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UK Scientists Leave Labs To Protest Expected Cuts 315

uid7306m writes "The UK government is planning an austerity budget, in the wake of the financial crisis and banking bailouts. This involves a 25% overall cut in the government budget, and the indications are that it will hit UK science and university budgets strongly. In response to this, a campaign has started that has managed to get scientists out of their labs and into the streets."
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UK Scientists Leave Labs To Protest Expected Cuts

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  • by cgomezr ( 1074699 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:44AM (#33850780)

    Some government spendings, in my particular country (Spain), that should be cut before science:

    - Subsidies for the local film industry
    - Subsidies for coal mining (which, apart from polluting, is not even profitable, they just keep it so miners can keep their job - it would probably be better to pay them a salary for life for doing nothing and close the mines once and for all)
    - The 30K (!) official cars that different government officials, mayors, etc. have
    - SGAE (i.e., the local version of the RIAA) and the so-called Ministry of Culture which seems to spend half of its time protecting copyright while impeding access to culture
    - Ministry of Equality (which creates blatantly unfair "affirmative action" laws)
    - Unnecessary spending due to having too many intermediate government layers (central government - autonomous community (~"state") governments - provinces - mayorships: at least one layer - arguably, two - are unnecessary, and this is a huge money sink)
    - The military, of course
    - The Catholic church (yes, that's right, our government gives money to the church)
    - Subsidies to promote local languages

    And I could keep listing. There are lots of things that can be "picked" for financial cuts before the ones you say. Cutting science spending while leaving these is an insult to intelligence.

    In Germany, they have decided to make budget cuts in almost everything but science. In Spain it's the opposite, science is suffering the steepest cuts. But then, of course, Germany is the country that is already soaring out of the crisis with a two-point-something GDP growth, and Spain is the country with 20% unemployment that hasn't seen light at the end of the tunnel yet.

  • Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cheekyjohnson ( 1873388 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:48AM (#33850800)

    Do politicians ever take pay cuts? Instead of cutting pay for the useful people, I'd rather them (like that would ever happen) cut pay for the nearly useless people.

  • Re:what are you FOR? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:18AM (#33850878) Journal

    And it is precisely this sort of "the government should have taken care of it for me, I'm just an innocent [job] feeding from the country's teat" irresponsibility that caused the problem in the first place. Where [job] is anything from banker to scientist.

    The University/research system is effectively a branch of government. It is responsible as much as any other branch for obtaining non-existent sources of funding. Stop blaming other people.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:20AM (#33850886) Journal

    People didn't want labour anymore so they voted in the Margaret "Mad Cow" Thatcher party and expected... what exactly? They threw them out in the first place.

    In Holland we face the same. A party of VVD with the right-wingers from CDA (Christian power lovers who claim to be social but accept support of an anti-muslim party) to "fix" the economy. Except that in the months it took to get his sham of a government together, the economy already fixed itself. Unemployment is dropping and was never that high in Holland to begin with (4% max).

    England has had higher un-employment for far longer so you can hardly blame the current economic crisis OR labour for it. It goes far further. The UK has been tearing itself apart post WW2, unable to find a new place for itself in the world after it lost the empire. In the 60's and 70's the country was close to civil war, with strikes paralizing the country but it never examined WHY this happened. The UK likes to think it is a democracy but it is a nation were class distinction is still at an all time high. And while they can joke about it, an episode of Have I Got News For You saw real tension, even hatred between a union leader and private schoolboy Hislop. It might make funny tv, but at the heart of it is the seperation between those who do the actual work, and those that form the ruling elite.

    England pre-WW2 was under the believe that it could outsource farming. That farmers were not needed, that it could simply import whatever it needed. The german submarines soon changed that, but there remains an idea in the UK, and western society in general, that factories and farms are not needed. See how many here support outsourcing of all production to China, claiming the entire western economy can keep working on the "knowledge" economy instead.

    And then you find out that somehow this great outsourcing of all production somehow leads to economic recession and then you can't pay for the universities that fuel the knowledge economy. The UK BELIEVED that The City was the NEW economic engine, same as the US came to believe Wallstreet was the economy. And then it collapsed, once again and the old standbyes were no longer there. Holland came through the recession relatively smooth because we still got a production/agriculture economy to fall back on. There were still people working, paying taxes when the speculators were begging for government handouts.

    The UK? Not so much. The country had been run into the ground by the conservatives, who fueled tax cuts by selling of stuff (great short term thinking, I am RICH because I sold my house so I can now blow it on booze, never mind were I am going to sleep tonight) and cutting back essential maintenance. It took a disaster on the rail roads where a lot of people died and the entire network ground to a halt, for things to change. The tories were thrown out and somehow people expected labour to be able to instantly fix everything, including stopping the runaway finacial market.

    Didn't work and so they voted the guys who created the mess in the first place back in. Smart move, if the cleaner isn't doing the job, call in the person who made the mess. That will sort things out.

    Sorry UK and world in general. You can't have it both ways. You can't have investment in the economy AND tax cuts.

    Not that the UK will have tax cutes, well unless you count the very rich who don't need it, but it sounded so good on the election manifesto.

    The UK is going down the shitter fast. It has been mis-managed for decades and there simply aren't any reserves left. There is nothing left to sell off, no maintenance that can be delayed any further without the country falling apart.

    About the only thing left is to tackle the financial district, get them to return the bailout AND repay it with intrest. But you elected the tories, so fat chance of that happening. Time to close of the tunnel and shove the country of to the US, before it starts polluting the mainland. France, what do you rather have, Roma or liverpool supporters?

  • by Thomasje ( 709120 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:32AM (#33850908)
    What's with the fixation on spending cuts? How about we leave government the way it is, and make up for the budget shortfalls by raising taxes on the rich? Seriously, if there's one segment of the population that's been making out like bandits over the last 30 years (while the rest of us went nowhere), it's them. How about we end the neocon nonsense and start redistributing some wealth already? It's not like the rich are spending it on anything that benefits the common good. Trickle-down economics, don't make me laugh.
  • by nido ( 102070 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {65odin}> on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:40AM (#33850918) Homepage

    europe(and the UK along with it) is in some pretty bad financial straights.

    The current "global economic crisis" is more a about distribution of wealth than anything else... Money is plentiful, it's just more concentrated now than ever.

    "Revolutionary Science" is a good way to correct the wealth imbalance. Disruptive technology will come along that will make the plutocrat's current investments obsolete. For example...

    Utility stocks were always a popular way to concentrate wealth because they pay a consistent dividend.

    What if someone comes up with an internal combustion engine that's simpler and cheaper than today's best reciprocating piston engine designs, but is more efficient than the best $million steam turbine []? Small groups of people could set up their own power companies (due to the decreased capital requirement). Independently owned and operated power companies would mean cutting Wall Street out of the everyday economy of a lot of people.

    There was a story here a few months back about the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's new air conditioning system that uses 90% less power. If I had one of those, my summer AC bill would've shrunk from about $800 to $80 (Phoenix, Arizona). The power company's business model would fall apart entirely if they lost the ability to charge "summer rates".

    Or what about when someone finds a way to cheaply and effeciently store electricity? Imagine if power plants ran at 100% capacity all the time, and all the extra power generated at night could be stored until it's needed 8 hours later?

    Health care is another wealth-concentrator that needs to be addressed. This is one of those 'sacred cows' which must not be questioned, so I'll just mention the recent study that found most anti-depressants are no better than a placebo. Imagine keeping all the money that the pharmaceuticals pay in dividends to plutocrats in the real economy, and enjoying better health at the same time (because you can afford a better diet, because you don't have side-effects from pills that do nothing for you anyways, etc)

    Economic revolution is simply a matter of "follow the money", then dismantling the 'towers' that you find.

  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:55AM (#33850960)

    OK. Here's (approximately) how it works.

    Government creates money for the economy by selling bonds to the banks. The banks, buy bonds (with interest) using credit created from nothing, give the credit to the government and the government spends it into the economy.

    The debt grows due to the interest and the government taxes people to pay the debt, shrinking the amount of money in the economy. This causes a recession.

    Meanwhile the banks are also creating new credit and interest bearing debt (again, from nothing) for the people in the economy. The people take on a load of debt, get the credit, start spending the credit and everything is hunky dory. Then as the debt is paid off, the amount of credit in the economy decreases, again, causing or adding to the recession.

    Well, if the banks have been particularly busy and gotten really big bonuses, there is a lot of debt out there and as the money decreases and people can't pay, the banks get to foreclose on any businesses or individuals who can't make the payments. The thing about banks is, they are all technically insolvent, all of the time. This is why it's possible to bring a bank down simply by going and taking your money out. So they foreclose more and more, more debt is paid off, less and less credit is available in the economy, accelerating the recession until it looks like the banks are in big trouble.

    In steps the white knight. The government will save you! They will take on the (now) bad loans and the bankers can get their money that way. The government goes to their bankers, they take on lots and lots more debt (With Ts now because a B just wasn't big enough)(created from nothing, with interest to be paid), and pay the bankers for their bad loans.

    Of course your average person (i.e. you) has an attention span of about a week, and your typical politician, a fraction of that, so the next time the government numbers are published, there is SHOCK, HORROR I tell you ! Look how much in debt we are! OH My god, SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! The deficit must be REDUCED! Not eliminated, mind you. Only REDUCED.

    So the private bad loans are translated directly into lots of government debt and then cuts in government spending. All is right with the world, the system was saved, the bankers got their bonuses. Phew, that was close, Aston Martins are getting sooo expensive.

    But unless people have failed to notice, europe(and the UK along with it) is in some pretty bad financial straights.

    Europe is in exactly the same position as the USA, i.e. no danger. In each of the regions there is a central bank which absolutely will print money until the currency isn't worth the paper it is printed on. America has it markedly easier because they have the world reserve currency. i.e. They can tax the entire planet to pay their debts using debased paper.

    The financial system (as it stands today) is parasitic, and the bankers are parasites. There is a reason for my sig, and it pertains to bankers.

  • by Extremus ( 1043274 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @07:10AM (#33850988)
    Funny. I do not get offendend by counter-arguments, but I become automatically offendend when it starts with "sorry".
  • Re:Horrid truth (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DMiax ( 915735 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @07:36AM (#33851074)

    Not at all. If a community does not self-regulate it is because:
    a) it does not want do do it, or
    b) it is not able to do it.
    Whichever is true, a fund cut will only cut the total output, and not change the quality at all. I am amazed at how many people think that a fund cut means better quality. It does not work like that, never worked like that and will never do, in science, health or any other sector.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @07:50AM (#33851116)

    No, having a banking system is a necessary evil, saving the banks was not. Capitalising say 5 new banks with the bailout money (from the UK alone) would have massively increased lending (probably too much so), these new state funded banks would have had an easy time finding property and employees since the old banks would have been utterly crushed (punishing their share and bond holders in the process, which they darn well ought to have been after allowing them to be so woefully mismanaged). Mechanisms already exist for dealing with failing banks, instead we have had and will continue to have years of zombie banks floating around not doing enough lending while their balance sheets slowly recuperate through their ability to abuse the yield curve.

  • by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @08:01AM (#33851144) Homepage

    Yes of course the poor old bankers were forced to fuck up the economy by evil NuLab. Since when were New Labour left-wing in any case? Did you miss both Blair and Brown inviting Thatcher to Downing Street, did you miss the kissing up to Murdoch, did you ignore the fact that deregulation is mainly a right-wing thing? New Labour are very similar to the Tories and pretending they aren't is just nonsensical. In any case do you think the Tories wouldn't have deregulated and cut taxes had they still been in charge? That's what they did from 1979-1997.

    It's very sad that someone from Holland has a better grasp of the mess the right made of our country (selling off council houses, throwing away manufacturing, selling off our public utilities to foreigners, the creation of Broken Britain) than you. A real Labour government would have reversed some of that but we got Tory Lite instead.

  • by malkavian ( 9512 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @09:00AM (#33851356)

    The Thatcher government was voted in after the Winter of Discontent, where there was no money left in the coffers; the country had effectively shut down.
    The plan was to cut the fat, streamline the economy, kick start industry to give a stable base to grow from. When you have a strong economy, you can afford blue sky science. When you can't pay to keep the streets clean, the dead buried and disease at bay, investing in something that may, or may not, give you extra comfort 30 years down the line is a bit of a waste of money. And when the economy became vibrant, and the long term investments were starting to be embarked on, there was a huge shift in government (mid right to quite strongly left), and social policy became more important than long term investment. Lots of the UK infrastructure got sold off at bargain basement prices simply to keep the populace smiling and thinking that everything was a bed of roses under the government of the day.
    So, now, once again, we have no money (thanks to the global financial crisis) and no reserves (thanks Gordon Brown), so someone has to make really hard decisions on what will put the country on a track to long term stability rather than making things feel easier on the average person and leave a ruin for the next people in government. So far, I'm finding the coalition quite interesting. Not as harsh as a full on Conservative government would be, yet not as soft as a Lib Dem Government would be. They each temper the more excessive directions the other would take with an unchallenged majority.
    Yes, we're probably missing a trick or two that would let us be that little more agile and effective, but also we're probably missing a mistake or two that could lead to catastrophe..
    No, I'm not unaffected by all this, but I can make out a rational plan that's hailed as a beginning of recovery, not the end of it.. And that honesty, I'm finding refreshing..

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:38PM (#33853884) Journal

    In the U.S., the wealthy pay a lower tax rate percentage than the rest. MUCH lower.

    Per Warren Buffet, he pays about 17% while his secretary pays over 30%.

    Actually, that is wrong in conclusion but he did say it. The difference is that Buffet's income is primarily from capitol gains which is or was locked in at 15%. His secretary doesn't earn income primarily from the sale of possessions she purchased earlier so it's taxed differently. Warren Buffet also shields a lot of his income through holding companies that doesn't necessarily remove tax obligations, they just disperse them differently. All of the companies making money for Buffet pay taxes on every dollar brought in so that 17% is more like 32% when you figure another 15% in taxes was dealt with before he even funneled it to himself.

    Anyways, the point is, you are not comparing directly comparable items here. Income from investments (capitol gains) is not the same as income from trading time and effort for a paycheck. If Buffet had gained all of his income for the year from a salary position like his secretary, he would have been paying closer to 37% or perhaps even closer to 55% if you consider all the state and local taxes.

    And this doesn't even begin to measure the actual dollar amount paid in. If his secretary paid in 30% of a 100k salary, she would have paid close to 30K in taxes. If Buffet paid 17% of 1,000,000,000 , he would have paid 170k or 1.7 times his secretaries entire salary. In contrast, this is roughly more then 5 times what his secretary paid. How you can claim with an honest face that more then five times as much as something is less then that something.

    A rich man smokes a pack of cigarettes, they pay the same tax as a poor man.

    And your point is what? Are you advocating that we should have to carry w2 statements to the store to buy a pack of smokes? You are aware that the majority of rich people do not smoke aren't you? Smoking is primarily a poor mans sport anyways.

    The lower the income, the higher tax "rate" for things like cigarettes, gasoline, cell phones, everything else.

    That's sort of inconsequential as it's fundamentally built into use taxes. The reason they are there is to discourage the use of them an to capitalize on the people with addictions who find it necessary to purchase them. Rich people get treatments for their addictions, poor people do not. Governments rely on this which is why they tax smokes and gasoline. Although the gasoline is generally graduated with the consumption of the vehicle and rich people tend to drive more gas hungry vehicles for their comforts which defaults into them paying more taxes anyways.

    In texas, the wealthy pay .03% tax rate and the poor pay over 10% tax rate.

    Please point me to some study or something that isn't a complete load of bullshit to verify this. The income tax rate is different for the rich in texas and all the effective tax rates I have seen assumes (incorrectly) that people activly use items with use taxes on them. Your comment is just as accurate if words as "In texas, the poor pay .03% tax rate and the poor pay over 10% tax rate, depending on what other use taxes they subject themselves to."

    They also "tax advantage" their income so most pay dividend and long term capital gains rates- not the highest federal income tax rate.

    So? They don't have access to the money like income while it's there, what makes the difference? Unless their income is in a tax deferred investment vehicle (typically a Roth IRA or some other retirement program), taxes are already paid on the traditional income that goes into the investments in the first place. Dividend income is taxes at the normal taxable income rates and capitol gains is taxes at a fixed rate separated from

  • by ErikZ ( 55491 ) * on Sunday October 10, 2010 @09:37PM (#33855706)

    Because you could raise taxes on the rich to 100% and it still wouldn't cover the hideous amount of debt a government can create.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas