Social Security for Chimps:
Since 2000, the NIH has spent more than $52 million to
support the Chimpanzee Biomedical Research Resource,
now called the National Center for Chimpanzee Care
(NCCC).14 The NCCC is now home to the NIH’s 139
chimpanzees that were previously used for biomedical
research.15 Despite the announcement that research
would no longer be conducted, the NIH provided $2.6
million in both 2015 and 2016 to operate the NCCC, which
is more than the $2.5 million provided in 2000.16 The $2.6
million annual funding for 139 chimpanzees translates to
roughly $18,700 per chimp per year,17 meaning it would
likely be cheaper to enroll all 139 chimpanzees in college
since that amount would more than pay for tuition, room,
and board in many state universities.
It is unclear why the NIH has continued to pay to keep, feed, and care for the 139 chimpanzees at the NCCC.
The $2 million or more spent on the chimpanzees annually would be better spent on actual medical research
to benefit the American taxpayers who paid for it. The NIH should safely relinquish the chimpanzees to animal
sanctuaries, zoos, or other groups who can use private dollars for their care.
A $30,000 NEA grant to support a production
of Doggie Hamlet.
Doggie Hamlet actually includes humans yelling or running toward
very confused sheep and dogs.20 The production, which does not
include any actual lines from Hamlet, is conducted outdoors in a
30-by-50-foot field in New Hampshire.21 The play is described as
“a beautiful and dreamlike spectacle weaving instinct, mystery, and
movement into an unusual performance event.”22
You’re Fired-No You’re Not:
A 2014 Treasury IG investigation discovered that from 2010 to
2013, the IRS hired 824 people who were previously terminated
due to “prior conduct or performances issues.”24 In fact, one fired
employee was rehired even though his employee file had “DO NOT
REHIRE” stamped on it.25 Despite IG and congressional pressure
to stop hiring fired employees, in July 2017 the IG released a new
report showing more than 200 previously terminated employees
were rehired between January 2015 and March 2016.26 Reasons
for their termination or suspension included not filing tax returns and
improperly accessing taxpayer records.27
Nickel back for the Stickleback:
The stickleback is a fish with three spines found throughout the Northern Hemisphere in fresh or saltwater
bodies.37 Sticklebacks are known for a protective armor that defends against predators, though freshwater
sticklebacks tend to have less armor than the saltwater variety.38 Stickleback have also been the focus of multiple
NSF research grants spread over eight years to determine how the fish adapt to different environments.
In 2003, the NSF provided $154,000 to determine in part how the stickleback adapts to different ecological
conditions.39 This was followed in 2009 by two grants40,41 totaling $671,657 to determine how the stickleback
changed and adapted after moving to a new area in Alaska. These grants have now been followed by three more
grants42,43,44 totaling $1,836,132 to study how the stickleback
adapts to murky water in Iceland. That brings the total to
more than $2.6 million just to study how the stickleback
adapts to different environments.
While there may be some value in knowing how the
stickleback adapts to different environments, it is unusual
that the NSF would fund more than $2.6 million on similar
research and approve more than $1.8 million in research in
a different country.