The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand Monetary Sovereignty, do not understand economics. If you understand the following, simple statement, you are ahead of most economists, politicians and media writers in America: Our government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to create the dollars to pay its bills.
Another reminder about why reducing the federal deficit is national suicide: Your health, your children’s health and your grandchildren’s health is being threatened — no more than threatened, compromised. And it’s all because of the myth the federal deficit and federal debt are “unsustainable.”
While the myth is easily disproved, the politicians, media and mainstream economists refuse to learn.
By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
WASHINGTON — A disease standoff may be brewing: How can Alzheimer’s research receive more scarce dollars without cutting from areas like heart disease or cancer?
In one of the stark realities of the budget crisis, scientists’ chances of winning research dollars from the National Institutes of Health for any condition have dipped to a new low.
“We are clearly not able to support a lot of great science that we would like to support,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told senators last week. This year, for every six grant applications that NIH receives, “five of them are going to go begging.”
That’s down from nearly 1 in 3 grants funded a decade ago, and 1 in 5 last year. And it comes before the looming fight over how much more to cut in overall government spending for next year, and where to make those cuts.
Already, a new report says one of the biggest losers is aging research, despite a rapidly graying population that promises a worsening epidemic of dementia, among other illnesses.
“Nobody wants to say Alzheimer’s is worse than diabetes or heart disease or cancer,” says Dr. Sam Gandy, a prominent neuroscientist at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
But “part of the problem now with all the pressure to cut the budget … is that for Alzheimer’s to get more, something else has to lose,” adds Gandy. His own lab is scrambling for funds to study a potential dementia drug after losing out on an NIH aging grant.
The NIH pays for much of the nation’s leading biomedical research. Republicans and Democrats alike have long been staunch supporters. But the agency’s nearly $31 billion budget offers an example of the hard choices facing lawmakers, especially if they’re to meet House calls for a drastic scale-back of overall government spending.
So which do you fear more: Disease or the federal deficit, knowing the federal government has proved it can support any size deficit? Have you been so brainwashed by the Tea (formerly Republican) Party nuts, you are willing to lay your health, and the health of your family on the line?
Consider aging issues.
The NIH spends about $469 million on Alzheimer’s research, says a new report from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America that criticizes overall aging research as “a minuscule and declining investment.”
About 5.4 million Americans now have Alzheimer’s disease, and studies suggest health and nursing home expenditures for it cost more than $170 billion a year, much of it paid by Medicare and Medicaid.
NIH’s Collins told a Senate appropriations subcommittee that there’s a “very frightening cost curve.” In 2050, when more than 13 million Americans are projected to have Alzheimer’s, the bill is expected to reach a staggering $1 trillion. But he said that cost could be halved merely by finding a way to delay people getting Alzheimer’s by five years.
The debt-hawks are fond of showing you graphs illustrating (falsely) how the increase in older people will cause Social Security and Medicare to run out of money. But have they ever shown you a graph illustrating how many more people will get Alzheimers, for lack of medical research?
Monday, Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich jumped into the debate, saying that over the next four decades Alzheimer’s could cost the government a total of $20 trillion. He suggested selling U.S. bonds to raise money for research rather than have the disease compete each year for a share of the federal budget.
“We are grotesquely underfunded,” Gingrich said of health research dollars.
Yes, we are. Nice of him to notice. But creating T-securities out of thin air, then exchanging them for dollars we previously created out of thin air is foolish.
How foolish? Newt favors reducing the debt, but his bond-selling plan increases the debt. This demonstrates the idiocy of the Tea (formerly Republican) Party debt-reduction position. We wouldn’t need to struggle with complex, convoluted, nonsensical plans if we simply would end the debt-hawk control over our thinking. Stop selling bonds; fund with deficit spending.
Competition for today’s dollars is fierce, with applications up 60 percent at the aging division alone since 2003. Aging chief Dr. Richard Hodes says last year, his institute couldn’t pay for about half of what were ranked as the most outstanding applications for research projects. Still, he hopes to fund more scientists this year by limiting the number who get especially large grants.
What’s the squeeze? Congress doubled the NIH’s budget in the early 2000s, an investment that helped speed the genetic revolution and thus a host of new projects that scientists are clamoring to try. But in more recent years, economists say NIH’s budget hasn’t kept pace with medical inflation, and this year Congress cut overall NIH funding by 1 percent
The Obama administration has sought nearly $32 billion for next year, and prospects for avoiding a cut instead are far from clear. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs the subcommittee that oversees the issue, warns that under some early-circulating House plans to curb health spending, “severe reductions to NIH research would be unavoidable.”
Still the Tea (formerly Republican) Party doesn’t get it. They don’t understand the simple premise that medical progress requires medical research.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., pushed Collins to make the case that investments in medical research really can pay off.
Collins’ response: Four decades of NIH-led research revealed how arteries get clogged and spurred development of cholesterol-fighting statin drugs, helping lead to a 60 percent drop in heart-disease deaths. Averaged out, that research cost about $3.70 per person per year, “the cost of a latte, and not even a grande latte,” Collins told lawmakers.
Get it now, debt hawks? Probably not. But are you willing to fight for your family’s health? Contact your Washington representatives and tell them our lives are being threatened by their misguided budget-reduction nonsense.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. It’s been 40 years since the U.S. became Monetary Sovereign, , and neither Congress, nor the President, nor the Fed, nor the vast majority of economists and economics bloggers, nor the preponderance of the media, nor the most famous educational institutions, nor the Nobel committee, nor the International Monetary Fund have yet acquired even the slightest notion of what that means.
Remember that the next time you’re tempted to ask a dopey teenager, “What were you thinking?” He’s liable to respond, “Pretty much what your generation was thinking when it screwed up my future.”