Well, you know there’s something deeply wrong with the way your country is run when stupid things like this start happening. Take a research program that’s been monitoring several thousand people at a time, focusing on their cardiovascular health, and following them for decades (http://www.framinghamheartstudy.org/about/history.html); and without warning, cut it by over 40%. Not even a phased cut; just “sorry, you have $5 million instead of $9 million this year.”
Oh, that’s a good move. That’ll save the country a lot of cash. And so what if all that money we spent already, over the last decade or so, will now be partially wasted (since the data they’ve been accumulating will be severely compromised.)
It seems likely that the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the government’s NIH, would not have imposed this cut this if they themselves didn’t face severe budget reductions, handed down from the NIH which like all branches of government is suffering cuts. Do any of my readers know the full story?
When you cut government across-the-board by 6%, the consequences for individual programs tend to be much, much steeper, due to fixed costs that can’t be cut. The consequences grow as you go down the bureaucratic chain…
Anyway, I hope a private foundation will pick up some of the slack on this one. But this is happening all over, and not every program that we’ve already spent money on will survive these types of cuts.
[Thanks to Matt Buckley for drawing my attention to this story.]