Behavioral and Social Scientists Bracing for Threatened Spending Cuts

As part of the Pledge to America unveiled during the 2010 election season, Republicans promised to “roll back government spending” and save “at least $100 billion in the first year alone.”

Citizens were invited to vote on-line and by phone for spending cuts that they wanted to see the U.S. House of Representatives enact.  Called YouCut, citizens could also submit their own ideas for cutting federal spending.

youcut.gifOne particular area of concern to scientists is YouCut Citizen Review that provides a link to the National Science Foundation’s website and invites the public to search for awards that are considered wasteful.

NSF_Logo.pngIn an on-line video, a House Science and Technology Committee member states: “NSF makes more than 10,000 new grant awards annually; many of these grants fund worthy research in the hard sciences.” The video goes on to highlight two questionable research projects whose primary support is in the “hard sciences.” 

Given the climate of significant debts and deficits, the new House majority will be looking for places to cut. The YouCut videos suggest one target area. Indeed, the new House leadership sent a letter to President Obama in June 2009 describing ways to reduce the deficit. Among this list was the recommendation to “refocus the National Science Foundation on hard sciences,” proposing to cut the divisions of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences as well as Social and Economic Sciences by 50%.

FABBS will be working in coalition with numerous scientific societies to defend the basic research supported by the National Science Foundation. This research builds a foundation of knowledge that is essential for national security, defense, and the health and well-being of citizens.

To be successful, we MUST have the support of individual scientists throughout the country, especially in the districts of Members of Congress who do not see the behavioral and social sciences as critical to this country’s future. In a tight funding climate, we will have to demonstrate how research in these sciences ultimately benefits society, and we need all scientists to participate.

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