I would expect most or all on SciSip agree that last week’s skinny budget makes little sense as regards DOE and NIH science funding and believe or hope that Congress will moderate the damage, as previous Congresses diluted Obama’s more
pro-science budgets. Those who voted for the current administration may feel that the proposals are coherent with the campaign promises, (and some in this cohort may feel it also has elements of payback for we elite who disrespect them). The OMB director said
this first feint for the FY2018 budget was based on an analysis of the president’s public speeches.
I think we should be careful not to count that this Congress will act as we hope. We are in a new reality. Our community must make and communicate a compelling vision for science that will justify our share of tax revenues. We must do that
quickly to limit immediate damage, making the case to a Congress made up of people who have little familiarity with science and to some of whom we are part of an untrustworthy conspiracy. We must commit also ourselves to the long haul as the aging of society
increases pressure on the discretionary budget where science funding comes from. Polls may tell us that the public loves science, but also that it does not really understand its benefits. When it comes to spending, the public puts cutting science well ahead
of cutting the beloved entitlement programs.
Eugene G. Arthurs