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J. Harry Caufield

It's worrisome to see politics bleed into science. It's even more alarming to see sources of scientific funding dry up because they don't fit a specific agenda. The National Science Foundation, under directive from Congress, recently cut off funding for political science research except for that "promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States." It's a rather general guideline for a specific field. It also reveals how legislators feel about the role of any science and when it deserves to be funded: we want results, we want them now, and we want we certainly don't need any context.

The NSF spent more than $7 billion last year. It's where 20 percent of the money for federally-funded research in the US comes from. That total goes a long way and contributes to numerous fields, from engineering to education. It's only a matter of time before some Congressman decides an entire field of research doesn't need federal funding at all.