Scientists, This Is What Movement Conservatives Think of Us

Fox Business News host Stuart Varney (boldface mine):

That is a loaded question isn’t it? You want my opinion? This is President Obama’s shutdown. He is responsible for shutting this thing down; he’s taken an entirely political decision here. No, I don’t think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don’t. I’m sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I’m not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that’s what I want to do…

Here I am, a private citizen, paying an inordinate amount of money in tax. I’ve got a slow economy because it’s all government, all the time. And these people are living on our backs, regulating us, telling us what to do, taxing us, taking our money, and living large. This is my chance to say “hey, I’m fed up with this and I don’t miss you when you’re on furlough.” Sorry if that’s a harsh tone, but that’s the way I feel.

If you’re a government-funded scientist, that’s you he’s supposedly describing.

Anger is the appropriate emotion.

Meanwhile, some reality from a biomedical scientist (boldface mine):

I don’t think the public realizes the devastating impact that this has on scientific research. Scientific research is not like turning on and off an assembly line. Experiments are frequently long-term and complicated. They involve specific treatments and specific times. You can’t just stop and restart it. You’ve probably just destroyed the experiment.

You also can’t necessarily recover. You can’t begin an experiment all over again. If you do, you’ll be set back months — if there’s even time and personnel to do it. But often, science moves rapidly, times change, and you can’t re-initiate the experiments. It’s an enormous loss to scientific research, an enormous loss of time and personnel.

Scientists are hardworking people. They work long hours, on weekends, and they do that because it’s necessary. The schedules they follow aren’t like an industrial plant’s. If you interrupt them, they can’t pick up and start again. It’s an enormous waste of money and resources to interrupt this and have it abandoned.

All of the various budget cuts mean that entire lines of research are disappearing. Meanwhile your typical PhD post-doctoral researcher is making somewhere in the neighborhood of $46,000.

Cadillacs and T-bone steaks all the way down. Or not.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Scientists, This Is What Movement Conservatives Think of Us

  1. John Danley says:

    Let Varney resort to prayer and private sector backslapping when he succumbs to carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae. CRE is tax free!

  2. Robert L Bell says:

    I just finished reading “Merchants of Doubt,” which documents how a tiny but politically connected cabal of disgruntled scientists has worked since 1954 to discredit Science as a trusted provider of useful information. The whole thing is really quite nasty, involving scurrilous assaults targeting individual scientists up to respected institutions like the EPA. They attack anything that stands in the way of Free Market Capitalism.

    Considering who has engineered the shutdown and their potential connects to these bad actors, the damage done to Science may well be a desired result rather than an unintended consequence. Just look at how many teabaggers are part of the global warming denialist clown show.

Comments are closed.