Defense spending increases faster than inflation, while discretionary spending–including biomedical science–has the pie ‘grow smaller.’ From the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, here’s what has happened to domestic discretionary spending as a percentage of program costs:
It’s also been growing slower than any other component of the budget:
And, unlike any other sector, domestic spending has shrunk as a percentage of the economy:
This is the context in which science policy is made. There is no science fairy that places research funds under your pillow. Research requires appropriations. And for those who argue that private companies and foundations will pick up the slack in basic research, you’re very, very wrong. In my previous job, I spoke pretty frequently with people in drug companies and foundations, and they will not fund most basic research. It’s about as realistic as a herd of magickal ponies funding basic research.
So if ScienceDebate 2008 happens, will anyone ask the candidates about this?
Yeah, I didn’t think so, either…