Obama seeks $100M to Unlock Mysteries of the Brain

By , Posted on Apr 04, 2013
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“What if computers could respond to our thoughts? Or language barriers could come tumbling down? Or if millions of Americans were suddenly finding new jobs in these fields — jobs we haven’t even dreamt up yet because we chose to invest in this project? That is the future we are imagining. That is what we are hoping for,” the president said in an event in the East Room of the White House. CNN

BrainPresident Obama on Tuesday said that federal agencies plan to spend $100 million to jump start a study to map the human brain. It’s research that could lead to breakthroughs in the treatment and prevention of brain disorders.

There needs to be a study on what keeps my head from exploding every time I read another story about the government and their ridiculous spending.  Obama’s says that “mapping the human brain” is another one of his “grand challenges,” such as making solar energy cheap or electric cars more affordable. Well, we all know how well the government’s investments in the last two areas have gone.  …I hope the investment in these brain studies fares a better.

He says the initial $100 million will be supplemented with money from private companies and that the outlay is just intended to “launch this effort.”

I suppose it is not a popular position to oppose spending on something that could “lead to breakthroughs in the treatment and prevention of brain disorders,” but I think this new “project” is nothing but another attempt of Mr. Obama to build some sort of legacy, a legacy other than being the president responsible for the largest increase in national debt in history, and a litany of other not so popular titles.

This may seem like a completely revolutionary step for science, but America might be a few steps behind other world forerunners in the brain game. The European Union, for example, has a similar initiative running called The Human Brain Project, funded with 1 billion Euros. Although it’s only a few months old, it was born significantly earlier than the U.S.Brain.

Trumping both the U.S and Europe in brainy research is none other than China. China already sponsors initiatives such as Brainnetome and holds ties to the U.S based Organization for Human Brain Mapping, which held its 2012 annual meeting in Beijing. (Financial Times)

I know I keep going back to my analogy of personal finance when I read about government spending but it is how we should look at things considering our Nation’s debt.

If you were in debt well over your head, actually had debt that was more than your income (see our story Nation’s Debt Passes Grim Milestone), would you go out and spend money on something that does not help you become debt free?  No!  No, you would not, neither should our government.  Everything we do, much like in our personal finances, should help bring us closer to getting out of debt, not take us deeper into debt.

Why is it that a simpleton like me can figure this out yet it seems to escape the Ivy-League educated brain trusts in Washington?  The real reason I think is that politicians, the president included, are more concerned about keeping their job, getting re-elected or building their “legacy” and don’t care about the country as a whole.

America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.  ~Abraham Lincoln

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