Mala Htun, a professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico, pleads for maintaining (or increasing) federal funding for political science. While cutting (or funding) political science as an area of study nationwide will not make or break the federal budget, the reasoning behind Htun’s article outlines a glaring problem anytime budgets are up for discussion. That reasoning is: “If you support something, it must be funded by the taxpayer.” This attitude is bankrupting America.
Now, I was a political science major in college. I think it is a great area of study. Do I think federal funding will make or break it as an area of study? No. It is not government funding that will make the area of study attractive and relevant, rather it is the level of interest in the topic combined with the job market for people in the field. Unfortunately, as the power of the federal government continues to expand, it would seem that more, rather than fewer jobs will be found in political science rather than other, more economically-productive fields.
Regardless of your views on the field of political science, the federal government should get out of the business of funding various studies and areas of study entirely. If undertaken at all, the states are the appropriate place to do this work although I’d like to see a market-based, competitive higher education system, not one in which elected officials pick and choose where money is spent. Money can’t buy (academic) love.