In a recent Washington Post op-ed, conservative commentator George Will says that some of his Republican brethren are being a little shortsighted when they talk about cutting science budgets. Government support is necessary for innovation, and America needs science and engineering education and research in order to stay competitive, he adds: US undergraduate institutions hand out 16 percent of their degrees in science or engineering, while the numbers in South Korea and China are 38 percent and 47 percent, respectively. "With populism rampant, this is not a propitious moment to defend elites, even scientific ones. Nevertheless, the nation depends on nourishing them and the institutions that sustain them," Will writes. "Republicans are rightly determined to be economizers. They must, however, make distinctions."
Science and the American Economy
Jan 12, 2011