Grant Taxing: to Dr.States

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Wed Jan 3 12:42:39 EST 1996

On Tue, 2 Jan 1996, David J. States wrote:

> I would be happy to take a 3% tax on my salary to fund basic
> biomedical research if it were matched by:
> 	- all the physicians in the country
> 	- all the ancillary health care personnel
> 	- all of the hospital managers, health insurers and HMOs
> 	- all of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology
> 		companies
> But if you are going to ask me to take a tax on my salary
> or grant (sorry, but for alot of us there really is no difference), 
> then I don't see why these others should get a free ride.  Afterall, 
> without basic biomedical science, they would not be in business.
> And I really do not see the rationale for equalizing funding among
> researchers.  Some areas of research are far more expensive than 
> others, and some areas are of higher (or lower) priority.  Economies 
> of scale are real in science as anywhere else.  Finally, there are 
> too many hidden subsidies to make such a system possible (state 
> supported salaries, mixing of teaching and research funds, 
> differences in endowments, varying institutional accounting practices
> to name just a few).
> David


Dear Dr. States: 

In my previous postings I think I tried explain carefully
why the grant taxing is NOT (contrary to what you state above)  
a vehicle to provide a free ride to free-loaders but a way 
(perhaps, imperfect, perhaps only first step) to make BASIC
funding be availbale to many ACTIVE and PRODUCTIVE researchers
who are presently cut-off by the over-competitive and
over-selective granting system.
You can certainly say that the present (over-competitive,
over-selective) system suits you perfectly and you don't 
want any changes or (God forbides) sharing with those less
lucky in a grantsmanship game. That's fine - you have the 
right to hold this position. But don't expect all to agree with
you or stop questioning grantsmanship attitudes, incliuding
more-and-more strongly sounding question:

"Does the the present systems [ grantsmanship, 
establishement, etc ] really delivers as much at 
it [ the system ] says it does ?" 

For those who want to see, there are enough evidences
around that people 'down there' are less and less inclined 
to take the promises this system makes to the society for 

It is up to the system to make the first tangible move
to improve its image. The proposal of taxing is at least
suggests some concerete action.

What are the CONSTRUCTIVE proposals from YOUR side ?

Alexander A. Berezin, PhD
Department of Engineering Physics
McMaster University, Hamilton,
Ontario, Canada, L8S 4L7
tel. (905) 525-9140 ext. 24546


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