Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Science in the Fiscal Bluff Bungee Jump

I'm not done yet with the Fiscal Bluff Bungee Jump.  In addition to what it means for energy, there's what it means for science research in the U.S. as a whole as well as the science of how it happened and what could have been done to defuse the situation.

I'll let Wynne Parry of LiveScience go first with What Does the Fiscal Deal Mean for Science?
The deal that lawmakers and the White House finalized late Tuesday (Jan. 1) to avert going over the fiscal cliff leaves science agencies in limbo, delaying a decision on budget cuts for two more months.

The agreement does, however, reduce the potential impact of these cuts.

"I am hopeful they will find a deal that spares the worst of these cuts, that takes a much more balanced approach," said Matt Hourihan of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Tuesday's tax deal, he said, "is a step in that direction."

 The mandatory cuts would affect the current year's budget as well as future ones, leaving agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, NASA and the National Science Foundation in limbo.

"This deal doesn't change that at all, it just extends that condition of uncertainty into the next couple of months," said Hourihan, director of the AAAS research and development budget and policy program.
In other words, the best part of the deal was that it kicked the can down the road on sequestration so that Congress and the President could figure out a less harmful way to reduce spending.  Yeah, I'd like to think they would, but I'm not hopeful, not after listening to all the talk about cutting spending now that "revenues have been taken care of."  Even worse is who is talking about reducing spending, a bunch of anti-science people who helped drive me out of their party into the party that does support science.  Instead, I think science will get another serving of Satan Sandwich.

I have more to say about the science of the Fiscal Bluff when I have more energy.

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