Science Policy Matters

By Hutchison, Kay Bailey; Chubin, Daryl E. | Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 2007 | Go to article overview

Science Policy Matters


Hutchison, Kay Bailey, Chubin, Daryl E., Issues in Science and Technology


Daniel Sarewitz asks, "Does Science Policy Matter?" (Issues, Summer 2007). The answer is "absolutely yes." In a high-tech global economy, science and technology are indispensable to maintaining America's economic edge. In fact, historically, studies have shown that as much as 85% of the measured growth in per capita income has been due to technological change. In a very real sense, the research we do today is responsible for the prosperity we achieve tomorrow. For that reason, I believe Congress must support low tax rates as a catalyst for innovation.

Ever since President Reagan's tax cuts went into full effect in 1983, the U.S. economy has almost quintupled in size, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has surged from less than 1,000 to over 13,000, and a host of revolutionary technologies, from cell phones to DVDs, from iPods to the Internet, have enhanced productivity and our quality of life. In many cases, the low tax rates enabled dynamics entrepreneurs to secure the private investment they needed to create their own businesses, and in effect, jump-start the information revolution.

But despite our economic gains, Congress needs to play a more active role in shaping science and technology policy with federal funding. Last year, the National Academies released a startling report called Rising Above the Gathering Storm, which showed how unprepared we are to meet future challenges. According to the report, the United States placed near the bottom of 20 nations in advanced math and physics, and ranked 20th among all nations in the proportion of its 24-year-olds with degrees in science or engineering. Right now, we are experiencing a relative decline in the number of scientists and engineers, as compared with other fast-growing countries such as China and India. Within a few years, approximately 90% of all scientists and engineers in the world will live in Asia.

We are starting to see the consequences of our neglect in these fields. In the 1990s, U.S. patent applications grew at an annual rate of 10%, but since 2001, they've been advancing at a much slower rate (below 3%). In addition, the U.S. trade balance in high-tech products has changed dramatically, with China overtaking the United States as the world's largest exporter of information-technology products (and the United States becoming a net importer of those products).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I agree with Sarewitz that "the political case for basic research is both strong and ideologically ecumenical," as people across the political spectrum view scientific research as an "appropriate area of governmental intervention." For example, Congress recently passed the America Competes Act. This landmark legislation answered the challenge of the report from the National Academies to increase research, education, and innovation and make the United States more competitive in the global marketplace.

In addition, federal funding for basic research has increased substantially, although I am growing concerned that the emphasis of that funding is starting to shift from hard science to soft science. As government leaders, we have a responsibility to establish priorities for the taxpayers' money; and in that case, hard sciences (physical science and engineering) must assume a larger share of federal funding.

The bottom line is science policy does matter--and I thank you, as leaders of the scientific community, for your efforts to make the United States a better place to live, learn, work, and raise a family.

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON

Republican of Texas

Daniel Sarewitz's "Does Science Policy Matter?" continues the tutorial begun with his 1996 Frontiers of Illusion, still one of the most compelling myth-busting texts for teaching science policy. More policy practitioners should read it, or at least this updated article.

Sarewitz carries the mantle of the late Rep. George Brown, for whom he worked through the House Science Committee. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Science Policy Matters
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.