Thank You, US Taxpayer!

Apr 15 2009 Published by under General Politics, NIH Budgets and Economics

According to the prior head of the NIH, Elias Zerhouni, the NIH budget for the Fiscal Year of 2006 amounted to about $96 per person. The NIH budget from 2005 through that proposed for 2009 increased from $28.5 to $29.5 billion. There were about 138 million US taxpayers in 2007 when the NIH budget was $29 billion so I make this out to be $210 per taxpayer. It isn't really clear to me if Zerhouni's "per person" meant per taxpayer or included dependents. So I'll stick with the $210 number.
I'd encourage you to look at your federal tax bill and divide $210 by that number. For most of you, I assume, this is not going to be a big number. Probably 1-2% of your federal tax obligation at the worst. But still, it is real money that you could be spending elsewhere if we did not have a taxpayer funded research grant system such as we have in the US.
So I thank you on this day of federal tax reckoning, Dear US taxpaying readers.
Thanks for supporting the work that is helping with many issues of personal and public health. From the effects of infectious epidemics, to treatments and cures for various cancers, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular problems, mental and behavioral disorders, traumatic injury.... the list of health issues goes on. Each and every day, teams of scientists around the US and the world are working on new information, diagnostics, treatments and cures which move us incrementally forward on all fronts of public health. These improvements are a lasting legacy that benefit not just current and future American citizens but the entire world population.
Thanks to your $210 per year investment.

20 responses so far

  • becca says:

    Wait, you mean DM isn't celebrating April 15 by teabagging?
    Oh, nevermind...that must have been CPP who is so embittered by the bailouts we had to call him tongzhi.
    *evil laughter*
    "I'd encourage you to look at your federal tax bill and divide $210 by that number. For most of you, I assume, this is not going to be a big number. Probably 1-2% of your federal tax obligation at the worst."
    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
    Didya drop a decimal place or something?
    That said, I'd gladly pay another $210 to redouble the NIH budget. SLOWLY.

  • baggins says:

    Personal taxes are not the only ones we pay. We also pay corporate taxes and tariffs (hidden in prices of goods). Moreover, the cherished stimulus will need to be repaid, and this will require future increased taxation. Having said that, I much more prefer spending the tax money on research, rather than on the Department of Homeland Security, for example.

  • Erin says:

    You're welcome! Enjoy my coinses. Even though I did try to get out of it.

  • Pain Man says:

    now if I can only get the 99% of NRSA fellows who skip paying taxes to stop making fun of me for doing so.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    You're more than welcome, DM.
    And, no, that's not hyperbole: I also write checks for targeted health research. It's one way I remember people.

  • becca says:

    What kind of target health research, D.C.?
    I'm working on curing malaria here, you can give me money! C'mon all the cool philanthropists are doing it...

  • Beth says:

    You should especially thank grad students- not only are we helping do the work, but $210 is like 10% of our annual taxes! We're just givers, I guess ;).

  • cashmoney says:

    You should especially thank grad students- not only are we helping do the work, but $210 is like 10% of our annual taxes! We're just givers, I guess ;).
    yeh, but aren't you, ahh, paid by the NIH? it just goes right back into your pocket...

  • Wait, you mean DM isn't celebrating April 15 by teabagging?

    I need us to stop using this word. Seriously.

  • becca says:

    cashmoney- nopers. The evil tobacco companies are paying me!
    Oh wise goddess Isis- I will go back to my previous policy on that word after today (i.e. not to be used in polite company).
    (but, because I'm dying to know, did you have to look it up on urbandictionary?)

  • juniorprof says:

    now if I can only get the 99% of NRSA fellows who skip paying taxes to stop making fun of me for doing so.
    WHAT??? Was this optional? I paid 6 years of taxes on NRSAs all made through estimated quarterly payments that were a complete pain in my ass to calculate and remember to pay on time.

  • Dr Jekyll & Mrs Hyde says:

    now if I can only get the 99% of NRSA fellows who skip paying taxes to stop making fun of me for doing so.
    No, this is not optional, and fellows will be up to their necks if they get caught. Someone spreads the idea that since the money is from the feds, it doesn't come with federal taxes. Oh hah ha. Try asking anyone who draws a government salary if this is true. You owe taxes on NRSAs or any other form of NIH support (training grants, etc.)
    The fact that the uni can't treat it as normal income and do withholdings, that's just a special prize of suckitude.

  • Fellowships are not, however, subject to FICA and Medicare taxes. And many universities do deduct income tax withholding from fellowship stipends. In fact, I got a huge check from my post-doc institution near the end of my NRSA, because they had been erroneously been witholding FICA and Medicare along with income taxes.

  • Dr Jekyll & Mrs Hyde says:

    In fact DrugMonkey, your numbers appear to be correct:
    http://www.wallstats.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/WallStatsDATlarge.jpg
    shows NIH's 29B and the per-taxpayer breakdown....which works out to $210.
    Still a lot more than 1% of my taxes, though.

  • leigh says:

    1%? hahahahahaha!!
    but seriously. thanks, taxpayers. i mean, it's not to say that i am not a taxpayer myself (which, you gotta admit, is kinda weird given that the government pays me), but thanks to everyone else for supporting the research too.

  • msphd says:

    No thanks from me. All the money goes to the same bunch of SOBs, the size of the NIH budget does not help my career or research program whatsoever unless we elect some policy makers who actually want to distribute funding in some slightly less corrupt, inbred, hierarchical way. And they should definitely stop taxing fellowships. It's just ridiculous. We're paying double for the privilege of slaving away with no job security? Why do we put up with that?

  • twosigma says:

    sir, your analysis is downright communistic. the reality is that taxes paid by individuals varies dramatically. nearly 1/2 of all american households paid essentially nothing towards the NIH. so some of your readers paid literally nothing towards NIH. others paid thousands.
    here is a better start to your article:
    "congratulations, if you are one of the bottom 50% who pay essential no federal taxes (ex social security / medicare), please pat yourself on the back for freeriding on the top 5% of US taxpayers (not a bell curve, but we'll call them the two sigmas anyway). please give them (us) a round of applause and pretend you give a shit.
    During 2009, I intend to give preferential treatment to those who contribute the most. This year, every post by a two sigma will be highlighted as a "premium" post. They will go right to the top. I'm working on some appropriate bells and whistles.
    Stop it right there, you bitter academics. I know that this means the MD contributors will be getting unfair placement at the top despite their rather, ahem, dubious analytical abilities. But you have more than enough time on your hands to scroll down to the grad student posts..."

  • becca says:

    OMGWTFBBQ? Who ordered that?

  • superabe says:

    "sir, your analysis is downright communistic...." [twosigma]
    2/10: Unstylistic vulgarisms, excessively droning tone, bland vitriol. Oh, and clumsy self-promotion.

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