This week proved Ebola panic spreads much, much faster than the disease itself -- with the former needing only contact with cable news, talk radio, social media, or political ads to proliferate. But with President Obama appointing an Ebola czar on Friday, we can question our preparedness without legitimizing the fear-mongering. As Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told HuffPost's Sam Stein, without a "10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready." What will it take to put an end to the short-sighted gutting of scientific research in the name of deficit reduction?
How did we become the world's leading economy and one of its wealthiest nations per capita? One critical reason is that the U.S. has always invested in innovation. We spend more than any other country on R&D. Has this spending made us richer? The clear answer comes from a long run of economists who have studied this subject intensively. Here is what they have learned.