Washington, DC, March 25, 1998 — CEI President Fred L. Smith, Jr. today called for an end to federal subsidies for research and development in testimony before the House Committee on Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.
The government’s methods for choosing who gets how much is based not so much on science as on what is “politically correct” or what interest group has the most clout on Capitol Hill, Smith testified. For instance, according to Smith, the FY 1999 budget includes a five-year $2.7 billion research and development initiative to reduce greenhouse emissions. This R & D money is “greenhouse pork” designed to reduce business community opposition to the Clinton Administration’s “ClimateCare” policies.
“Taxpayer dollars should not be use to fund research and development. The argument that a free-market system will underinvest in science and technology is peculiar and illogical,” commented Smith, prior to his testimony. “The private market will always invest its time and money into solving significant problems. We see that all through history.”
The role of research and development is not to force behavior modifications on an unwilling country for no scientific reason, continued Smith. It is to identify problems and develop cost-effective solutions. The best method is to allow taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned dollars and remove regulatory roadblocks that discourage private investment into research and development.
“The problem with research isn’t market failure but the failure to have markets,” stated Smith. Property rights, the rule of law and free markets are still the best means to improve our economy, the ecology and human welfare.”
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