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Freedom Fridays

March 23, 2018 – Government Waste Erodes Our Freedoms, Part IV:

Stopping Wasteful and Pointless ‘Science’

Total Cost to Arizona Taxpayers: $174,612

Cumulative Cost to Arizona Taxpayers of “Freedom Friday” Government Waste: $207,678,587, or $81.09 per household

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What is the NSF?

Since 1950, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has provided funding for basic scientific research in the United States. As a federal agency, it is the only federal-level entity that awards grants to scientists from all scientific fields, ranging from national security to biotechnology. These competitive grants allow science and research developments in the United States to lead the world in innovation.

 

What is the problem?

While the NSF is the premier government agency to fund scientific progress in the country, this does not stop it from funding frivolous or useless projects that contribute little to modern science. According to House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, the NSF spent almost $8 million in 2017 on studies on topics ranging from Tanzanian women’s cell phone usage to explanations on why English has no single word for “light blue.”

This is not a new trend; previous Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), wrote a report in 2011 on wastes and mismanagements of the NSF titled “National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope.” The report outlined more wasteful studies such as how Facebook video games affect adult relationships. These strange and useless studies receive absurd amounts of funds, and with no benefit to scientific advancement. Since our country struggles with $21 trillion in debt, we are not in the position to fund nonsensical topics.

 

What are we doing about it?

The NSF already has strong transparency in place. Many of these grant applicants and their studies are available to the public. However, many of these funds are mismanaged and go towards petty or insignificant topics. Today, I sent a letter to NSF Director France Cordova urging her to prioritize studies that truly advance scientific research and development for the national interest of the country.