The Assault on Federally Supported Science

The long-time bipartisan support for federally supported science investment is under assault from the libertarian right, who view agencies such as the National Science Foundation as just one more wasteful government enterprise that constrains risk-taking entrepreneurs. But their arguments conveniently ignore the many cases where basic science laid the groundwork for mechanical inventions, writes Rob Atkinson in the Christian Science Monitor. Virtually every study on the effect of federally funded research on private sector funding finds that federal research spurs more, not less additional private R&D. Far from crowding it out, federal funding actually crowds in and makes it more productive for business to invest in research.