America first? Cutting science puts America last!

Harley Rouda

Whether it’s through groundbreaking medical advancements that give patients hope, technological innovations that propel society forward, or research and development that will prepare us for the challenges of tomorrow, public investment in science saves lives. But now, with Donald Trump’s irresponsible and immoral proposed federal budget cuts, it’s our turn to save science.

Trump’s budget proposal slashes federal funding for disease prevention programs, scientific and medical research, and health insurance for children of the working poor.

For some reason, this administration and his allies in Congress dismiss the importance of investing in this field, as if their healthcare bills, infrastructure packages, and economic stimulus proposals do not rely on the cost benefit analysis established through the scientific method.

This lack of investment in science permeates into all aspects of society. Our nation has already dropped to 25th in science education, trailing countries with far less economic capacity. We’re also poised to miss out on numerous job creation opportunities generated by research and new industries.

The rest of the world — especially China — will proceed at break-neck speed on these opportunities regardless of the US’s antiquated position. Our once-innovative country can either be a leader or a follower.

By removing from the budget imperative scientific funding, health programs that stand to benefit our most vulnerable citizens are now also on the chopping block. Future generations should not have to pay for our preventable mistakes.

If Trump gets his way, the both the CDC and National Institute of Health will lose almost 1/5 of their budget, stymying the development of some our budding medical sectors and according to the CDC director “would increase illness, death, risks to Americans, and health care costs.”

It’s as if Washington Republicans have been living under a rock since 2009. If for example, as much of the science community fears, HHS Secretary Tom Price reverts back to reinstating the federal ban on stem cell funding enacted by the previous Republican administration, it will erase almost a decade of progress, starving this imperative industry as it approaches the pinnacle of influence.

As one of his earliest official acts, President Obama directed funding to reestablish federal outlays for stem cells. And the progress made since speaks for itself.

The more we learn about genetic diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s, the more we realize the true potential of stem cells. Between periphery blood stem cell transplants that facilitate vital cell production, and injections that rebuild damaged brain and heart tissue, we are only beginning to scratch the surface of its life-saving potential.

Most politicians in Washington aren’t scientists or doctors. They should stop acting like experience on Capitol Hill can be a substitute. We should empower our experts to develop cures to chronic diseases that plague our communities, not look for ways to limit them. We need representatives that will fight for their constituents; science should never be subject to such partisan grandstanding.

There is an old saying that people’s reactions to new technologies and innovations can be categorized in three ways: “Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who say, ‘what happened?’” America, let’s be the ones who make it happen.

Harley Rouda

Written by

Businessman, philanthropist, attorney, father, husband. Common sense for common ground. Running for CA 48th District

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade