The whims of Capitol Hill have real effects on real people

The Scientist has research grants as a theme this month, and the cover story tries to figure out what happens when NIH grants are denied because of budget cuts. The agency has gone from a 19.7 percent approval rating on Type 1 grants in 1999 to 9.1 percent approval rating in 2005. For Type 2 grants the approval rating has gone from more than 55 percent in 1999 to about 33 percent in 2005.

I am not pointing this out because I lament the loss of research funding, I think this type of funding belong in the private arena and should be funneled through 503(c)’s. I am pointing this out because this is a great story about the end results of the horse-trading that goes on in Congress.

This man’s laboratory might be the $100,000 spent by Congress on the High Falls Film Festival in Rochester, NY or the $200,000 spent on the American Cotton Museum in Greenville, TX. Not that I mind buying rich congress people tickets to museum openings and film festivals, but do they have to be so expensive?

The upcoming CEI dinner is a great alternative. It is amuch cheaper for taxpayers and we can offer speaking presidents, authors, great food, and great company.