Foundation passes constitutional muster

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Earlier this month an innocuous congressional resolution (H.R. 1307) marking the 60th anniversary of the National Science Foundation failed to win unanimous approval, passing the House of Representatives 370-2.

Rep. Paul Broun, half of that cabal of two, represents District 10, my own home district. Broun, a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, also has oversight of the NSF and several other science agencies.

"Dr. Broun opposes funding for NSF primarily because it is not a constitutional government program," claims Debbee Keller, his communications director.

However, Broun appears to be confused on this matter, for three reasons.

First, according to the U.S. Constitution, Congress is supposed to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" here in the United States.

Second, in 1950, shortly after we dropped our atomic bombs, we discovered Russia had our nuclear secret. At the time the NSF was created, both we and the Soviet Union were engaged in a desperate race to get hydrogen bombs first; therefore, the NSF was created to help the United States achieve our military/scientific goals as a matter of national defense. The Constitution says: "Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence," as well as "To raise and support Armies ... ."

Third, we have seen the stated mission of the NSF, an independent federal agency created "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense ... ." The statement then continues: "(w)e are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing."

At this point, the NSF is central both to the U.S. homeland defense against terrorists and against cyberwarfare. And that mission statement entirely comports with the letter and spirit of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

Go ahead. Look it up and see for yourself.

Sandy Untermyer

Appling

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Trey Enfantay
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Trey Enfantay 05/20/10 - 01:23 am
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I really hope this writer is

I really hope this writer is not looking for a career as a constitutional attorney.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/20/10 - 04:34 am
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"To promote the Progress of

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Good lord...that is the copyright clause! Looks a little different when you post the entire sentence, doesn't it.

Amazing how the liberals will twist and distort the constitution, even mangle it or completely disregard it to meet their agenda.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 05/20/10 - 07:04 am
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I love government education.

I love government education. It's so obvious.

Dorion
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Dorion 05/20/10 - 07:10 am
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Where did you go to school,

Where did you go to school, Cliff?

FaceTheMusic
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FaceTheMusic 05/20/10 - 08:45 am
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It's simple. Broun is a

It's simple. Broun is a Republican; he doesn't believe in science.

Little Lamb
46899
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Little Lamb 05/20/10 - 11:22 am
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Thank you, Tigger, for

Thank you, Tigger, for bringing truth and clarity to the fuzzy-headed thinking of Sandy Untermeyer.

ohhsweetconcord
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ohhsweetconcord 05/20/10 - 12:56 pm
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Good letter. Extreme

Good letter. Extreme conservatives like Broun and most of the commentators on this site have a delusional view of the limits of the constitution. A strict libertarian reading of the constitution will get this country no where.

Chillen
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Chillen 05/20/10 - 01:07 pm
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ohhsweetconcord. Exactly

ohhsweetconcord. Exactly where do you want this country to go?

ohhsweetconcord
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ohhsweetconcord 05/20/10 - 01:32 pm
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Certainly not in the

Certainly not in the direction where organizations like the NSF are considered unconstitutional. Chillen, I think its valid to say things like Obamacare and the buyout of GM are unconstitutional. I don't necessarily agree that they're unconstitutional, but I think they are valid arguments. But the NSF as an unconstitutional organization? Is this where conservatism and libertarianism is heading? I sure hope not. Was the Louisiana purchase unconstitutional?

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 05/20/10 - 02:09 pm
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NSF is just another

NSF is just another government welfare program draped in different clothing. It, like about half of all government spending, could and should be abolished.

Local Interests
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Local Interests 05/20/10 - 02:38 pm
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Sure, do away with NSF, the

Sure, do away with NSF, the arts and all other expressions of higher thinking. Let the religious wing-nuts take over education.

At that point, why bother to fight in Afghanistan when we will have BECOME Afghanistan.

yak11
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yak11 05/20/10 - 02:40 pm
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Wow...I am thinking this must

Wow...I am thinking this must be the same constitution that allows liberals to declare rape isn't rape if a liberal commits the act. Or maybe its the consitution that says the government can use armed robbery to redistribute freedom. Poor Concorde...time for pasture, the sad fact is that in the FOUNDER's Day science etc were funded by private donations. But then socialists always know better what to do with our money than we do.

Nat the Cat
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Nat the Cat 05/20/10 - 04:54 pm
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Turn the Constitution upside

Turn the Constitution upside down and shake it so that the NSF will come falling out like spare change? Who will decide which programs or foundations that have simply become State "pork projects," will pass constitutional muster? Baron is right....scrap them all,[until after Term Limits are implemented], including but not limited to, the mating habits of the Oregon Beaver, and save this Country billions in taxpayer dollars, something that term limits would have done a long time ago. If there IS a wholesale anti-incumbent realignment in November, the first thing we should demand, and I mean everyone, Pubs, Dems, and Libs is Term Limits, so there is absolutely no benefit in an elected official bringing home the bacon in order to be re-elected.

ohhsweetconcord
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ohhsweetconcord 05/20/10 - 04:46 pm
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yak11, do you honestly

yak11, do you honestly believe private donations could carry current levels of scientific research? I don't see the billions of dollars available to contribute to research. Having a robust science community in America benefits everyone. We should strive to have a society that values scientific process. Oh sure, libertarians and conservatives will say that they support science. But policies that limit scientific funding HURT science in America, plain and simple. The LHC is about to make huge progress in physics in Europe and programs like that wouldn't be possible without public scientific funding. The costs are just too big.

And guess what? The Constitution does allow the government to take your money. Its a contract. Stop calling it armed robbery. You pay your dues to society because you live in it. The founders couldn't have possibly envisioned modern science and the budgetary requirements for scientific progress.

Why don't we get rid of libraries while we're at it? Surely that's something the founders would get behind.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/20/10 - 06:52 pm
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The first public library was

The first public library was founded by one of our nation's founders......with HIS MONEY....not with money confiscated from the public.

ohhsweetconcord
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ohhsweetconcord 05/20/10 - 07:12 pm
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That dodges the question.

That dodges the question. Your philosophy considers all uses of the public money illegitimate. It had no concept of social capital. You'd stop all library funding if you could.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/20/10 - 07:29 pm
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Oh please...tell us all MY

Oh please...tell us all MY philosophy. I'm so glad you know all about me.....let's hear it. My God, the arrogance of some of these liberals........ They know better how to spend your money than you do. And they claim to know your "philosophy" when you disagree with something they say.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/20/10 - 07:48 pm
0
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Provide for the common

Provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.....................not take your money and spend it on every pet pork project you can find, to ensure that you get re-elected!

ohhsweetconcord
3
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ohhsweetconcord 05/20/10 - 08:09 pm
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I'm not a liberal. Have we

I'm not a liberal. Have we really gotten to the point when someone says "Hey, the government can actually do good!" that they're a liberal? Reagan was a good president, but his rhetoric about government being the problem was wrong. Tigger, I've read enough of your posts on this website to know a little about your views on government, but I wasn't even referring specifically to you. It was more of a general "ya'll." If anything I was referring to ole' loony bin Broun. Jeesh, calm yourself down.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/20/10 - 08:15 pm
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I'm perfectly

I'm perfectly calm.

Yeah...the government DOES do something something well.......wastefully spend money.

If you "know a little about my views on government" you wouldn't have claimed I would stop all funding of libraries if I could, nor would you have said I consider all uses of public money as illigetimate.

And your reply certainly DID seem to be aimed DIRECTLY at me...since it was I that you accused of dodging your question, followed immediately by "YOUR philosophy."

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 05/20/10 - 10:39 pm
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pay - every agency, cause,

pay - every agency, cause, pork, welfare project can tout how little of the tax funding they take compared to the entire pie but it all adds up and it should all be abolished.

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 05/20/10 - 10:42 pm
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And replaced with what? Do

And replaced with what? Do you have any idea how ineffective private enterprise is at basic discovery? That no drug target has ever been discovered in a pharmaceutical firm? That we are sitting here on a system (the internet) designed and paid for by tax payers? Would you like not to have it? This is America dude. This is way we have conquered the world. If you don't like it, move to a country that does not have these things and peddle your anarchistic crap. No one needs it here.

baronvonreich
0
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baronvonreich 05/20/10 - 10:53 pm
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Private enterprise is

Private enterprise is ineffective at discovery? lol. They would be alot more effective if they could direct their exorbitant taxes to more R&D. I can see you like this socialist country that America has grown into over the past century but it has only pushed it to the brink of insolvency and is unsustainable.

And to think the internet would never have been developed without the government and tax dollars is just insane.

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 05/20/10 - 10:59 pm
0
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You don't know what socialism

You don't know what socialism is. We have given massive tax breaks to Big Pharma (to say nothing of Bush's Prescription giveaway) and they invested nothing into R&D. They can't afford it because the failure rate is too high. It would be the equivalent of educating yourself by purchasing every book in the library. What Pharma wants (and supports) is the idea of a library of targets that they can competitively develop. The targets are identified by a competitive mechanism using non-government scientists. The identified targets are released to Big Pharma that then competes to develop the best drugs. This has pushed us to the forefront of medicine for decades.

Of course, I am sure your deep knowledge of the how the world works can identify another country that is doing it better. Please point that out for us.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/21/10 - 05:59 am
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I can't believe someone is

I can't believe someone is claiming that the Government is MORE efficient at ANYTHING, that's quite laughable..............how about back that statement up with some facts.

Tigger_The_Tiger
0
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/21/10 - 06:09 am
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When people criticize Obama

When people criticize Obama for being a socialist, just bring up past "republican" presidents and their shameful spending...........you see, that doesn't work on true conservatives. Most of us also don't like it when republicans spend foolishly either. That's what makes us different from Dems....we don't give blind allegiance. That's what the tea party movement is all about.

UncleBill
6
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UncleBill 05/21/10 - 06:43 am
0
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So back to the subject of the

So back to the subject of the letter, it seems that Pual Broun will vote NO for anything, rather than have to think.

corgimom
33999
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corgimom 05/21/10 - 07:20 am
0
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Benjamin Franklin didn't

Benjamin Franklin didn't establish a public library, it was a private subscription library.

Public circulating libraries in the US did not exist until the 1800's.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 05/21/10 - 09:11 am
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Benjamin Franklin did invent

Benjamin Franklin did invent the first public library. He founded a club called the Junto, in which he and some other friends read books and discussed them so that they could improve their rhetoric. Since books were scarce, they would buy them and pool them so that eventually it grew into the first public library.

http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventors/franklin.htm

dichotomy
34349
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dichotomy 05/21/10 - 10:38 am
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The NSF has become just

The NSF has become just another "pass through" organization for taking taxpayer money and passing it out to every kook who can write a grant application. Once they hand out all the money they keep coming back to Congress asking for more money to pass out to more kooks. As for the writer, she showed her intelligence (or lack thereof) when she cut out the meaningful parts of Article I, Section 8 and only quoted the first few words. I'm sure Obama would make her a Supreme Court justice. I too think it is not the government's job to be handing out grant money....to anyone.....for anything. That's pretty much all the NSF does. They hand out your money to other people, not based on the merits of the project but mostly based on the buzz words of a grant application written by a highly paid professional grant writer. Rep. Broun's views on who should be getting government money are probably more correct than most of you would agree with I'm for anyone who wants to quit handing out our taxpayer money non-government, non-constitutional uses. The NSF is just another quasi-government agency that takes tons of your money and passes it out to private organizations and does little or no supervision as to what those people do with YOUR money. They need to take the NSF and throw them in the same poke with Fannie and Freddie and kill all three programs. Getting an NSF grant is the gold standard of the meaning of the word lucrative for grant writers. It's guaranteed "buy that vacation home" time.

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