November 7, 2007
POLITICS: NJ Voters Reject Corzine's Half-Billion Dollar Stem Cell Boondoggle
Democrats nationwide have been operating on the assumption that taxpayer funding for stem cell research is endlessly popular with the voters (for all the talk of "banning" research on embryonic stem cells, remember that nobody has advanced a serious proposal to make such research illegal; the issue is whether to spend taxpayer money on it despite the substantial moral/ethical objections of a significant number of taxpayers).
Yesterday in New Jersey, that theory was put to the test, and appears to have gone down in defeat before what is usually accounted as a liberal Northeastern electorate:
New Jersey voters on Tuesday rejected borrowing $450 million to pay for stem cell research grants in the state for 10 years.
With 95 percent of the vote counted, 53 percent of voters opposed the spending.
The rejection was a defeat for Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who campaigned heavily for the measure. He argued the money would help find cures for conditions such as spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, sickle cell anemia and multiple sclerosis while also luring leading scientists and research firms to the state.
But the measure was opposed by anti-abortion activists, conservatives and the Roman Catholic Church because it would pay for research that destroys human embryos and would increase state debt.
"It's a reinforcement of our values and a rebuke to the governor," said Steve Lonegan, a conservative Republican who led opposition to the question. "The taxpayers are saying enough is enough."
New Jersey voters had not defeated a statewide ballot question since 1990.
Senate President Richard J. Codey, a leading stem cell supporter, pinned the defeat on chronic state fiscal problems and mounting state debt.
"The taxpayers of New Jersey are not against stem cell research," said Codey, D-Essex. "It's clear. The message we're getting is put your fiscal house in order and then do these things."
Presumably, supporters of federal stem cell research believe that the federal government's fiscal house is already in enviable condition. But voters, if asked to put their money where their priorities are, might say otherwise.
As with any venture, the less government (at any level) involvement there is in the project the more successful it is likely to be.
Tell that to the oil industry.
I think people are more for things until it costs them money.
It's not just moral/ethical issues, it'sscientific too. The only successsful therapies that have been developed so far, have been from adult or umbilical cord stem cells. Unless things have changed in the past few months there is not a single therapy that's been developed that has come from embryonic research.
Frankly I'm not in favor of embryonic stem cell research, but its so low on my priorities. What I am against is having to give out a huge piece of corporate welfare to "biotech" companies (quotes - because fraudulent companies will be getting in on the grants available) .
Several things contributed to the defeat. Foremost, it smelled of boondoggle, rent-seeking by NJ's pharm interests. And it was part of a Say No to Everything campaign, an attempt to communicate our dissatisfaction with Corzine's fiscal gimmickry.
Personally, I turned on it the minute I heard Michael J. Fox on the radio telling me I should vote for it without ever mentioning the word "fetal" or anything like it but then telling me the President won't fund stem cell research so we have to.
Make your case, Shaky, but don't lie to me.
Yah, Crank, you and your other male, baseball Catholics win again! Please, go share your joy with your nearest paraplegic or MS sufferer...please?
You know Crystal, you might have actually made a point if you had attempted to demonstrate any viable successes that have been made by using embryonic stem cells. Instead, no links, no facts, just a cheap insult. Next time, try using intellectual persuasion if you have any capability in that area.
You can't have it both ways NRA -- Bush has placed financial limits on research, as well as limiting the type/kind of stem cells that can be studied. So, your call for "viable successes" is not attainable unless some of these restrictions are eased.
Well, at least Europe and California are working toward mankind's common good without religoius superstition getting in the way...
You know, NRA, I WAS intellectually challenged yesterday, and indeed my whole life, until this morning when I underwent a radical stem cell procedure. Now I can use big words and everything!
Thanks for your encouragement...!
...of course, I STILL misspelled "religious"...!
Crystal, virtually nothing you have said in your post is true. Bush hasn't placed any limits on research funding and hasn't limited the type of cells. You obviously know nothing about this issue or you are lying.
You can't expect people to jump to fund your pet issue if you keep lying to them about it.
Crystal, if you think that this is a good idea, find a good R&D company and risk your own money on it. If it works, people will pay and you will profit. You have made no persuasive case as to why the tax payers should subsidize research. I find it reemarkable that you are so callous about spending money that you personally have not earned. Embryonic stem cell research is not illegal. It just seems that the smart money is going in other directions (such as adult stem cells and umbilical stem cells) because a return on investment is important. Good intentions do not justify poor research when investing in unproven technology.
Look, your tax dollars fund ALL the R&D of most drug companies, who then conveniently take the profits after the drug is researched and developed.
The only difference: the stem cell "debate" has been cloaked as a moral issue, not a medical one. Now, with Dubya's guidance, you're trying to re-position it as a money issue, when that's a red herring, too.
From our commander's (well, his speech writer's) own pen/mouth, 7/19/06:
"Under the policy I announced five years ago, my administration became the first to make federal funds available for this research, yet only on embryonic stem cell lines derived from embryos that had already been destroyed."
From wiki: "He also enacts laws that restrict federally-funded stem cell research on embryonic stem cells to the already derived cell lines."
You're right: there are no restrictions...Idiots...
So Crystal, in your world if the government isn't funding it then they are restricitng others from funding it? What a bizarre world you live in.
You know, Bush isn't picking up my bar tab, either, but he hasn't retricted funding of it.
No, the restriction is the idea that only pre-existing lines can be studied. This was the "compromise" to appease the Religious Right. This restriction has stymied potential progress, obviously.
Possibly curing diseases IS in the nation's best interest, and therefore in the government's best interests.
An overwhelming majority of Americans are against the Iraq War, yet our tax dollars are being put toward that useless cause...
I think you guys are confusing two issues here. Roughly 7 in 10 New Jersians support stem cell research, yet only 4 in 10 voted to "pay" for it. This isn't surprising, nor does it mean, per Crank, that people are against stem cell research. Americans have been spoiled and think that ANY tax expenditure, even for issues they agree with, is too much...
You know, the government can't pick and choose which issues to ask permission about, can they? Nobody asked my permission for the War, yet my taxes fund it.
Once a Democrat gets in office, hopefully we can reverse this poor policy.
Like I said earlier, thank god for California...
Resume your regularly scheduled programming, ye Catholic sheep...
Crystal, you obviously have no idea what legitimate purposes of government are and are not. The Constitution allows the President as CIC of the armed forces to incur military action. This action was approved by Congress in case you missed it. Congress can defund it at any time, but they have not done so.
On the other hand, you cannot find anything in the Constitution that authorizes government to subsidize a business. The fact that it is done for stem cell research or agriculture or anything else is distasteful to me as a Conservative, and not as a function of my religion.
You should be aware of how difficult it is for a stock picker to choose a perfect portfolio, and this difficulty is even greater for government. Rationally speaking, it is highly unlikely that a politicized bureaucracy could possibly choose the right companies and the right scientific approach. That is why the free market is best at determining what businesses to fund through private investment. Bad choices will cost only the bad investors. Good choices will reward the good investors.
What are your investment choices? Have you bought shares in any of this bio-technology, or are you juust trying to socialilze the risk away. As a California resident, I can tell you that the state investment in stem cell research is suffering from a lack of competent oversight because politicians are not cognizant of good science, and also because they are not risking their own money.
You might consider getting over your problem with Catholics, and opening your own bank account to whatever investment you think is rational.
Bush was the FIRST president to allow stem cell research on the lines of cells that had no chance of ever becoming life. Clinton didn't do it. So cut him a break.
Second if the pharm and bio techs thought they could cure cancer thru stem cell reseach they would gladly pump billions into it. Heck, if they thought they could cure baldness they would pump billions into that (it might depress Corvette sales though). But why risk their money when they risk yours via taxes? Seems to me you are the sheep.
Third, stop being such a Catholic bigot. If you can't state your case on the merits don't resort to name calling (I'm not Catholic by the way).
Very interesting... as always! Cheers from -Switzerland-.