Friday, August 23, 2019

Trump's War on Science

The Union of Concerned Scientists has compiled a list of the Trump Administration's efforts to silence the science that they don't like.  Although they don't involve locking scientists in cages, the kind of treatment that immigrants are getting at the southern border, the fact that they are ignoring science is a bad practice for the long-term benefit of the country.

There are a few particular points that are galling:

USDA announced a decision to relocate two of its research agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), from Washington DC to the Kansas City region. Scientists from these agencies have been quitting in large numbers as a result of this reorganization.   With almost no notice, the USDA decided to move major research agencies from the D.C.-area to Kansas City.  Scientists were given only a few months to decide to relocate their families or quit their jobs.  The rationale for the move seems to be largely fabricated.

According to the Huffington Post, "Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, ...speaking to the South Carolina Republican Party, brought up the USDA move and how many workers decided to resign because of it, calling it 'a wonderful way to sort of streamline government.'"  This move may also be illegal, since it isn't authorized by Congressional appropriation.

There is a general effort to suppress information on climate change in several agencies:  

Although these items may look insignificant by themselves, they show a larger pattern.  They all have the name of Trump on them, but clearly Trump had little to do with them personally in any detail.  They indicate that there are plenty of people in the Administration who are willing to take measures to follow Trump's directive to stop talking about climate change and pay little attention to scientific or rational discussions of issues.

This pattern may affect the way the government and the country is run for years into the future.