OK, this is a deliberately inflammatory headline, kind of in keeping with the Tweet school of communication from the Trump administration.
But I’m mad. Parkinson’s research is at a very exciting, pivotal time right now and a lot of that research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But Trump has proposed cutting 18% of the NIH budget for 2018. THAT’S NEARLY A FIFTH OF THE BUDGET! Oh, and six months into the current fiscal year, he’s also proposed cutting $1.2 billion from this year’s budget.
Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), testified before Congress on March 29 and had the chutzpah (or idiocy) to say that this cut would not result in any reduction in research. His magic math is that all the cuts would come from overhead — ALL of the overhead payments would be cut. No overhead payments mean no heat, no paper, no computers, no animal feed, no payroll (because overhead payments cover all those folks in the Finance Department) — gosh, doesn’t this sound like a promising environment for research?
Even the Republican chair, Representative Tom Cole (R–OK), of the appropriations subcommittee that Price was testifying before said “this committee, and certainly me personally, will be very hesitant about” the proposed cut to NIH and other parts of HHS.
Michael White, a genetics professor at Washington University, warned: “According to an analysis by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, based on a model by former NIH official Jeremy Berg, Trump’s budget could force the NIH to reduce the number of new proposals by a jaw-dropping 88 percent in 2018.”
White also warned of the longer-term impact on research infrastructure: “[This massive nearly 20% cut by the Trump administration] would set the agency’s budget back 15 years, below its 2003 level. Such a drastic cut would not just reduce the amount of science done by U.S. scientists — it would harm our scientific workforce and infrastructure in ways that would take years, if not decades, to recover from.”
Mr. Trump, could you please explain to me why destroying the US’s medical research infrastructure is good for the economy? How, exactly, will depriving me of advances in Parkinson’s research “make America great again”? Oh, that’s right…you need to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and a wall along the Mexican border.
I’m emailing this post to my Congressional delegation, and to Trump, and Price. Please join me in protesting this ridiculous, harmful cut to NIH.