Forget for a moment that our federal government will soon owe $17 trillion in debt to its creditors and that these creditors expect to be paid back (with interest). Also, try to forget for a moment that this enormous sum will have to be paid off by future taxpayers.
President Obama, in his recent State of the Union Speech, called for continuing our “investments” in science and innovation. The ideas put forth in these state of the union speeches often sound good on their surface, but the devil is always in the details. Then there is the minor point – how does the federal government fund such investments when it already carries a $16 1/2 trillion debt? (My apologies for ending your moment of forgetfulness).
We The People must demand that our leaders use our tax money wisely when investing it in science and innovation. The Solyndra approach used by this Administration to fund “preferred” technologies has been a miserable failure. Just that one mistake cost the taxpayers almost half a billion dollars when Solyndra went bankrupt. This is only one of several examples of big money being squandered on technology by the current Administration. The lesson here, which I doubt this Administration has learned, is that they are very poor money managers when it comes to “investing” in innovation and technology.
May President Obama and all of our public servants keep the following observations in mind as they continue throwing billions of our dollars at their favorite science “investments.”
“… the traditional concept [is] that to get anything to work requires a task force. The phenomenon was fortunately unknown to Galileo, Newton, or Einstein, or other masters of classical and quantum mechanics. But it has become a sociophysical requirement of recent years.” “The People’s Science.” W. O. Baker’s acceptance talk to the NSF National Science Board on receiving the Vannevar Bush Award in Washington, DC., May 21, 1981.
“The ideas of scientific discovery come one at a time from one person and one mind at a time. Sometimes two or three can aid each other. But scientific discovery cannot be collectivized, and it does not flourish in collectivized structures.” William O. Baker while Vice President, Research, Bell Labs. Science, Vol. 133, No. 3448 (January 27, 1961), pp. 255-262.
To learn more about Dr. William O. Baker click here.