NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 26, 2005

Since 1994, the Republican-controlled Congress has parted ways with fiscal conservatism by tripling the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But even worse is how the money is being spent -- on advocates of "alternative" medicine to study the impact of yoga on "generalized anxiety," says columnist Terence Jeffrey.

The NIH has already been a subject of controversy as to how it utilizes taxpayer dollars; the last thing NIH needs is more money, says Jeffrey:

  • In 1994, the NIH budget was only $10.95 billion; in 2000, however, President Bush promised to triple its budget by 2003 from its 1998 level of $13.6 billion.
  • One of the NIH's yoga studies is a collaboration between the University of California at San Francisco and the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana in India to establish a Center for Yoga, Health and Meditation.
  • NIH is funding an additional study at the University of Colorado, which examines the effect of yoga on generalized anxiety disorder, a condition that NIH states affects 5 percent of the population.

To put NIH spending in perspective, the Administration is proposing $20.3 billion in 2006 for the Justice Department - the agency which focuses on high-priority activities such as prosecuting terrorists in the United States. However, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) and the Appropriations Committee approved a record $29.4 billion for the NIH in 2006.

Source: Terence Jeffrey, "Yoga and your Tax Dollars,", July 20, 2005.


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