October 2012

In case you missed it

Photo of Mitt RomneyPhoto of Barack ObamaAs Election Day grows nearer, the citizens of the nation are now inundated with political ads, making the case for and against certain candidates as parties and special interests work to frame this election in the most beneficial way. As a nonprofit organization, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is not permitted to politick or engage in partisan activities. We are not permitted to donate to campaigns or political parties, and we are not permitted to endorse a candidate for office. We are, however, permitted to educate our members on the candidates’ positions. Earlier this year, the ASBMB was invited to join 14 of the nation’s top scientific societies to play an advisory role in the development of a science debate in an attempt to nail down the candidates’ positions as they relate to science. The full responses from Democratic President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney can be viewed at www.sciencedebate.org.


Innovation and the economy: What policies will best ensure that America remains a world leader in innovation?

Obama

  • • says “we must create an environment where invention, innovation and industry can flourish”;
  • • commits to doubling funding for key research agencies to support scientists and entrepreneurs; and
  • • set the goal of preparing 100,000 science and math teachers over the next decade to meet “the urgent need” to train 1 million science, technology, engineering and math graduates.
     

Romney

  • • says the promotion of innovation “will begin on day one” by simplifying the corporate tax code, fixing job-retraining programs, reducing regulatory burdens and protecting U.S. intellectual property;
  • • emphasizes immigration reform to attract and retain skilled workers and says he’ll raise visa caps for them and give permanent residence status to foreign students who earn advanced degrees in relevant fields; and
  • • credits federally funded basic research with moving the U.S. forward “in astonishing ways” and says funds should go to research programs that advance the development of knowledge and technologies with widespread applications and potential.
     
     

Research and the future: Given that the next Congress will face spending constraints, what priority would you give to investment in research in your upcoming budgets?

Obama

  • • says he strongly supports investments in research and development that spur innovation and proposed that the U.S. invest more than 3 percent of its gross domestic product in public and private R&D, “exceeding the level achieved at the height of the space race.”
     

Romney

  • • says “continued funding would be a top priority in my budget” and that policies must ensure “federal research is being amplified in the private sector and that major breakthroughs (can) make the leap” from the lab to the market.
     
     

Science in public policy: We live in an era when science and technology affect every aspect of life and society and so must be included in well-informed public policy decisions. How will you ensure that policy and regulatory decisions are fully informed by the best available scientific and technical information and that the public is able to evaluate the basis of these policy decisions?

Obama

  • • says policies should be based on “the best science available and developed with transparency and public participation” and that he appointed advisers “based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology” and
  • • pledges to keep looking for new ways to improve transparency.
     

Romney

  • • pledges to let the best science and information guide his administration’s decisions and to “avoid the manipulation of science for political gain” and
  • • says “the costs and benefits of regulations will be properly weighed.”
     
     

The ASBMB strongly encourages you to stay engaged, to read the full statements from the candidates on these and other issues of importance to you, and to make informed decisions. Above all else, we strongly encourage you to get out and vote Nov. 6!


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2 Comments

  • The private sector does, and I am sure will continue to do, excellent research that is aimed at questions and problems of central importance to the specific industry. However, as everyone who will be reading this knows, there are several problems with a world in which all research is performed by the private sector. To name a few... (1) peer review is not a part of the system; (2) private sector research often is not published, or even released to the public; and (3) studies of subjects that are basic, but of little apparent or immediate value are seldom the focus of private sector research. While it is comforting to know that Mr Romney would "avoid the manipulation of science for political gain" as has happened within our memory, I am not at all comfortable with the shift to emphasizing private sector research. Call me paranoid if you wish, but I am seriously concerned. I prefer the direction Mr Obama will move the US research enterprise.

  • Obama is certainly more direct in his answers. Romney seems to think more along the lines that the private sector will pick up the research based on less regulations.

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