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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

R&D $

This election cycle has included a lot of talk about spending, deficits, and government intervention into the economy. Generally, however, participants in the debates simply (and perhaps hypocritically, given the rhetoric) favor certain government programs and oppose others. Even tea partiers like Dana Loesch reject defense budget cuts, apparently, and would exempt Social Security and Medicare. They hate the so-called "bailouts" even though economists note their stimulus value and the emergency loans were mostly repaid already.

This tidbit from Time illustrates the problem of misplaced priorities:
In mid-June, a group of corporate titans, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, descended on Washington to call for U.S. spending on energy research to be tripled. They noted that the government today spends less than $5 billion a year on energy research and development — not counting temporary stimulus projects — compared with $30 billion annually on health research and more than $80 billion on military R&D.
Apparently, the U.S. values new weapons more than it does new drugs or energy sources. I don't think the new Congress is going to change that ordering.

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