Happy 2013. The Fiscal Cliff compromise that was passed by Congress last night mainly addressed the tax (revenue) side of the fiscal debate between the Democrats and the GOP. The spending side of that debate was put of for a bit…as things stand science funding still will get axed across the board two months from now. With the tax leverage gone, the remaining hope is that somehow the NIH and NSF will get bundled into the debate over DOD such that they are all protected against across the board, mindless cuts. I’m not optimistic on that one, although historically NIH and NSF have enjoyed bipartisan support.
In the meantime, the notion of the need to prudently invest in science–as well as cut back generally–doesn’t seem to be out there as an argument.
Next up however is the second debt-ceiling debate. The House GOP members say they intend to use the debt limit as leverage to get more cuts. My economist colleagues tell me that is playing with fire.