Tonight, an AP article reports that senate “moderates” are working on a compromise stimulus package that cuts $88B from the nominal senate version. Doesn’t sound so bad, until you read the fine print. Here’s what they plan on cutting:
Nearly 20 senators from both parties met twice during the day and reviewed a list of possible cuts totaling 88 billion. They included elimination of at least $40 billion in aid to the states, which have budget crises of their own, as well as $1.4 billion ticketed for the National Science Foundation.
Geesh! We’re talking more than $800B of stimulus and the very first thing on the chopping block is basic science. That demonstrates just how low basic science is regarded. It looks like education is also being cut.
I don’t have anything intelligent to say about this situation. I don’t think there is anything intelligent to say about this situation. They just don’t get it. It’s been shown time and again that advances in basic science stimulate the ecomony. If you’ve ever thought about contacting your senators, the time is now.
Update: The senate reached a compromise last night and due to everyone’s efforts, funding for basic science was mostly restored! The Senate stimulus bill gives NSF $1.2B in additional funding, $330M for DOE Office of Science ($100M for supercomputing was cut), $1B for NOAA, $475M for NIST, $1.3B for NASA, and $2.6B for DOE energy efficiency and renewables. We’ll see what comes out of the House/Senate conference, but this is a good start. Sometimes democracy works.