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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Is it any wonder our economy is a mess?

I'm sure I do not need to remind any of you of what has happened to basic science in the US?

The drop in both % American high school students entering sciences as well as the drop in their absolute numbers is well documented. I just want to add that in 2008, America spent $140 billion in basic science R&D, just under 42% was non-defense.

And I do hope you put $142 billion into perspective, it is estimated that the American diet industry alone is between $40 and $100 billion. Marijuana alone is $120 billion a year market.

Clearly we have priorities we must keep.

... Next time you read about how it was either Clinton or Regan or Bush or Obama who got the country going again with either tax cuts, or universal health care, or it was the bankers, etc... or some other such policy win:

I think this graph makes quite clear that GDP growth has been dropping for quite some time despite fiscal gimmicks.


Thai said...

For comments

Dr John said...

I think if you are going to make an argument that we are not spending enough on science R&D any number you toss out is meaningless unless it is connected to the fate of every American in a way that makes some sense to them. No president even makes a lame attempt at this. If I was president I would be screaming that eliminating oil as an energy source has to do with ruined marshlands or maybe global warming or smog so thick you can cut it with a knife. ya ya ya that is fine. Maybe all of those things are important to certain people but they seem obvious and in some ways less compelling to me than the idea of the fact that the people we get a good portion of our oil from would like to kill us and our way of life. If we had a president with balls who was a real leader he would say things like this and he/she would make it clear we need to devote the resources to basic science r&d so we can come up with some way we can tell people who want to blow us up they can drink their oil. Why won't a president say this?

Dink said...

Do you ever get the sick urge to go into politics? Every once in a while I get this bout of civic guilt that instead of bitching that I should "do something about it".

My religious beliefs alone pretty much mean I am unelectable in this country. But even beyond that, my platform would be.... jeeez. I mean, since I wouldn't be running for ego or reward (seriously, strictly civic guilt) my platform would be honest instead of manipulated to garner the most votes.

Decrease SSA by 5% a year for the next 10 years at which point it will be disbanded completely. Same with Medicare/caid. Close all military bases on foreign soil. As John has alluded to, the platform of "We're totally broke folks so subsequently life will comparitively suck for many of us" just isn't going to sell.

But at least if I ran, was honest, and then totally laughed at some of this civic guilt might lighten up.

Dr John said...

Dink I think about this all the time and know no one would ever elect me because my platform would be EXACTLY what you just stated and you don't even live in my state.

Are there more than 3 people(I am assuming Thai is on board) who will vote for honest govt. that does less?

Today I sat with a man who was given SSI buy a "judge" just recently for "Bipolar" disorder. Mind you this man has never had a single hospital admit for documented manic psychosis but has had 49 ER visits for drug related issues. The judge gave him disability but gave him the back dated checks in 4 installments to his mother. I am buying gold and I am buying precious metal mutual funds. This system just cannot last.

Thai said...

If every American cannot see how their fate is tied to improvements in basic science knowledge, we have much bigger problems than I thought.

And understand this, basic science can take 30-40 years before its lessons are commercially viable, which are longer than the investing lifetime of most investors.

Unless we are going to move to multi-generational patent protection on the order of 50-60 years (which I think a very dangerous precedent), this cannot be easily solved through private markets.

... Actually, now that I've said this, I'm curious to get JP's take as he is the patent attorney.

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