Steven Benowitz's page 1 story (The Scientist, March 17, 1997) is entitled "Scientists Optimistic About Clinton's Federal R&D Budget." Which scientists? The only ones identified in the text who are not disconsolate about the Clinton budget are senior federal political appointees in various departments and agencies-Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy-who don't get to have their own opinions (if they want to keep their jobs).

The proposed budget data reported in The Scientist indicate that while the funding of the National Institutes of Health and NSF will barely keep them even with inflation, the emphasis is strongly on applied research and development, including the marginal "research" performed by regulatory agencies. Basic research gets short shrift in spite of its stunning history of spawning whole new fields such as microelectronics and biotechnology.

The closer one looks at the Clinton budget, the...

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