One might expect the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to focus exclusively on advancing the health and development of humans.
But since 2001, NICHD, a subdivision of the National Institutes of Health, has provided $1,178,450 to a "Fisheries and Wildlife" professor for research focusing at least in part on "giant panda habitats" in China.
NICHD, moreover, is not the only federal agency showering money on this professor. A National Science Foundation grant that runs from 2002 to 2006 is scheduled to give him $1,111,407 to study panda habitat, and another NSF grant in the 1990s paid him $321,055.
The NICHD grant is titled, "Human Population/Environment Interactions (China)." "In this study," says the NIH abstract for the grant, "we view population-environment interactions as the interrelationships among five major components: human population, forests, giant panda habitats, socioeconomic and institutional factors, and government policies." The separate NSF grant is titled, "Complex Interactions Among Policies, People and Panda Habitat in the Wolong Nature Reserve Landscape."
So far, taxpayers have granted the professor $2,610,912.
Jianguo Liu, the scholar in question, holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Ecological Sustainability in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State. He also has been a visiting scholar at Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology, run by Paul Ehrlich, whose 1968 bestseller, "The Population Bomb," spuriously predicted "hundreds of millions of people" would starve to death in the 1970s and '80s as the world ran out of food.
On his Michigan State webpage, Liu lists one article he co-authored with Ehrlich -- "Some Roots of Terrorism," published in 2002 in Population and Environment -- and another he co-authored with Enrlich and two others, "Effects of Household Dynamics on Resource Consumption and Biodiveristy," published in 2003 in Nature.
A 2003 NSF press release about the piece in Nature noted that Ehrlich was "renowned for his population studies" and said, "Additional support for the Liu team findings authored in the Nature paper came from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development."
So what did taxpayers and their children get from this investment? For starters, they got the services of population-control advocates.
In their Population and Environment piece, which was not government funded, Liu and Ehrlich decried "a cultural fundamentalism (that) surrounds the use of automobiles and SUVs, especially in the United States," and argued for conservation and population control in the cause of rooting out terrorism.