back to article Obama pledges 3% of GDP for science

President Barack Obama has set the goal of devoting more than 3 per cent of the US gross domestic product (GDP) to science research and development. That amount would be the largest-ever US investment in science research and innovation, Obama said during a speech on Monday to the US National Academy of Sciences in Washington …


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  1. Andrew Fraser
    Paris Hilton

    3% of zero is still Zero 'bama

    Given the huge amount of US debt being generated almost daily, your not going to have that much GDP to work with.

    Now you have ManBirdPig flu, expect the market to crash even further, as countries start banning US food imports.

    Paris, because loves a good debate on DP

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah right

    like technologists will actually see this. It will just go into the Uni slush funds for the professors, or whizzed away by DARPA.

  3. Alan Esworthy
    Thumb Down

    Arrogant Despot

    Note how he assumes, and assumes all his subjects acquiesce to the idea, that 3% of GDP is his to spend. The view this man has of the relationship between the people and the government is nothing less than perversion on the grandest scale.

    May Bo bite him on the ass.

  4. Chris
    Thumb Up

    As long as flying cars are on the agenda...

    I'd be happy.

  5. John Latham


    Announcement of massive investment in science from a new president.

    There are currently 4 comments through moderation.

    The first three offer various levels of cynical bitching about money and politics, and the fourth hopes for a flying car.

    Is it too much to expect a bit more positivity from the readers of a technology/science website?

  6. Martin Gregorie

    Finding the 3% should be easy...

    ...just claw it back from the w^Hbankers.

    If its left in their claws it (A) won't get lent to any businesses because (B) it will magically turn into a Bank Boss Bonus.

    OTOH, spend it on energy research and it will all get out into the economy as wages, equipment purchases, etc., so its money well spent helping the economy even in the unlikely event of the research finding nothing new or useful.

  7. Jach

    It's a start

    Personally I'd like to see more. But this is the right direction.

  8. twelvebore

    Moon shot impossible

    It's a good job the US has already got the going-to-the-moon thing out of the way. If some of the comments here by members of the US public are anything to go by there ain't a hope in hell that such a vision would get anywhere today. Sad really, once it was a country that led by example, aspired to do the impossible, to push the boundaries. Now it's just a nation of narrow-minded, myopic people bitching and moaning about government spending and their latest tax returns.

    Truly the US's global leadership is lost - time to move over and let China take up the baton chaps.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Wait 3%?

    Still seems like very little to me. 8% would be better to put it at around $1T..

    Then you will see some real results.

    Thumbs up because it's at least better than it was.

  10. jason

    Compared with defence spending at 4.06% GDP...

    ...I'd say at least some of this investment might put a smile on someones face rather than ripping it off.

    My god what might the USA turn into??? According to all the right wing pundits -Sweden!!

    They wish!

    I guess the problem is that right wingers havent been investing too much in tech/science industries recently for fear of godly reprisals.

    In the past it was better to invest in firms that killed, destroyed and then rebuilt (well at least said they would try) countries.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Mr Negativity

    here's your pompoms and your jug of delusion juice.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    The key words here is high risk and long term, just because you spend more dosn't mean you will get anything back for it, let alone in a few years.

    Not that spending money on technology is a bad thing if you have the spare cash lying around it appears to be a better investment than the banking system ^^, but at this point in time isn't there more important things to address? unless he knows something we don't.

  13. Jim Cosser
    Thumb Up

    Great news

    Now this really is good news, not good for the UK though we need to do something similar. Investment is Science will bring serious financial benefits in the future if directly correctly.

  14. Mike

    I like him

    Someone in charge who doesn't think that science is the devils work.

    @Andrew Fraser

    GDP (G as in Gross, as in before deductions)

    @Alan Esworthy

    Umm... you see this is how democracy works, people vote to put a government in place to make these decisions, so yes he decides how to spend the peoples money, because the people asked him to.

    Of course this is all accedemic, some evangelical nutter will probably off the guy (because god told him to) before he has a chance to undo the damage that Bush has done.

  15. Lord of Dogtown

    So India wil be happy

    As they said in 'Mosters vs Aliens' get our best brains on this one, somebody call India.

    Now not so funny as its kind of reality.

    Oh well, I hope my Indian overlords are kind to me when outsourcing some crappy IT support project.

  16. BioTube

    We're bitching and moaning

    Because there's no money to invest. The only way to fund this is through increasing the already monumental deficit he has planned - and investors are not getting as excited about T-bills, making the Fed run the printing presses. I can't wait for Obama's youthful, energetic portrait on the new hundred trillion dollar bill.

  17. Alan Esworthy

    Arrogant Despot running dogs

    @Latham: I resent having an ever higher proportion of my productive effort taken away from me without my consent and spent in ways of which I disapprove. Even if the goal is feeding a starving granny I suspect you would not want to get there by means of armed robbery.

    @Mike: Yes, I see how a democracy works, you twit. The US is a constitutional republic with a constitution that enumerates the powers of the federal government. Those powers do not include the use of force to support scientific research. The method for modifying the constitution exists and involves actions by democratically elected representatives. This method of amendment has been used many times, but not for this purpose.

    I am glad for scientific and technological research. It has made my life immeasurably better. increased the whole world's standard of living. Cretins in government are interested only in feeding their political power hunger and feathering the beds of their pals and campaign donors. Whoever supports the idea of making politicians and bureaucrats in charge of such serious affairs is either very, very stupid or is making his living sucking on the government teat.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If wishes were horses,

    beggers (and basic-research scientists) would ride.

    Having worked in govt labs in basic research for my whole career, I can confidently predict that most of any moneys approved for so-called "basic" research will be "reinterpreted" to mean applied research and technology, heavily earmarked by the congressional representatives of special interests, and, by and large, wasted.

    I say that because that has been the case for almost 20 years. That has been one of the principle reasons why the U.S. has fallen on such tough times for scientific research and why the competent upper echelon of civil-servant technical managers, who were expert at sorting the wheat from the chaff, have left in disgust to be replaced by those who willingly do the special interests' bidding. The former were given a choice of accepting funding with strings (to specific special interests) attached or no money at all.

    Throwing money from the top-down will create much sound and fury, but until the structural problems in scientific funding and expenditure are fixed, it will signify very little.

  19. Bounty

    not really

    " but at this point in time isn't there more important things to address"

    Investing in tech/infrastructure makes jobs, which fixes the economy and increases GDP. Positive loops are good things.

  20. Andrew Fraser


    What does the US actually produce these days ?

    They outsourced most everything to China and India, and the few industries they do have *cough*car*cough* are in the process of going titsup.

    The US has gutted all their manufactuing and service industries, which seems to be at the heart of their debt problem. They don't produce anything, just just buy it in with increasingly crappier US dollars. Its sad that I see the UK and Australia (yes I am an Aussie) following them down the same road to the bankrupt cul de sac. I am happily up here in Canada, and staying here.

    I saw your UK budget, and I really do feel for you, I expect our will be just as hairbrained, but at least we will have a faster fibre system than you.

    All the Yanks produce these days is debt, and ways to loose wars slowly..

    Mine's the one with "Made in China" on the label..

  21. jason
    Thumb Down

    @ Andrew Fraser

    Actually the UK was about the first western economy to enter the "we dont make anything anymore" scenario back in the late 70's.

    We havent been an industrial nation for well over 25 years. Instead we went white collar economy of banking and commercial enterprises....which we've now also screwed up.

    Thats one way Britain has always been 20+ years ahead of the rest of the western world.

    I really dont know what else we have left to turn to. I feel so proud.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Alan Eswothry


    You've used some pretty strong language. Unless I've lost the power of

    my native tongue, you're saying

    (a) It is unconstitutional in the US for the government to levy taxes

    and much more dangerously

    (b) a Government agent forced you at gunpoint to hand over money.

    Now, if either of them were true, I'd think I'd be in touch with a

    damn good lawyer rather than a UK-based bulletin board! What's your real beef?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AC 4/27 22:24

    "Like technologists will actually see this. It will just go into the Uni slush funds for the professors, or whizzed away by DARPA."

    FFS. Universities and DARPA don't magically make money disappear - the money ends up being spent in the Ralphs in Pasadena, or wherever, or the local rental housing market, etc, and the rest gets spent on *buying things and services from private suppliers*. It *goes back into the economy*.

    Fair enough, you can ask yourself, "why shouldn't we fund this all privately?"; and we in the US are lucky enough to have a history of philanthropists who have funded, and continue to fund, basic science. But we didn't go to the Moon on their back. You wanna do the big stuff, you gotta do it with taxes. Debate about the level, fair enough - dammit we have to do that for many non-science items to stop pork-barreling - and debate about whether NASA should be focusing on manned exploration rather than basic science (my own hobbyhorse!) - but please don't claim that the money "disappears". It's just factually wrong. Be honest - if you see federal money being spent on something you disagree with for reason X or Y or Z, stand up and say X, Y, Z. Don't hide behind populist rhetoric. Speak your truth.

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