It's time for Congress to reinstate the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.
This story and issue has received zero coverage by Big Media news outlets in recent months, despite being proposed by Hillary Clinton and covered in the New York Times on April 13, 2007. Ralph Nader proposed the same thing on April 27, 2007 on the Common Dreams web site. A long time advocate behind the scenes, Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey has been trying to promote this idea since 1994.
The OTA was killed off in 1995 by the Gingrich Revolution. This one act essentially performed a frontal lobotomy on Congress, depriving it of essential counsel by recognized scientific authorities just at the point when scientific and technological issues like AIDS, Climate change, global pandemics, the Internet, and others would become the main issues on the agenda. Coincidence? I doubt it. Regardless...
Re-establishing the OTA, or some similar federal authority, would be an important step in restoring the use of well-reviewed and accepted scientific and technological information as the basis for all federal decisions. And none too soon, either!
Sunday, June 3, 2007