Common Ground with Republicans: Nix NSF Funding for Economics

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Dean Baker
TPMCafé, February 18, 2011

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One of the items on cut list for House Republicans is the National Science Foundation (NSF). They want to cut $150 million, or 2.2 percent, from its 2010 budget for the current fiscal year.

This should be a place where progressives can find common ground with Republicans. Virtually no economists could see the $8 trillion housing bubble whose collapse wrecked the economy. Recognizing the bubble required nothing more than knowledge of the basic arithmetic that most of us learned in the third grade. There was no excuse for someone who does economics for a living to have failed to see the bubble and recognize its danger.

This is a profession that is hopelessly corrupt and incapable of change. In fact, in the wake of the economic disaster brought about by incompetent economists the Fed paid for a study that concluded:

"The state-of-the-art tools of economic science were not capable of predicting with any degree of certainty the collapse of U.S. house prices that started in 2006."

The NSF spent $99 million funding economics and related research last year. Let the Wall Street banks pay for this tripe. Progressives should join hands with the Tea Party folks and zero out the NSF funding for economics. (We should go after the Fed's funding for economic research also.)


Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. He also has a blog, "Beat the Press," where he discusses the media's coverage of economic issues.