Stem Cell Research Funding

Michael Tanner at the Cato Institute notes that the recent furor over stem cell research really isn’t the bioethics, but who should pay for the research.

First, this is not a debate about whether stem cell research should be legal. It is, and no one in Congress or the Bush administration has proposed banning it. In fact, there are at least nine private stem cell research centers across the country. The largest, at Harvard University, employs more than 100 researchers and recently unveiled 17 new stem cell lines.

No, this is really a fight about money, about whether the federal government should fund the research. And, as such, it is a perfect example of how science becomes politicized when government money is involved.

I think the last part is a valid point. Often times when the government funds scientific research the government might have a vested interest in the outcome. In this case it is certainly true.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Science & Technology, US Politics, , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. To see the stem cell debate explained with visuals and how the political argument put forth by the President is ultimately an absurd manipulation of the facts…link here:

  2. floyd says:

    although i did not vote for him; today made me proud to have george w. bush as president. [and yes, i read the above thoughttheatre piece]. if only those of us who chose to be “proscience with a conscience” were only half as smart as those who make science their religion with an agenda.{sigh}

  3. whatever says:

    Yes, the government has SO much money, they should put it into areas where Venture Capitalists are already pouring it. Maybe they can put some money into internet start-ups and other areas where there is a “government interest”.

  4. I think that this could have been an example of the GOP big tent in action. Positioning this as wrong for several reason could have united the diverse elements. Wrong because the market place is better than the government on determining how promising the research is. Wrong because when you are running a deficit, the government should be spending its money on essential government functions, not inessentials. Wrong because of the ethical issues of trading one life for another. You would have everything for the people under the big tent except for the national security republicans.