An editorial from

The Kansas City StarCancer research pitted against AIDS research for public dollars is a sad competition. Neither as individuals nor as a nation can anyone honestly make a case that one disease deserves public support at the expense of the other. Both are deadly. Both affect a broad population. Research is expensive in both instances, and of pressing interest to scientists.

National Cancer Institute representatives say federal decisions to fund AIDS research are taking money from cancer programs. As examples, they show how many fewer new cancer research proposals have been approved for this year compared with the mid-1970s. Five cancer research and treatment centers are expected to lose federal funding; others will be cut.

Hopping from one dramatic disease to another as the national project of the moment is wrong. It's not just poor policy; it's no policy.

But it must be remembered that budget cuts for a frighteningly comprehensive number of domestic services and programs have been the norm this decade. Cancer research isn't alone.

Moreover, blaming the emotionally charged AIDS issue for loss of funds is a politically clever tactic as budget boundaries begin to take shape. It's like love and war. All is fair when lobbyists go to the line for a piece of the financial pie.