Congress has cut the NIH budget for the first time in 36 years.
“The problem is that the cost of doing research rises at about 5-6% per year. That makes this effectively a 5% cut in the [NIH] budget. That means funding 5% fewer applications and making a cut in the support for presently funded projects. For last year’s budget, the “pay line” (cut off for funding) for grants in the NCI (one of the institutes doing the most patient relevant research) was at 10 percent of submitted applications. That means the pay line will likely be less than 10% for the first time ever.
“In comparison, during the Clinton administration the pay lines were at about 25 percent (and in some institutes went to 30% at times). During those years, advances were made in basic cancer research that resulted in the development of targeted cancer therapies such as gleevac, herceptin, targretin and a number of other non-traditional approaches to cancer. I think we can kiss that kind of progress good by at the current funding levels.”
The NIH budget is $28.6 billion. It would take about $1.5 billion to raise it by 5% and prevent cutbacks in current research. The latest tax giveaways to people who make more than you do amount to $95 billion over five years. Tax fraud by the same people costs $340 billion, but we’ve apparently decided to stop enforcing it and focus on the poor instead.
Eating the seed corn.