NEUROTOPIA

Where brains are always on the menu! Serving up a heaping portion of the latest neuroscience news, plus a side of social commentary expertly seasoned with action potentials and cognitive functions. Garnished with general thoughts on science, ethics, and evolution. For dessert, enjoy a sickeningly-sweet understanding of human behavior!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Funding priorities

Bush's budget for FY 2006 is rather pathetic on the science end of things. The '06 Research and Development budget is only a 1% increase over the '05 one. While the administration likes to claim that they have made large increases in R&D (45% since 2001), most of this has been awarded to homeland security and defense. Plus, some of it came at the behest of a Clinton-era initiative to double the NIH budget over 5 years. Never think for a second that this administration has the public's best interests at heart when it comes to science.

For example, National Institutes of Health budget has been increased less than 1%, the National Science Foundation breaks even with its 2004 appropriations (a 2.6% increase this year that basically does nothing but erase the 2005 decrease, and leave the NSF budget doubling initiative $8 billion behind schedule), and here's the biggest travesty of all: the VA sees yet another funding decrease, of 2.2%. Considering the rate of biomedical research inflation is expected to be 3.2% in '06, this hurts.

That's right. In the middle of a War of Convenience/neverending occupation where 1700 American troops have already died and who knows how many others are casualties, this administration is cutting the budget for the Veteran's Administration. Speaking from a neuroscience perspective, where do they think funding comes from to study issues like post-traumatic stress disorder? This is an insult to those who diligently serve in our armed forces. The message is clear; after being called to walk the pits of Hades for your country, we don't give a damn about your well-being-- psychological or physical-- when we're through with you.

*budget numbers come from: spring 2005 Neuroscience Quarterly, a publication of the Society for Neuroscience

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