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Comments on: Reading the Tea Leaves from Washington

Last Build Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2013 10:44:00 +0000


By: Bob

Thu, 04 Feb 2010 22:47:31 +0000

The earmarks thing actually shows up regularly. The administration always proposed funding with no earmarks (Congressionally-Directed Projects). Congress then adds them back in. This has been happening for years.

By: Norwegian Shooter

Wed, 03 Feb 2010 17:12:17 +0000

Adding some slight politics knowledge to your post. 1. The administration is proposing freezing non-security discretionary funding for next years' budget. So there's no explicit cut to match the 4.4% increase. 2. I would also assume Congressionally Directed Projects refers to earmarks. But eliminating earmarks has been all talk and no action from all sides so far. The realistic goal of the administration is to require all earmarks to go through the normal appropriation process - including committee hearings - and have sponsors' names officially attached to them. President Obama talked about this in his GOP retreat Q and A, which is a must see for everybody, in case you hadn't heard.

By: Katharine

Wed, 03 Feb 2010 14:46:09 +0000

Indeed. NIH gets gobs of research money compared to NSF. The government is more interested in biomedical research than in everything else, and while I'm not complaining at the relatively giant amount of research money that goes to biomedical science (I'm going into a subfield of it), even though right now they're pretty much hurting for extra bucks and virtually nobody can get a grant, I do think that the government tends to be really bad at long-term planning. If it takes longer than four years, they say 'Whoops, takes too long, we're going to have another president.' I actually feel kind of sorry for the physical science people and wish NSF and NASA got more money. Politicians are ridiculous. I frequently lament the fact that we are led by idiots rather than people from among our best and brightest; our president may have marbles but a good portion of the legislature doesn't. But then again, politics is by nature going to attract people who care more about power than doing the smart thing, and someone who is corrupted enough by power is going to focus their attention on gaining more power and not doing the right thing, which means they'll climb the ladder quickly but leave a lot of crud.

By: Lab Lemming

Wed, 03 Feb 2010 02:31:59 +0000

"including an 8% increase for the National Science Foundation and a smaller 3% boost to the National Institutes of Health." I think that you will find that 3% of NIH is larger than 8% of NSF by almost a factor of two.

By: Doug A

Tue, 02 Feb 2010 23:56:53 +0000

Looking at the NASA budget, the disfavored son is astrophysics. While earth and solar observations get boosts, astrophysics gets cut back $100 million. That is going to make it a lot harder to launch future satellites like IXO, JDEM, or LISA, all critical missions to explore dark matter, dark energy, and the nature of gravity.