Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wise use of your Tax Dollars by the National Science Foundation

Senator Tom Coburn just released a report on the National Science Foundation (NFS). The president’s budget proposes raising funding for the NSF by over a billion dollars. What do they do? This excerpt is from Colburn’s report

We are all concerned about America falling behind the rest of the world in math and science. As a result, numerous departments and agencies throughout the federal government spend tens of billions of dollars every year to support these fields. At least 15 federal departments, 72 sub-agencies, and 12 independent agencies currently fund research and development. With a $6.9 billion annual budget, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is our nation’s premier broad-based scientific research agency. NSF is the major source of federal backing in mathematics and computer sciences and spends billions more in important fields such as engineering, biology, physics, and technology.
This all sounds great and I think everyone agrees that we seem to lagging behind in developing new ideas but what do they really spend this money on? According to this report by Senator Colburn the “studies” financed with your tax dollars include such worthy topics as;
• A $315,000 study to determine if playing Farmville on Facebook helps adults develop and maintain relationships
• Over one million dollars spent to analyze how quickly parents respond to changes in trendy baby names
• Expended $1.5 million to create a robot that can fold clothes
• Wasted over $581,000 to study whether online dating sites are racist
• Should you buy sporting tickets in advance or wait until the last minute? A $259,216 grant analyzes this dilemma for you
• Here is my personal favorite. The NFS spent $50,000 of your tax money composing the following rap lyrics. This “song” gets me that warm and fuzzy feeling.

The lyrics printed in full below

Working in the lab is a pretty sweet gig / The people are smart and the toys are really big / But we can't be chill when our homies are ill / So we write a new proposal to create another pill / If you have malaria we wanna take care o' ya / And if we succeed then no one has to bury ya / And so we beg for grants, even though it's so demeaning / 'Cause you need a good stash for a high-throughput screening

Chorus: We need money for drugs / We ain't no thugs / But it takes more funds / To kill more bugs (parasites yo!) We start with expression of recombinant protein / A soluble product is a reason for emoting / We quantify its function and look for inhibitors / And find the delimiters of active-site perimeter When the SAR is leaving us baffled / We call in the chemists to create a new scaffold / It's not like making meth—it's really hard to do it / But we've got to break through to a brand-new therapeutic Chorus (repeat and fade)

I can’t take anymore. Read the full report yourself here
H/T to America's number 1 taxpayer watchdog The Swine Line


  1. This is disgusting but what can we do about it?

  2. You can bitch to your congressman every opportunity you get Hillbilly