Trump’s Absurd Science Budget Cut Proposals, and Their Defeats
It is sad to see Trump and his Political Appointees attempt to remove funding for projects related to climate science and environmental protection, while the Congress again ignores them, and in fact, provides increases. It eludes me what Trump seeks to accomplish by this strategy, unless it is the serious disruption it causes by delaying funding by three or four months. This endangers graduate students and post-doctoral researchers from continuing their education and work. Or, it could be that Trump is just pleasing his oilgarch funders, or following the Heritage Foundation, which is the same thing.
Overall, proposed basic and applied research reductions in the 2020 budget were $12 billion, or a reduction of 14%.
Rather than examining the entire science budget, we focus on a few programs where the proposed cuts were severe or total. These seem focused on climate science and education, as well as clean energy research.
Our data are the Deal or preliminary from the AAAS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Science magazine, and the final from the AIP, American Institute of Physics. We also have the “EPA Budget in Brief” proposal, from March, 2019, for a breakdown.
The proposed cut by Trump for the EPA overall budget was 32%. From $8.8 billion in FY 2019, he proposed cutting it to $6.1B for 2020. That would cut it from 14,376 employees down to 12,415. Going through the 108 page summary budget, a lot of the cuts in areas were to Zero, claiming that the States could pick up the funding, and had the experience to carry out the inspections themselves. It’s clear why the Congress had to reject this. The “justification” for the cuts reads like “newspeak” from the novel “1984” by George Orwell, which has no negative terms. They claim they are cleaning the air, water, oceans by making severe cuts. Or, they say that other programs will pick up the actions, with no details given. You can see the 14,000 dedicated employees trying to express the programs’ importance, while their Political Appointee bosses make the cuts. EPA Science and Technology 2019 was Trump proposed at $463 million, and funded at $716 million, a 1.4% increase from $706 million in 2019. As we have covered before, many regulations were reduced, some reductions are being challenged in court, and many science advisory boards are being eliminated, reduced, or replaced with industry scientists.
Trump promised that for every new regulation, he would remove two. In his first two years with the EPA, he exceeded that: 26 removals and only 4 new regulations. The Sierra Club publicized some of the industry types in the EPA as political appointees.
The National Institute of Health, previously funded at $39,306 million, was proposed cut to $34,368, and increased to $41,862, a 6.5% increase.
The National Science Foundation was at $8,075 million in 2019, proposed cut to $7,066 million in 2020, and funded at $8,278 million, a 2.5% gain. However, when you are at the receiving end, your faculty, technician, and graduate student salaries are rising. The cost of equipment is also increasing, and competitive research equipment is getting more sophisticated and more expensive.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology did suffer a real cut, from $820 million in 2019, proposed at $582 million, and funded at $737 million, a 10.1% cut.
The Department of Commerce NOAA Research Office was $566 million, proposed cut to $335 million, and funded at $590 million, a 4.3% gain.
The US Geological Survey was at $1,161 million, proposed cut to $983 million, and funded at $1,271, a 9.5% increase.
We will look at the Department of Energy sectors, NASA sectors, and NOAA sectors in another article.
We have to mention that the Trump tax cuts, advertised to increase tax revenue, have led to a 50% increase in the deficit, which will be over $1 trillion this year.