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The Science Budget Battle

Contrary to the argument advanced in the Science and Technology page column "The 'Big' Versus 'Little' Science Budget Battle," Feb. 19, the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC) has not "starved" smaller science projects in terms of funding.

With the full support and urging of Secretary James D. Watkins, this year's budget proposal for the Department of Energy contains an increase of over $50 million for university-based "small science" research undertaken by individuals or small groups. This will place the percentage of program funds going directly to universities near its historic high of a few years ago.

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The administration's position has been, and continues to be, that the SSC not come at the expense of other science. In fact, President Bush's fiscal year 1993 budget request reflects a high priority for civilian research and development across the board by proposing more than $30 billion for such programs government-wide. This includes nearly $8 billion, an increase of more than 9 percent over 1992, to support individual researchers, who are considered the backbone of the United States scientific and eng ineering community and who are located primarily at the nation's colleges and universities.

The SCC will be the largest scientific instrument ever built when it is completed in 1999. Designed to produce conditions that mimic the birth of the universe, researchers from all over the world will use the SSC to reveal the most fundamental secrets of matter and energy. In short, the SSC can be thought of as an exquisite microscope which will tell us more about the universe we share. It is a most important project for science and mankind, but it is not being built at the expense of other science proje cts which happen to be smaller in scope. Dr. William Happer, Washington, Director, Office of Energy Research, United States Department of Energy Economic solutions require fairness

In reading the Economy page column "At Election Time, Washington Skirts Fundamental Issues," Feb. 11, I assumed that the author was taking the usual, supposedly pragmatic, business approach to issues of strategy, not societal goals. But, at the end he states: "Taxes should be fair. But fairness is not, or should not, be the main issue. Growth is the goal."

The evidence of Reagan-Bush trickle-down economics has proven that espousing economic growth as a way to fairness is to be either naive or perniciously greedy. But to advocate growth as a goal more important than fairness, whether in regard to tax policy or overall economic policy, is the epitome of callous business nonethics.

Fairness is, or should be, the main issue in determining the policies of our country. No other goal is worthy of the principles for which this nation supposedly stands. Phillip Gibbs, South Dartmouth, Mass.

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