On Tuesday night time, President Donald Trump made his first State of the Union Handle. Protecting with the mandate laid out by the U.S. Structure, which asks the president to report back to Congress “such measures as he shall decide obligatory and expedient,” Trump touched on his favourite subjects, together with tax reform, border management, and police heroism. He additionally touched on science.
Following per week by which the President was roundly criticized for neglecting to appoint a director for the Office of Science and Technology Policy and his inaccurate comment that the extent of polar ice have reached record highs (they’re actually at record lows), Trump addressed scientific subjects starting from prescribed drugs to vitality growth.
On your comfort, discover under all the President’s State of the Union feedback regarding science. I assume you may name it … the State of the Science.
“We have now endured floods, and fires, and storms.”
Trump opened his speech with a mirrored image on his first 12 months in workplace, a 12 months tormented by record-breaking natural disasters of all stripes. Although a third of Americans in Puerto Rico are still in the dark after Hurricane Maria worn out grid greater than 4 months in the past, Trump didn’t lay out a imaginative and prescient for catastrophe response or rebuilding. As an alternative, he targeted on sharing the tales of “solid new American heroes” Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert and firefighter David Dahlberg. Leppert helped rescue folks trapped within the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Dahlberg rescued kids from a summer season camp threatened by California wildfires.
“To everybody nonetheless recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, in all places, we’re with you, we love you, and we at all times will pull by collectively, at all times,” Trump mentioned, closing out this section.
“The person mandate is now gone.”
Whereas current efforts to repeal and substitute the Inexpensive Care Act have been unsuccessful, Republicans in Congress efficiently repealed the person mandate, which required People be insured, lest they face a penalty fee. “We repealed the core of the disastrous Obamacare,” Trump mentioned. “The person mandate is now gone. Thank heavens.”
“We have now ended the struggle on lovely clear coal.”
Trump didn’t elaborate on this level, however we’ll. There’s no such thing as clean coal. As Kendra Pierre-Louis wrote for PopSci final 12 months, utilizing coal as vitality is an inherently soiled proposition, because the act emit mercury, harmful particulate matter, and different pollution into the air. It additionally emits carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change. Even with current technical hacks, this remains true.
“We have now ended the struggle on American vitality,” he continued. “We are actually, very proudly, an exporter of vitality to the world.” Although he didn’t specify within the speech, he was most likely referring to the information that analysts predict, by the top of the 12 months, the USA would be the world’s greatest oil producer. That is thanks largely to our plentiful pure sources—and to Congress’s efforts again in 2015 to repeal a legislation that banned American oil from being exported wherever besides to Canada.
“Sufferers with terminal situations, terminal sickness, ought to have entry to experimental remedy instantly that would doubtlessly save their lives.”
As PopSci’s Claire Maldarelli defined in a piece this week, the FDA’s course of for testing and approving prescribed drugs and medical remedies is arduous, but in addition extraordinarily necessary. “Earlier than the FDA existed, producers might market and promote any drug with no need to say what’s in it and with no need to indicate that it might really deal with the factor that you simply have been shopping for it to deal with,” she wrote. “Whereas it is arduous to sit down with the thought of doubtless dropping a medical breakthrough race, it’s necessary to recollect how and why the USA created the FDA within the first place.”
Nonetheless, many People really feel that individuals who have exhausted all their remedy choices ought to have a better time accessing experimental remedies. It seems Trump is amongst them. “To hurry entry to breakthrough cures and inexpensive generic medication, final 12 months, the FDA accredited extra new and generic medication and medical units than ever earlier than in our nation’s historical past,” he mirrored. “People who find themselves terminally in poor health mustn’t need to go from nation to nation to hunt a remedy. I wish to give them an opportunity proper right here at residence. It’s time for Congress to provide these fantastic, unbelievable People the correct to strive.”
“Considered one of my best priorities is to cut back the worth of prescribed drugs.”
As Trump switched from a mirrored image of his first 12 months to his plans for the longer term, he narrowed in on American prescription drugs. “In lots of different nations, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. And it is vitally, very unfair,” he mentioned. “That’s the reason I directed my administration to make fixing the injustice of excessive drug costs one among my high priorities for the 12 months.” After applause, he added, “And costs will come down considerably. Watch.”
Glen T. Schumock, a pharmaceutical researcher on the College of Illinois at Chicago, advised FactCheck.org that the rationale medication price extra in the USA is as a result of Republicans in Congress have, at least historically, resisted regulating the price of drugs.
“We’ll construct gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways all throughout our land.”
Trump lastly shared (a number of) particulars from his long-awaited infrastructure plan. “Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to provide a invoice that generates at the least $1.5 trillion for the brand new infrastructure funding that our nation so desperately wants,” he mentioned in an try and make good on a popular campaign promise. Nonetheless, as NPR reported in December, it’s doubtless that the federal government will provide closer to $200 billion, with the remainder coming from state and native funds or personal funding. On this vein, Trump referred to as for personal funding and severe reductions in allowing time.
“America is a nation of builders,” he mentioned. “We constructed the Empire State Constructing in only one 12 months. Is not it a shame that it might now take 10 years simply to get a minor allow accredited for the constructing of a easy street?”
“We should get more durable on drug sellers and pushers if we’re going to achieve stopping this scourge.”
When it got here time to deal with the opioid epidemic, Trump mentioned, “By no means earlier than has it been like it’s now. It’s horrible. We have now to do one thing about it. In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses. 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour. We should get a lot more durable on drug sellers and pushers if we’re going to achieve stopping this scourge.”
This assertion appears to point a misunderstanding concerning the root of the opioid epidemic. Not like different drug epidemics, the opioid disaster doesn’t actually stem from covert drug making or shady sellers on the streets. Somewhat, it stems from what seems to be a marketing campaign by pharmaceutical companies to portray prescription pain medication as non-addictive and get painkillers into the hands of Americans by completely authorized means.
Which means tighter immigration legal guidelines doubtless gained’t cease the move of those medication, as Trump implied. However restricting prescriptions and holding drug companies accountable simply
“My administration is dedicated to combating the drug epidemic and serving to get remedy for these in want. For many who have been so terribly harm,” Trump mentioned, “the wrestle will probably be lengthy and it will likely be tough, however as People at all times do, in the long run, we’ll succeed. We’ll prevail.”
“We should modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal.”
Proper now, the metaphorical Doomsday Clock sits just two minutes to midnight, a quantity it hasn’t struck for the reason that Chilly Battle. On January 13, a missile alert system falsely knowledgeable Hawaii residents ballistic missile was inbound to their island state, inflicting widespread panic. And, as Trump says, North Korean chief Kim Jong Un is in “reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles,” with check missiles that appear capable of reaching the United States.
Whereas there isn’t a consensus amongst specialists, many have expressed concern that verbally antagonizing Kim is counterproductive, and even harmful. Trump, nonetheless, pressed ahead. “As a part of our protection, we should modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal. Hopefully by no means having to make use of it, however making it so sturdy and so highly effective that it’ll deter any acts of aggression by some other nation or anybody else,” he mentioned within the tackle. “Maybe some day sooner or later, there will probably be a magical second when the nations of the world will get collectively to eradicate their nuclear weapons. Sadly, we aren’t there but.”