Fri, Sep 27, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Paralysis and lack of vision slowly destroying a great nation

The Republican Party is being taken over by a Tea Party faction that is threatening to shut down the US government and undermine the nation’s vitality

By Thomas Friedman  /  NY Times News Service

Of those 640 top research proposals, 150 were from scientists financed in a previous budget cycle who had returned to the NIH to secure another three to five years of funding — because they thought they were really onto something and a peer-review board agreed.

“Now we are cutting them off, so you damage the previous investment as well as the future one,” Collins said.

Next year, the NIH was planning to offer new money to stimulate research proposals in a dozen areas, including how to speed up the use of stem cells to cure Parkinson’s and other diseases, how to better manage pain in sickle-cell disease and how to improve early diagnosis of autism. All were shelved because of the sequester, Collins said.

“Why ask people to submit applications we would just have to turn down?” he asked.

In addition, this year the NIH had to turn away from its research hospital 750 patients who wanted to be part of clinical trials for disorders for which medicine currently has no answers.

NEEDING A PLAN

The US’ biomedical ecosystem depends heavily on the NIH doing basic research the private sector will not do. So the US is cutting the medical research that has the potential to prevent and cure the very diseases that are driving healthcare costs upward.

In short, the US is cutting without a plan — the worst thing a country or company can do — and it is doing it because one of the two political parties has been taken over by angry radicals and barking fools, and the old leadership is running scared.

I have plenty of issues with Democrats. They are not blameless for our paralysis, but when the Republican Party goes this far off the rails, it is not even remotely challenging US President Barack Obama to challenge his base on taxes and entitlements.

Thus does a great country, with so much potential, slowly become ungreat.

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