Re: Bush Budget Jeopardizes Tech Fund (fwd)

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Thu Mar 15 2001 - 01:12:22 MST

Economically, in terms terms of the economy, research and development
investment is the only way to increase productivity and thus gain growth.

Thus, any sound economic policy saves reductions in research and development
for almost last if reductions are made, before only critical governmental
component operations, where critical means air traffic control.

I don't encounter too many government programs that I think should be cut
because I never applied for any "entitlement" checks from the taxes paid to
the government. I'm sure I could find something.

I think the government should make a website, faxback line, and free phone
number to request printed material for the paying citzens, which means every
taxpayer, which means each citizen, that shows clearly and in detail the
route and destination of each penny, or perhaps dollar amount, in the entire
federal governmental system.

This information is supposed to be available, and largely is, but it is not
readily available to the general public, which is what it should be.

So, basically, technology research and development investment is the sacred
cow of economic growth. That includes big and small science, and some
university programs, many or most of which receive federal funding.


xgl wrote:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 12:20:14 PST
> From: "AP / D. IAN HOPPER, Associated Press Writer" <>
> Subject: Bush Budget Jeopardizes Tech Fund
> WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal program that pays for research into
> emerging technologies like cheap digital TV components and new ways
> to diagnose genetic diseases is in jeopardy under President Bush's
> budget.
> Scientists and companies that received federal funds from the
> Advanced Technology Program say cutting it would leave a huge gap
> in the availability of investments in future technology.
> If Bush gets his way, the Commerce Department program would have
> its funding -- which skyrocketed during the 1990s -- suspended
> pending a review.
> ``The program hasn't been thoroughly evaluated. We believe that
> it ought to be,'' Commerce spokeswoman Mary Crawford said.
> Though ATP has a separate oversight office, which has given the
> program glowing reports as recently as May 2000, Crawford said
> that's not enough.
> ``There have been a couple reports that have raised questions
> about the program,'' she said. ``This is a new administration.
> Secretary (Donald) Evans is an engineer by background, he is very
> seriously committed to making sure that the Commerce Department is
> doing top-quality research.''
> Nevertheless, she said, cutting the program completely is ``not
> on the table.''
> But cutting ATP has been on the table in Congress for years,
> with its Republican opponents calling it a form of ``corporate
> welfare'' that should be ended. The Clinton administration
> vigorously defended ATP, citing studies that said many companies
> would not have pursued such research without federal help.
> While ATP was created in 1988 trade legislation enacted under
> President Bush, it didn't receive funding from Congress until 1990.
> In 2001, Congress allocated $145.7 million to the program, which
> typically pays 50 percent of the costs of a selected project.
> Henry Kelly, president of the Federation of American Scientists,
> said that defending ATP has been difficult because the program only
> funds emerging technologies, and doesn't pay for a specific
> product.
> ``Once you've got the basic idea in play, then people can run
> off and make proprietary products,'' he said. ``There's a huge
> (funding) gap that's left in places where the public has an
> interest in moving technology forward. ATP filled that
> brilliantly.''
> The program funded the development of cheap transmitters for use
> in digital and high definition television, considered essential in
> encouraging broadcasters and customers to use HDTV.
> ``We probably wouldn't have been able to develop these kinds of
> techniques and capabilities without the ATP program,'' said Terry
> Smith, a director at New Jersey-based Sarnoff Corp., which took
> part in the collaboration.
> For Sarnoff and its partner companies, finding investors was
> difficult in the current economic climate and companies didn't want
> to take the economic risk for a technology that might not bring
> revenue-producing products for many years. ATP provided about $28.4
> million.
> ``This is technology that has huge potential for returns,''
> Smith said, ``but it's also a real stretch among the companies that
> are doing it.''
> The government gave more than $31.4 million to Affymetrix of
> Santa Clara, Calif., to develop keychain-sized DNA chips for use in
> a handheld device that can analyze genetic material.
> ``The near term benefits that have flowed out of it are improved
> tools to do basic life science discovery,'' said Rob Lipshutz, the
> company's vice president for business development.
> Other ATP-funded research had led to the development of
> fiberglass rustproof beams for bridges and towers, cloning
> technology and a cornmeal-based polyester cloth.
> Kelly said one reason for the political opposition to ATP is
> that it first appeared as a heavily funded government program just
> as a budget-minded Republican Congress took over in 1994.
> ``It's probably the most investigated start-up fund in the
> history of the government,'' he said. ``Its timing was such that it
> was the new kid on the block at the wrong moment in history.''
> *------
> On the Net: Advanced Technology Program:
> Commerce Department:
> Federation of American Scientists:

Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:
"It's always one more."  - Internet multi-player computer game player

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