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Financial Support of Science and Technology: A Profitable Investment For The Government

We are hearing a great deal these days about the United States' federal budget deficit and its recessive position in global economic competition. What we are not hearing enough about is the central role that advances in science and technology must play if these problems are to be solved. Washington keeps telling scientists that "you people are just like everyone looking for a handout" and that "if this stuff you want to do is really worth doing, private industry should fund it." I disagree--in

Richard Cramer
We are hearing a great deal these days about the United States' federal budget deficit and its recessive position in global economic competition. What we are not hearing enough about is the central role that advances in science and technology must play if these problems are to be solved.

Washington keeps telling scientists that "you people are just like everyone looking for a handout" and that "if this stuff you want to do is really worth doing, private industry should fund it." I disagree--indeed, I strongly believe that government support of entrepreneurial research and development presents a golden opportunity to the taxpayer. If one considers the government as an investor, each dollar spent on R&D has the potential for returning many more tax dollars in the future, with a multiplier effect much greater than that of any other federal spending.

As an example: About 10 years ago I had an...

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