to cure childhood cancer arose out of the efforts of scientists. Scientists cannot do their work without funding, much of which comes from government sources. Funding from sources without a financial interest in the outcome—government funding—is essential for the pursuit of pure science and the discoveries that come from such research.
The discoveries that come from science touch each of us, every day, in a multitude of ways that we do not even think about. Drive a car, talk on a phone, take a medication, wrap food with plastic wrap—-almost every action we take is impacted by scientific research. Our economy and our jobs depend on science. Don’t let the current rejection of science cripple the United States. If we allow the science denial philosophy to grow, research in America will be stunted for decades to come. The scientific brain drain will have far reaching effects on every aspect of our lives.
Write to your elected representatives. Support Science.