Neal Lane cautions candidate Romney: "No science, no growth"
Former Democratic presidential science adviser calls science a "basic investment principle."
October 31, 2012Published: October 31, 2012
By Steven T. Corneliussen
In a 2001 New York Times op-ed, former Republican presidential science adviser D.Allan Bromley criticized a new Republican president, George W. Bush, for planning to cut federal science funding. The physicist Bromley closed with an often-quoted four-word summary: "No science, no surplus."
Now Neal F. Lane, former science adviser to a Democratic president, has published a Times op-ed criticizing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for planning to cut federal science funding. The physicist Lane closes with a Bromley echo: "No science, no growth."
Lane's op-ed carries the nonpartisan headline "Science is the key to growth," but the Times blurbs it this way: "The Republican budget plan would kill research that leads to new jobs." Lane finds it "astonishing that Mr. Romney talks about economic growth while planning deep cuts in investment in science, technology and education." He continues:
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the [Republican] plan, which Mr. Romney has endorsed, could cut overall nondefense science, engineering, biomedical and technology research by a quarter over the next decade, and energy research by two-thirds.
Mr. Romney seems to have lost sight of the critical role of research investments not only in developing new medicines and cleaner energy sources but also in creating higher-skilled jobs.
Lane uses Google, the National Institutes of Health, and the Human Genome Project as examples to prove, in various ways, that "science investments not only created jobs in new industries ... but also the rising tax revenues that made budget surpluses possible." He blames a "polarized Congress" for spurning Obama administration efforts to increase science budgets, and he worries that next year could see "draconian cuts."
Steven T. Corneliussen, a media analyst for the American Institute of Physics, monitors three national newspapers, the weeklies Nature and Science, and occasionally other publications. He has published op-eds in the Washington Post and other newspapers, has written for NASA's history program, and is a science writer at a particle-accelerator laboratory.