A Couple of Thoughts on The State of the Union

by Ken Rupert. 0 Comments

Recently I read the comments of the Head of Government Relations for a large bio-technology company. From a business perspective, I get it. Businesses that depend upon government funding are concerned about sequestration because it hurts their bottom line. The representative from this bio-technology company stated this: “During last night’s State of The Union address, President Barack Obama reminded the members of Congress – and millions of people watching at home – that biotechnology is perhaps the most crucial science of the 21st century. And he warned of the consequences should funding cuts for Federal scientific research grants and programs occur: If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. President Barack Obama A couple of thoughts on what the president said. First, government funding is really tax-payer funding and I, as a tax payer who has a child with special needs, cannot afford the continual spending of this government. Life is terminal. Like it or not we are going to die of something. Is life difficult? Yes. Do we suffer the pain of loss? Yes. Is the process of life and death difficult? – Again, a resounding yes. For the record, my father has Alzheimer’s, my son has a rare genetic disorder known as Sotos Syndrome, and my wife is a carrier of a rare blood disorder. So I am not speaking from a position of not having a clue as to how difficult life can be. I am just tired of having the government digging in my pocket to take the resources that I have accumulated when I need those resources to support my family. Second, I would like to see the formula for how this next statement was calculated. “Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy” (President Barack Obama). If I could get 140% return on any investment I would be more than willing to invest. Reality is that a return on investment of this magnitude is unlikely unless there is fuzzy math involved. I reviewed the report from where this statement was derived and there was not direct claim made in the report. The Head of Government Relations goes on to say: “The President’s use of the word “invest” is spot-on; it’s good for our business, (emphasis added by the writer of this blog) as these cuts will affect our customers. But research dollars are also an investment in our collective future, enabling scientists to unlock genetic mysteries and find the answers to some of the most pressing challenges we face, from preventing pandemics to finding new sources of renewable energy.” The truth is that, as a country and as an economy, we need to cut the spending done by Washington. I am not advocating one cut over another. However, since those who have been elected have failed the American people, I think that the cuts should start with their individual salaries, and then the salaries of their staff members. This should be followed by across the board cuts in the government agencies that fail to provide a productive contribution to the lives of the common citizen. I am talking a real tangible contribution and not a perceived or fabricated contribution. There are some things for which the government needs to be responsible. However, there are a lot of unproductive government agencies that need to either go private or be cut all together. The only thing I am interested in having the government do is start living on a true zero-based budget. That means it only spends what comes in and not a penny more. And increasing taxes is not a way of increasing the budget resources. Stop the madness and fix the problems. Although it might be painful for a season, in the end it is the right thing to do. Yes, I am an employee. But I am also a veteran who is concerned about the future of this country and the prospects of my family. I do not see things in terms of short term unsustainable gain. In these tough economic times we need to be focused on doing the right things now so that we produce a sustainable long term gain. If we do, then in the future we and our children will enjoy the profit gained from the pain of today’s investment.

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