Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Silly Studies

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has a list of federal studies he wants to strip funding from. The Wall Street Journal labels the studies in question "silly-sounding research", and it's obvious that Issa -- who, though evil, is no idiot -- selected them as examples of ridiculous, wasteful government programs. Here's a taste:
AMENDMENT NO. 417: At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the National Institutes of Health to study the impact of integral yoga on hot flashes in menopausal women.

AMENDMENT NO. 418: At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the National Institutes of Health to examine the potential impact of a soda tax on population health.

AMENDMENT NO. 419: At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the National Institutes of Health to research the use of marijuana in conjunction with opioid medications, such as morphine.

AMENDMENT NO. 420: At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Department of Health and Human Services to study condom use skills in adult males.

AMENDMENT NO. 421: At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Department of Health and Human Services to study the concurrent and separate use of malt liquor and marijuana among young adults.

AMENDMENT NO. 422: At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the National Science Foundation to study whether video games improve mental health for the elderly.

Is it just me, or are all of these interesting studies? I think it's pretty relevant if video games improve mental health amongst old people. I think we probably want to know the effects of drug and alcohol use amongst our citizen. It's probably pretty valuable to know the rates and effectiveness of condom usage, insofar as we don't like the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. If yoga helps reduce the negative impacts of hot flashes, or a soda tax would improve population health, that's valuable information!

Obviously, one can say simply that we need to cut back on scientific research during a budget crunch. I'm not sure I agree -- I think scientific research and study is the backbone of our economy, and essential to maintaining American dominance in the global marketplace. But as examples, not of discretionary programs we can cut if we have to, but of foolish bureaucrats wasting government resources on frivolity -- I'm unconvinced.

3 comments:

Julia said...

Dude, these are not at all the examples of "silly studies" that I would have expected. That all sounds like useful information!

Have you seen this?

http://www.majorityleader.gov/YouCut/Review.htm

The list of keywords to try is... an interesting selection.

Aaron Boyden said...

Not just you. They all look quite interesting.

PG said...

The soda tax thing is driven by conservative ideology, same as prohibiting government funding for studies on firearms. They try to make it sound "silly" so people won't look into conservative efforts to keep unanswered questions like "Am I safer with a gun at home?" or "Can we treat soda as we've done tobacco: something we can tax with the simultaneous effect of raising new revenue and decreasing use?"