$17 Trillion in Debt? No Problem
This week, the House is expected to vote on the Kids First Research Act (H.R. 2019), which would eliminate taxpayer financing of party conventions and reprogram savings to a 10-year pediatric research initiative via the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While no one questions the intent, these funds would be best used for deficit reduction, not the creation of a new program.
Rather than create a new NIH program, the NIH could eliminate its own wasteful spending and reallocate its resources to more pressing research needs, such as pediatric research. The Heritage Foundation explains that once created, the program may last indefinitely:
the funding source for this new program would end [after 10 years], leaving a question mark for the new NIH program once the accumulated funds… have been spent. It would open the door for potentially higher spending on NIH grants in the future.
The Heritage Foundation has also identified myriad examples of wasteful spending by the NIH, such as $295,364 that went toward research indicating that male fruit flies are more attracted to younger female fruit flies than older female fruit flies and $548,731 that was spent to acquire evidence that heavy drinking in a person’s thirties can lead to feelings of immaturity, while in their twenties it would not.
Our national debt is more than $17 trillion, and in such an economic environment, there are better, more prudent ways for the NIH to operate than they are currently. In light of that, the funds in question would be best diverted to deficit reduction.