It’s the Bioeconomy, Stupid!

New executive order will inject mega-cash where we need it least.

On September 12, 2022, the Teleprompter Reader-in-Chief signed a massive new order with the catchy title, “Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy.”

You could hide a lot of trojan horses in that verbiage. First of all, what is a bioeconomy? thinks it means “the market system that involves using renewable biological resources sustainably to produce food, energy and industrial goods, besides exploiting the untapped potential of the biological waste and residual materials.”

The Biden Administration thinks it means “vaccines”:

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the vital role of biotechnology and biomanufacturing in developing and producing life-saving diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines that protect Americans and the world.

We need to develop genetic engineering technologies and techniques to be able to write circuitry for cells and predictably program biology in the same way in which we write software and program computers…


And why the sudden urgency?

Think tanks are worried that China is outspending the United States on innovation to genetically engineer thee and me:

Without adequate Federal support, [global think tank advisor Michael A.] Fisher warned in August, the U.S. bioeconomy could lose ground to its competitors. “China aims to dominate the 21st-century bioeconomy and has prioritized growth of its bioeconomy in its five-year plans. From 2016 to July 2021, the market value of publicly listed biopharmaceutical innovators from China increased approximately 127-fold across several major stock exchanges…”

The Forbes columnist is confident of bipartisan support for the questionable initiative: “Growing the bioeconomy is one of the few issues that it seems both parties in Congress can agree on.” But Jeff Childers has a different take:

So here we are, less than 60 days out from the midterms, and Biden is offering a brand-new gold rush, a massive across-the-board federal purchasing program that depends on a cooperative Congress to fund it.

Because, if the right people get elected, we’ll shower you all with crisp, newly printed cash. And remember, you’ll only get the money if you play ball. They’ll remember who their friends were — and weren’t — during the elections.

And as a side benefit, the E.O. is bioengineered to spin up MAGA extremists and the medical freedom lobby, who are expected to decry and condemn the E.O., which will turn MAGA into a threat to anybody who stands to make oodles of money from all the proposed new programs.

Don’t take that bait! I’m not saying you should relax into this, just wait till the day after the elections, and then be smart about it.

~Jeff Childers, “Coffee & Covid”

That sounds like good advice. On the other hand, maybe some of our readers have a genuinely constructive project involving biotechnology. If so, I’d love to hear from you.

~Alan Graham, staff writer