Folks. this is how it works: It is 90 days till the end of the budget cycle. You have $2-3 million left over, If you do NOT have a documented use for that money come Appropriation Day then your budget will be docked by this amount. Budget and the size of your department are all that matter in government land. It matters not one jot what this is spent on, it MUST be spent and it must be spent in a document able way. If the idea is hair brained, stupid, and a waste it may or may not be dredged out of the cesspool of bureaucracy and scrutinized on Slash dot or other forums (like the Congress), but in most cases it just makes another month's pay for a Beltway Bandit "Think Tank" or "Institute".
In the 1990s the GOP, with help from Dems, exempted herbal remedies from FDA. This made sense only if one of the following was true:
1. The remedies were completely ineffective and thus innocuous.
2. The remedies were magically both effective and never harmful. Presumably because they were "natural" (eg. like tetrodotoxin).
The evidence suggests these regulators believed #2. This is magical thinking.
Fast forward to 2004. We re-elect a president on the basis of the belief that he's been divinely appointed. Meanwhile the military is repeating Soviet-era studies (they published libraries of this stuff) on the efficacy of psychic teleportation.
I do so hope China will inherit our lost mantle of rationalism.