Opinion

The Great Debate

President Obama’s three percent solution

May 5, 2009

Jonathan Hoganson– Jonathan R. Hoganson is the deputy executive director of the Technology CEO Council, a public policy advocacy group that includes the CEOs of Intel, HP, Dell, Applied Materials, EMC, Motorola, Micron Technology and IBM. He previously was the legislative director for Rep. Rahm Emanuel and policy director for the House Democratic Caucus. The views expressed are his own. –

A few years from now, when our economy has regained its stride, we may look back to a little-noticed announcement last Monday that spurred the resurgence. Amid swine-flu hysteria and First 100 Days hoopla, President Obama quietly announced a commitment to spending three percent of the U.S. GDP on science research and development.

This is a profoundly important step, but if we are to continue to lead the world, the United States must also develop a comprehensive policy to foster innovation. For too long, the United States has lived in a “next month” mindset when it came to our economy. This short-termitis has led to sub-prime lending, credit card debt and a general lack of long-term planning. And in no place has this been more evident than in the sciences.

For the past decade our spending on research and development has been anemic at best, and beginning in 2005, federal funding of academic research actually began to decline. This was happening at the same time our overseas competitors were increasing their commitment. For example, China has increased its R&D spending by an average of 17 percent each year in an effort to catch and surpass developed nations’ spending.

Currently, the United States ranks seventh among developed countries in R&D spending as a ratio of its GDP. Is that a recipe for continued economic and technology leadership?

There is, in fact, a direct correlation between R&D and scientific leadership. As the commitment to science ebbed, so did the U.S. share of worldwide patents and research articles in peer-reviewed journals. And R&D has been proven to catalyze economic growth and enable comparative advantage for developed companies and economies.

Now is the time to make technology and innovation a cornerstone. In the last three months we have made a good start, making broadband, health-care information technology and green tech key components of the stimulus package. The president has proposed a 10-year extension of the R&D tax credit to give businesses the incentive to continue to invest in cutting-edge technologies and products. By advancing these initiatives, we are developing the foundation of a national innovation strategy, but Congress must work with the president to advance a comprehensive strategy.

In recent years, countries such as Germany, France, Japan, New Zealand, Finland, Australia, Denmark, and Australia have established or expanded agencies to promote technology and innovation. While the United States is unlikely to create a new agency, the White House can develop an inter-agency strategy that will restore America’s preeminence as the world’s leader in innovation.

This strategy could synergize the Obama administration’s efforts in clean energy, broadband, and health reform, with new initiatives in education and R&D. It could also develop a system for partnering with venture capital to foster entirely new companies and industries. At the same time, we could remove non-tariff trade barriers, enforce international agreements, open new markets and provide a globally competitive corporate tax structure. All of these are crucial components of any inter-agency innovation strategy.

The last time our government put this type of concerted effort into scientific research was President Kennedy’s challenge to land a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Not only did we achieve that goal, it also spawned a generation of scientists and technologies that shaped the 1980’s and 1990’s. What followed was an era of Internet, communications and medical advances that spurred an unprecedented period of economic prosperity.

President Obama’s bold commitment to R&D carries an important reminder that the 1960’s space race was more than a demonstration of increased federal funding; it was a comprehensive strategy to ensure that America led the world. The president seems willing and able to replicate that success today; Congress and industry need to work with his team to make this happen. It’s time for America to take another giant leap for mankind.

Comments
46 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

That seems to be his answer to everything…spend more money…one of these days he’s going to run out of our money to spend! How he thinks he can spend his way out of debt sounds like eating your way to being thinner! HOPE & CHANGE??? Not under this puppet’s leadership!

Posted by Lefty | Report as abusive
 

Perhaps there is a correlation between the rise of finance and demise of manufacturing and patent activity? It’s hard to patent derivatives.

Posted by kevin2oh | Report as abusive
 

Having grown up during the technology era of the 1980s the steps President Obama and his administration have taken to promote science research and development seem like a great idea. We live in a time of globalization and there are many more competitors on the the science and technology field. Many other countries have been funding R&D since the technology boom and I feel the US should do so as well.

Posted by Barking Lobster | Report as abusive
 

while i may not agree with the amount of spending and/or everywhere it has been used. i do belive this is one area that has been long neglected.

whether by accident or diligence, research has spawned industry/buisness and jobs. hopefully the future creation of related work will be here and stay.

Posted by s baker | Report as abusive
 

When government spends money they reward their political supporters. They waste the vast majority of the funds on hair brained ideas that are thought up at the eleventh hour so the proponents can get some of that “free” money. Monitoring programs, if they exist at all, are a farce and do nothing to keep the money from being spent in an incredibly wasteful fashion.
The only way to do this type of massive spending its through tax credits, tax deductions and tax incentives. That way the money goes to private industry that has a profit motive and understands and utilizes effective cost control methods that never seem to occur in government funding scenarios.
Government has never been able to spend money in an efficient manner. The idea that money needs to be collected from people and businesses and they run through the government for a haircut (waste) and then returned to the people and businesses to “stimulate” the economy is a farce. Approximately half of the money will be lost in such a plan. 100% of the some sort of stimulus can be given to people and businesses through tax credits and tax deductions, waste is eliminated. But, it never seems to be a “good idea” because the political power brokers do not get to reward their supporters this way.
Do not ever forget that being a political person is not about what right for the people or right for the country, it is about power and money grabs for themselves and their supporters.

Posted by Ann | Report as abusive
 

At least he’s spending it wisely.

Posted by Mark Johnson | Report as abusive
 

This is a move in the right direction and a great first step. The next step most be to get our young folks interested in science and technology, the media and Hollywood needs to put people of science and technology in a better light. Stop calling them geeks and nerds and show them for the heroes they are. These are the people who shape our futures, they are my hero’s and I wish more would start looking at them that way. I develop instruments for the science community and over the last 25 years America has gone from being the dominate country of researchers to making up less then half the community now. Europe and Asia are producing many more new scientists then the USA. So again I believe President Obama has the right insight by starting with funding, students next! I love the world of science and love getting young people interested in this great field.

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

I see this comment being made repeatedly and I always have the same question . . .

What would you rather see our money spent on?

Posted by question? | Report as abusive
 

@ Ann

That is the system we have built and are now subject to, what should we do now?
Continue, or try to make some changes?

Posted by Question | Report as abusive
 

You’re on the mark, Mr. Hoganson. We cannot continue to gut the middle and lower classes to funnel hundreds of billions to the financial industries which have produced nothing of real value except for the richest of Americans. For the rest, it’s been borrow and spend into poverty.
It’s time to reverse many of the policies that have just about turned this country into a full fledged Banana Republic over the last 30 years.
As we sow, so shall we reap and technological research, development and innovation is the best fertilizer there is.

Posted by Ray | Report as abusive
 

@lefty

At least this “puppet’s leadership” is spending our money at home, where it is needed the most. Scientific and technological advances do not happen in isolation. They are fueled by investments. Investments in Science and Technology made the US what it is today.

If the Great Decider had spent all the money wasted in Iraq here at home, we wont be in the mess we are in now. Think about that!

 

I really like the fact that president Obama will spend more on Science and R&D. Lefty believes that spending more is a bad thing, but spending more in the correct places is a very good thing.

Of course, even Lefty’s arguments ring false. Eating more of the correct foods WILL get you thinner. And, if one reads the article, one quickly realizes that Lefty did not, as Jonathan Hoganson did a very good job of explaining the correlation between science, R&D, and economic growth.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive
 

Great, now we can send even more money over to Indian and Chinese research and development firms. Do a little research and you will find that a large amount of U.S. companies research and development is now shipped overseas. That’s one reason we don’t have many engineers in graduate schools and over half of the students in engineering are foreigners. I’m an unemployed engineer and I really don’t think throwing money at this will solve the problem. We somehow need to change the mindset that it’s OK to decimate our nations engineeering capability because it’s cheaper to do engineering elsewhere.

Posted by Terry | Report as abusive
 

The step to work on more Science and Technology is indeed a step which needs to take place. However the fact remains that America “WE THE PEOPLE” are going to have to pay for this. Either up front or on the back end with tax increases. It is my belief that what is needed is an “Out of the box” approach to the situation.
What would be said if we could accomplish the same thing, thus increase jobs and spur economic growth? This can be accomplished with some out of the box thinking, but is that what our administration wants?

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive
 

Perhaps it would be more cost effective to purchase intellectual properties from profit minded research assistants in China, India, and other emerging economies.
Since our children are already working for substandard wages we could manufacture their technology and sell it back to them without the burden of bankrolling all of the R & D. I think our turn at imperialism maybe about finished.

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive
 

In response to Kevin2oh:
It is not the rise of finance that has brought calamity on this nation. It is the perversion of financial principles that has become our ruin. Lending to friends and family who cannot repay is an admirable way to live.
It is a very poor way to run a bank. Slavery was abolished in the U.S. at great human cost. It has been brought back in the form of usery.

Posted by tim | Report as abusive
 

Australia’s on there twice. Austria? I want to know what it should say.

Posted by Derek | Report as abusive
 

Lefty doesn’t get it… Ann has some good points, but the private sector may be a little more efficient, but they are not 100% efficient… Has Detroit-Auto been efficient? Are the Financial institutions efficient? They reward millions in bonuses for good behavior (i.e. profits), but there are no penalties for bad behavior (i.e. running the economy into the ground)… they fly their private jets all over, host lavish retreats… spend their personal millions on ridiculous mansions and 85 cars… not very efficient.

Obama inherited a recession and the largest deficits ever… that’s an almost impossible situation…

Government basically exists to pool resources for the greater good… scientific/technological research is vital. New discoveries create new industries… would we have nuclear power without the Manhattan Project? How many current day products can be directly linked to the Cold War or the Space Race? Improvements in plastics, metals, etc.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

The economic strength of the industrial world and America came from the rise of the middle class. That middle class grew through manufacturing, in 1950 for example $294B of GDP contribution vs. $42B for government. Manufacturing produced goods which paid wages, and wages were used to consume other goods. The production of those goods was based on R&D, innovation and creativity. Unfortunately, manufacturing share of the U.S. economy continues its relentless 50-year decline. Last year, manufacturing GDP fell to an all-time low of just 12 percent of the economy, according to a Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI analysis, matching government spending. Government does not create wealth, it only reallocates it. Similarly, derivatives, hedge funds and other convoluted financial transactions don’t create wealth either. Its also fine to promote innovation but concurrent with government employee unionisation came a dramatic fall in American educational standards. So now we don’t even have the brain trust for innovation. This is a 50 year trend cutting across all political parties, and numerous generations. It requires more than a 3% solution, but rather a societal will to change before its too late.

Posted by KY Jellie | Report as abusive
 

I agree with Ann — those in power use goverment spending to advance their own agendas, which are frequently different than what is good for the country. If investors could be assured af a predictable economic policy and the right to receive the benefit of what they produce, then the private sector would invest in profitable R&D.

Posted by Doug | Report as abusive
 

We do need research and development, but not at the government or college lab level. We need it where it is pointed toward a useful product or service. Just funding positions so someone can publish something moves at a snails pace. We need incentives for innovation and patents in order to recover from the serious production and brain drain on the country. We have serious environmental and energy problems and these cannot be solved by government research.

Posted by f belz | Report as abusive
 

So 3% of government budget on R&D.

What happened to the massive private sector spending on R&D? Clearly, that has not worked, or produced sufficient results, which has contributed significantly to economic downsizing.

Why? As Mr Hoganson said – short term thinking. By who? Everybody blames the executives but in reality it’s the whole American culture.

Why again? Because US lacks the kind of highly educated people doing direct research and supporting the primary researchers.

It all goes back to a general dumbing down, which has been going on for some 2 decades.

Question: Do you think, gov spending research money while private sector won’t, on a people who has failed in R&D, will suddenly produce results?

Even in the best scenario, it will take a generation, a new generation of people. Yes, 3% of budget every year, a highly improbable proposition itself, and there might just be some serious results 20 years from now. And that assumes the population have refused to be dumbed down.

This is the price of generational economic stupidity.

Posted by The Real Deal | Report as abusive
 

How about looking into how to create an automated economic system that distributes “money” equally amongst the population while maintaining it’s value?

It’s not quite so strange when you consider that we already do it now. Our money has no real value. It’s only as good as our belief in “the good faith and trust of the American Government”.

Point is, we already work for worthless money and pretend to “buy” stuff with it. Why not simply take it the next step and completely remove the human being from the accounting process, and remove profit as a motive? Automate the distribution of this fake wealth we already give value to. Prioritize every human to be of equal value and priority, and “businesses” or “community projects” would be able to form organically. Since every individual would contribute their own ability to acquire resources to the task at hand, the only real requirement for being able to “make things happen” would be an adequate number of willing participants. And since there would be no economic anchor (paycheck) people would not be economically forced into doing things they no longer believe in. Thus projects and businesses would only be staffed by people who really believed in the value of what they were doing.

Things would still get done. But they would only get done if people agree to pitch in. Otherwise people still have a limited economic ability to fulfill their own goals. And because the economic system operates independent of central human control, there is no easy way to co-opt or disrupt the system.

I have absolutely no idea how such a thing would be done. But the fact that it CAN be done, is in my humble opinion, worth looking into.

 

Complete the Supercollider particle accelerator project, in Waxahachie, Texas, that Congress abandoned in 1993. This will restore American leadership in world physics, will unlock the secret of gravity, and will pave the way for revolutionary forms of space travel and other scientific achievements as yet undreamed. If this is not done, leadership will be retained and accelerated by Europe’s CERN in Geneva (also creator of the World Wide Web), and other world powers will widen significant strategic gains over the United States.

http://www.answers.com/topic/superconduc ting-super-collider

$20 BILLION TO REVIVE THE SUPERCONDUCTING SUPERCOLLIDER

1.
• 20,000 Jobs
• The SSC would have 4 times the energy of CERN’S Large Hadron Collider (LHC), would unlock the greatest secrets of quantum mechanics, and restore America’s global lead.
• The USA would discover what gravity is, and be first in the world to explore potentials of that discovery.
• The SSC will lead the world in developing a Periodic Table of Subatomic Particles, that the current Standard Model of Particle Physics is unable to do.
• With gravity understood and subatomic particles comprehensively explained and related, a Grand Unified Theory (GUT) of forces and fields will be created.
• Quantum Mechanics will be united with Relativity, the “Theory of Everything” (TOE) dreamed of by Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein will be achieved.
• Jobs, productivity, and inspiration for moving ahead will be stimulated, together with incalculable spawning of new technologies and socio-economic progress.
2. The enormous practical applications of discoveries enabled by the Supercollider — in energy breakthroughs, in quantum computing, nanotechnology, space applications, and medicine and healthcare, too — are beyond our present ability to even conceive; but these exciting potentials are there, are real, and America should be first to discover them and once more lead the world!

3. Where John F. Kennedy led America to the moon and beyond, Barack Obama can lead us and the world to the greatest scientific strides in history.

Posted by Leonard Zane | Report as abusive
 

Ann, what a wonderful post that was, thank you for your insight.

Gov’t doesn’t need to spend one dollar on R and D, get rid of the income tax and drop the corporate rate to 10-15% and you’ll see the most spending in this area in history.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

Government does indeed have a place in R & D. Supposedly, government represents the interests of the citizen. If this is true, then government should indeed serve the public interest by making R & D available outside the market place.

The the technology generated by the marketplace serves itself. There’s always a hook designed to chain you to consumption. That’s the reason patents and trade secrets exist. They’re around to force you to spend your resources paying someone else to do what you could do yourself if you had the knowledge and the means. That’s great if you own the trade secret or the patent. It sucks if you’re the one forced to comply with them because you don’t have the resources or connections to stand against them.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

Ann, your outrage would be believable if only you had demonstrated similar outrage during the last no-tax-and-spend republican administration, the very people who got us into this economic mess in the first place with policies like the ones you espouse. Sorry, but your hair brained ideas have been debunked over the past eight years and, sadly, you and your political cohort still don’t seem to get it.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive
 

Finding this of interest, I have “Googled” this person, finding bio info at his Council web site. Here you find background information COMPLETELY lacking any mention of either science or technology background. It tells me he is a well connected political appointee/politician.

I for one having worked on the Apollo Moon Landing Program find his article nothing more than a continuation of political rhetoric to be ignored. Nothing in the returned web bio page tells me that he has a even a clue about the subject. When will we place scientists and engineers in these positions?

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive
 

I am all for a 3% R&D budget based on GDP. However, part of these monies should be dedicated to a marketing effort to educate our politicians and the public on the ‘truths’ regarding some common falsehoods. For example, people and politicians should be told definitively that ‘Clean Coal’ technology is nonexistent and not at all possible in the foreseeable future (+20 years); Using corn to feed America’s energy needs and Hybrid tech vehicles instead of feeding America’s people; The current ‘Green Movement’ must be made aware of the true carbon footprint of current alternative and mainstream energy sources, and the true carbon footprint must reveal development, production and operational carbon footprint expenses (this will reveal what energy solutions are most eco-neutral). Alas: coal, solar and wind and not Earth friendly! We should also demand that part of this 3% go towards educational needs for tomorrow’s scientists and technicians.

Posted by Tom Johnston | Report as abusive
 

The mistake that Ann and her disciples make is to assume that research is profitable over a short time span. It is not. It takes years of basic (theoretical) research across many simultaneous projects to get even one idea that might be commercially successful after years of further development. The success rate is low and most scientific progress is incremental.
Science is not to be done for profit, but for knowledge. Negative results are as important as positive. That requires long-term commitment and government funding.

The development phase is the one in which private enterprise can benefit by publicly funded science to make profitable businesses. However, this development cannot occur without painstaking scientific research.

Posted by D | Report as abusive
 

A few years from now, when our economy has regained its stride? How is it supposed to regain it’s stride when they have pledged to print as much money as the entire value of all wealth in the world? (Approx 10 trillion)

You should have said: a few years from now, after the dollar is completely bankrupted and traded out for the Amero for a horrible exchange rate, after the majority of American jobs are outsourced for foreign slave labor, and after Obama concedes nearly all regulation to international entities in violation of the US Constitution – when the economy regains its stride it won’t matter because the average US citizen still won’t have a job, or any rights.

Besides all that, the government admittedly withholds technology for approx. 30 years before releasing it to the public. So any gains they make won’t see their way to helping the public, and chances are they’ve already made those gains and are withholding them anyway.

Posted by Billy | Report as abusive
 

I love the “goverment doesnt need to do X” statements. Fact is the big wigs have had 8 years of low taxes marketplace freedom and they did nothing but squander the USA’s leadership for there own gains.

No, the problem is NOT a lack of education, the problem can be summed up by a recent post I read by a MIT student which boiled down to “Do I wanna scrap by begging for R+D money or do I wanna be in the million club before im 25?”

We need to give all those Math Guys a reason to quit Wall street and get back into R+D and this is a good start to that end

Posted by eron | Report as abusive
 

The USA , in the past , has very much relied on importing it’s creativity and innovation . It did this by providing a very attractive country – a free and rich country and a place where people could achieve their aims . Internally , however , the society is very corporatist – with culture – such as team playing – that actually runs against producing creativity and innovation . The Bush era particularly has seen a massive attack occur by it on the USA thus greatly negating the attractiveness of it as a country . With this reality strongly in place the question is whether this current situation will be addressed – or whether it will be ignored and the previous techniques of spin , propaganda and myth be used .

Posted by Kim | Report as abusive
 

Good post Billy, I myself am always astounded when I see so many people who have complete faith in this government. Republican or Democrat, never produces anything good.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

Eron, when again was this 8 years of low taxation? I’m 23 years old and not one week of my life has their been low taxation in the United States.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive
 

Who is going to do all this R&D?
Get set for more H1-B visas because American don’t do Math.

Posted by D Sakarya | Report as abusive
 

‘You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people, all the time!’
The one problem Governments have, is educated people. We don’t believe! Why? We’ve been lied to so many times, we don’t believe you anytime!
This is why, in the past, Governments, in the case of Nepal a monarchy, didn’t allow children to go to school.
People are much easier controlled if stupid!
But, I’m afraid ‘the genie is out of the bottle’ in the U.S. And there’s more trouble ahead for Governments (as people wise up)!
And it appears from these comments many Americans have already!
‘Citizens of the world unite! You have only your own corrupt government to lose!’

 

@Leonard Zane

It is just about too late for the US to revive the SSC. Too late scientifically, too late technologically, and too late financially.

The LCH at CERN (which the US has invested about $0.5B, participated in design, and will play a vital role in analysis and theoretical work) is *it* for at least the next 2 decades. There are sound scientific grounds not to consider another super collider for this period of time. Therefor the next collider is for the next generation of physicists, assuming there are still physicists and that kind of money around in 2020!

But not to worry. There are many challenges of the highest order to conquer, such as:
- nuclear fusion power generator
- national electric transportation grid
- next generation Internet

And the biggest challenge of them all – getting people highly educated and interested in knowledge, discovery, creativity, all NOT for the sake of money.

Posted by The Real Deal | Report as abusive
 

Just look at the backers behind this guy.
Corporate members of the U.S. chamber of commerce.

Since when have they done anything except strive to ensure their upper management make an even higher multiple of the line worker.

Really, haven’t we seen thru these shills.
Folks, how’s your career going? your retirement?
Then look at them. Golden Parachutes as far as the eye can see.

They have ZERO credibility in my book. If they propose something it is surly meant to benefit primarily them.
Oh wait, there’s a crumb worker….scramble for it!

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive
 

Until Obama was elected, the last decade and longer saw the growth of a political animus to intellectual activity such as would inspire and generate the growth of interest in new technological R and D activity. The capable and ambitious have been caught up in entertainment, sports,and finance lured by large financial rewards. The politically generated anti intellectualism and poor educational system countrywide has left us without the educated newcomers and resources to inspire and generate the ideas for the R & D programs, the quivalent of the JFK “moon shots”.The question now is how to turn it around.

Posted by norman zelvin | Report as abusive
 

There was some concern about the private sector dominating research, twenty years ago. For a while, they even seemed to be succeeding. The problem has two parts.

First is that the reason for this dominance was not just a financial concern, the private sector has more realistic goals and a less ideologically manipulated view of how to reach them. This made corporate research more productive.

However, the second part of the problem, was that the goals of the private sector became in and of themselves manipulated. The private sector has only the most selfish motives and every reason to back stab and steal from their own innovators. It did not take long for the best of a generation to realize that their gold did not lay in creating, but in stealing the creations of others, usually by enlisting the government to help them do it.

This is where the bottom falls out of any attempt to take research out of the private sector and return it to the Federal Dole. A government, particularly a government hemorrhaging it vital resources to foreign governments, can not make up in funding what it lacks in freedom. It is not possible to foster innovation while bludgeoning the populace with what amounts to Intellectual Eminent Domain and Thought Policing.

All of Western Academia is Ignoring Reality in favor of Politics with the Media acting as their Collective Consciousness and then they are left wondering why they are losing ground to more Realistic People in other Cultures.

Posted by Abadon | Report as abusive
 

To Benny Acosta
What you described was already proclaimed: “To everybody according to his needs, from everybody according to his capabilities”. It is called COMMUNISM. And take from a person who lived inthe first staged , that was called SOCIALISM. It never will work. And it looks to me we are going there full speed right now.

Posted by Sandy | Report as abusive
 

Very little known regarding efficiency of US R&D spending. Some say that 70% of global patent registrations originate from US – but this figure is hardly illustrative, if you look at what is there on the market. If take solar and wind power, it is the European companies that lead the way. Eco-solution – the same thing. Of course US is big in IT, but this is built on ealier achievements and competitors are closing the gap pretty fast.

One should not fool itself – US R&D spending was funded as US consumer spending by foreign money. Whether or not America will be able to throw money into numerous R&D projects without really caring about their efficiency. It is all about the level of debt. You can of course confrim committment, but will be able to afford it?

Posted by dv | Report as abusive
 

Let it go. Why are we still so transfixed on the “economic issues”?. This is just a system. Wipe the debt clean. Forget printing more money. Just forgive all debt and write it off. Let transactions occur as normal and focus on creating an artificially intelligent, self sustaining automated, central accounting system, free of central human control.

Make money do what it is supposed to do, which is facilitate the transfer of resources from one location to another for human use. Are we seriously trying to fix a system that ACTUALLY REQUIRES HUMAN ECONOMIC LOOSERS IN ORDER TO FUNCTION? We are still approaching this “problem” from the perspective of dependence and reliance upon the system. This is absolutely absurd. How on God’s green Earth is a money problem even remotely as important as the prospect of homeless, starving, and dieing human beings? Especially when we consider that the world’s children suffer to a much higher degree because of our ridiculous over emphasis on money as a means of control rather than as a tool to aid human progress.

Why should one person get the best health care available while another dies simply because of a lack of funds? Are you kidding me?! Seriously? Are we still willing to accept this as “normal”? Are we willing to let minds go undeveloped, and potential human treasure simply wither and die because money is actually given a higher priority than your child or mine? No one can possibly be so stupid as to accept such a condition when they realize the implications.

How many Americans find themselves forced into being “professional” for the majority of their most creative and energetic waking moments? If you have to spend so much time being professional, then someone tell me where we are supposed to discover and live up to our greatest potential as human beings?

This isn’t some idealistic rhetorical question either. I’m serious. To what end will we devote all of our technology? To what end will we devote our human and material treasure? To what end will we devote our efforts? Do we really want to spend all of that, on fixing a system that prioritizes money over the value of your home, your community, and your family? Or do we want to devote all of those resources to forging a human centered course for the next millennium?

We are, as citizens, in the position making and enforcing this choice. We will choose by way of our actions. And we will choose by our lack of action. But make no mistake. We will choose. Let us please choose wisely.

 

Making a focused commitment to increase federal spending on science and technology is a smart move. So many of the ‘stimulus’ dollars are being invested in one time expenditures that serve an immediate physical infrastructure want or need, but create little ongoing economic stimulus after project completion. Past investments in science and technology by the Federal Government, like those at NASA in the past century, have resulted in new technological advancements that then migrated to the private sector across many segments and applications spawning new industries, jobs, and more innnovation. This is not science for science’s sake, this is an investment in our future.

 

It’s regrettable “Real Deal” was the only one other than me who posted regarding the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC). Real Deal does not appear to be a professional scientist, and yet expresses discouragement toward reviving the SSC, even without supporting why such a major stride in particle physics should be abandoned and surrendered to Europe’s LHC at CERN, at only one-quarter of the SSC’s energy. In fact, much of the scientific community doubts the LHC will have enough energy (at 8 tera eV) even to discover or disprove the hypothetical Higgs boson that’s purported by various theorists to be the particle that can account for the origin of mass; or to investigate the existence of the graviton particle that’s believed to carry the force of gravity. The SSC (at 40 tera eV) will have by far the best chance of unlocking these secrets.

While Real Deal’s suggested research projects such as these below* are also laudable, the USA should not give up on the SSC and its enormous long-range benefits.

- nuclear fusion power generator*
- national electric transportation grid*
- next generation Internet*

Please see my first post on the subject for information and arguments why the USA very much needs the SSC, and let’s please hear from informed scientific sources on this most important endeavor that’s more momentous than even current space research.

Posted by Leonard Zane | Report as abusive
 

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