Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Circling the Drain

In the Atlantic a letter from Paul Alivisator, director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Eric Isaacs, director of Argonne National Laboratory and Thom Mason, Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Most of the talk about sequestration has focused on its immediate impacts -- layoffs, furloughs, and cancelled White House tours in the days and weeks ahead. But one severe impact of the automatic spending cuts will only be felt years -- or even decades -- in the future, when the nation begins to feel the loss of important new scientific ideas that now will not be explored, and of brilliant young scientists who now will take their talents overseas or perhaps even abandon research entirely.

Less than one percent of the federal budget goes to fund basic science research -- $30.2 billion out of the total of $3.8 trillion President Obama requested in fiscal year 2012. By slashing that fraction even further, the government will achieve short-term savings in millions this year, but the resulting gaps in the innovation pipeline could cost billions of dollars and hurt the national economy for decades to come.

As directors of the Department of Energy's National Laboratories, we have a responsibility both to taxpayers and to the thousands of talented and committed men and women who work in our labs. We are doing everything we can to make sure our scientists and engineers can keep working on our nation's most pressing scientific problems despite the cuts. It's not yet clear how much funding the National Labs will lose, but it will total tens of millions of dollars. Interrupting -- or worse, halting -- basic research in the physical, biological, and computational sciences would be devastating, both for science and for the many U.S. industries that rely on our national laboratory system to power their research and development efforts.
Instead, this drop in funding will force us to cancel all new programs and research initiatives, probably for at least two years. This sudden halt on new starts will freeze American science in place while the rest of the word races forward, and it will knock a generation of young scientists off their stride, ultimately costing billions in missed future opportunities.
More at the link

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

The sky has not fell because of a 2.2% reduction in the federal budget that was not a cut. Although the sequester plan reduces Federal Spending by $85 billion a year, the budget will continue to increase spending by more than $230 billion a year for the next ten years.

How will we ever survive when the Federal Government will be spending $6.3 trillion a year ten years from now.


Bunnies suck at math.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Someone on the Internet has a reading comprehension problem.

Anon@8:17, We are not talking about the whole budget. We are talking about the frigging science budget, which is already underfunded. At a time when high-tech companies are screaming that they can't get enough US born STEM grads, we are cutting back on the very programs that create them. Do you understand now, or shall I draw you a frigging map?

Hank Roberts said...

Ya know, when the automatic posting bot isn't smart enough to understand "add some distinguishing name to your comment such as Mickey, Minnie, Mighty, or Fred" -- why post its output?

It's a pretty simple Turing Test there, if you used it.

Anonymous said...

Poor a_ray cannot understand math, oh so sorry.

Department og Energy National Labatories increased their 2010 budget by 3.2% in 2013. The post states they are worried about losing "It's not yet clear how much funding the National Labs will lose, but it will total tens of millions of dollars. Interrupting -- or worse, halting -- basic research in the physical, biological, and computational sciences would be devastating, both for science and for the many U.S. industries that rely on our national laboratory system to power their research and development efforts."

LMAO

$20 million is 1/1500 of there $30 billion budget and that is going to halt basic research.


Sorry but if you believe that hyperbole you are a moron.

Anonymous said...

Sorry "their" and "2012 budget" not 2010.


And of course Hank as it is easy to just dismiss words of a person you do not agree with, without reading the words.

Please continue covering your eyes and ears and saying "nananananananana" over and over and every thing will be OK.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Don't you just love it when someone calls someone else a moron while themselves not knowing the difference between "there" and "their"?

Smells like... fear.

Poor clownshoe doesn't understand that research labs have been underfunded for years, nor that Congresscritters load earmarks into science appropriations so that they are not targeted to do science efficiently.

This is understandable, as I doubt clownshoe has ever opened a science book.

Anonymous said...

Don't you love it when you are accused of calling someone in particular a moron when you did no such thing, unless of course you believe that a 1/1500th reduction in budget will cause all basic research to stop. hahaha.


I see now that a_ray concedes that a 1/1500th reduction in dollars is not the problem it is unsubstantiated claims of "earmark" by "congrescritters".

It is understandable as it is rather onvious that a_ray has never opned a math book.

James Cliborn said...

One would hope that the directors of three national laboratories would be accorded the ultimate in respect. I can only assume they speak the truth and this is no way to fix our economy.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Interesting. Yet another case in point--the more nervous the conservibot gets, the more he wants us to think he's laughing. Keep pressing, and maybe we can get him to say "Oh ho ho..."

Note that the conservatives never want you to look at details--things don't look bad until you look at the details.

The FACTS though are found in the details. The budget amputations cut very hard into science at a time when we don't have enough scientists. It cuts into education when an education is more important for your earning potential than ever. But conservitroll doesn't care about science because it keeps telling him the Earth is more than 4000 years old.

Anonymous said...

a_ray 's "Facts"

"The FACTS though are found in the details. The budget amputations cut very hard into science at a time when we don't have enough scientists."

You are have aversion to facts and a projection of your feelings onto other commentors is obvious and frequent.

Fact: The Department of Energy may lose 1/1500th of their budget. That is neither a harsh or deep cut.


A-ray thinks reducing something by 1/1500th of its size is drastic.

So the $3.8 trillion budget is to be redcued by $85 billion this year roughly 2.2% and the world is going to end.

Gues what genius we all had our incomes reduced 2% this year, did you have to make drastic cuts in your life? Did you eat your pet? Hang around the street corners with a sign "will rage, lie and act stupid for food?"


a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Alas, Anonytroll doesn't pass the Turing test. He can't pick up that WHERE you cut is important. Were one to cut out 2% of your femoral artery, you would lose your leg.

Do you even have any idea what DOE does?

Anonymous said...

Poor a_ray cannot even read the post that Eli wrote.


"It's not yet clear how much funding the National Labs will lose, but it will total tens of millions of dollars."


Poor a_ray cannot understand that if the budget is slated to grow by $320 billion and it is then cut by $85 billion ,that it has still grown by $235 billion.

Poor a_ray cannot understand that a budget that grew 3.5% from the prior year and is only facing a cut equal to 1/1500th of its size it is not drastic.


I am sure the DOE can find savings equal to 1/1500th of their budget. A_ray prefers the chicken little method of reaction, hopefully saner and calmer people exist at the DOE.

Brian said...

My water district was informed this week that the Army Corps of Engineers will likely handle sequestration by furloughing staff (many people on COE staff are civilian).

COE is notoriously slow in moving flood control projects. This will make it worse, as well as providing an excuse for slowness in years to come.

I will happily report back to doubting anonymice if and when furloughs happen.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonytroll, your are simply too stupid to ever learn or understand anything. The sole good purpose you serve is sequestering carbon.

Anonymous said...

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

"Don't you just love it when someone calls someone else a moron while themselves not knowing the difference between "there" and "their"?

Or "fell" and "fallen"...


Bernard J.

[I think, and I sign my name, therefore I am not a robot.

QED.]


[Recaptcha says "expovir 2822" - I wonder if that's good for getting rid of a nasty dose of troll?]

dhogaza said...

"The sky has not fell because of a 2.2% reduction in the federal budget that was not a cut."

I'm amazed that no one has pointed out that it's more like 7% of discretionay spending.

I will say, though, that this has gotten Obama the defense cuts that he couldn't get if he asked them. It's ironic.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous sez:
Oh, dear. Oh, honey, NO. STHAP! Plz. Troll, please, just... stop. Go back to WUWT or something, they will tell you everything you want to hear. YES, you are right, OK? Natural laws will conform, and etc...

Anonymous said...

I see no one disputes the numbers I have provided.

Anon,

I have never posted at WUWT, never.


Brian,

Who doubts that the Army Corps of Engineers said they "might" do something. That has been the whole giant scare tactic the Obama administration is pushing to use as leverage.

So we have a $1 trillion + deficit, the sequester only reduces the rate of growth in spending, we are piling onto that $16 trillion debt and what is important is the Waterboy might see some people furloughed a few days out of the bloated bureaucracy in his water district. (your day ends at 4:53pm, got it).


a_ray how much more will you panic if we increase the DOE cuts from 1/1500th of their budget to 1/1000th?

John said...

Spelling Correction

I know the first-listed author of the letter to The Atlantic, Paul Alivisatos. Eli mistakenly ended the name with "r" not "s". Yeah, I know Greek names can be hard.
As penance, Eli should conjugate a verb in Greek, and say "what's nu, pussycat?" to five people he meets at random in the street.

Anonymous said...

John,

a_ray does not notice spelling errors from people he worships, uh er I mean he agrees with.

BPW said...

Now some, not BPW to be sure, might ask themselves if the way the feds spend their money, especially at places like Los Alamos and Sandia (where BPW spends a great deal of time) might be a bigger problem than the actual amount of money available. BPW could personally show those concerned millions of dollars of useless equipment purchased because "we have to spend the money or we lose it and we won't get it next year".

But perhaps it is better to bitch about budget cuts and politics rather than looking at the real issue and pretending it doesn't exist.

FWIW, BPW makes his living as a consultant at those places and , as such, stands to lose business if funding is cut. But the problem isn't lack of funding so much as a broken system of spending what is there.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonytroll is too stupid to see the link between science funding and producing the next generation of scientists.

Anonytroll: THE HIGH-TECH COMPANIES ARE SCREAMING THEY CAN'T FIND ENOUGH SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS NOW!!! DO YOU THINK CUTTING SCIENCE FUNDING WILL FIX THAT, CLOWNSHOE?

Anonymous said...

a_ray your shouting just makes you appear unhinged and unctrolled, calm down.


Once again reducing a budget by 1/1500th after increasing it 3.2% is not a problem. How you translate that as a drastic reduction in funding science just speaks to your idiocy.

If we represent DOE FY12 budget as 1000. Increase it by 3.2% to 1032 and then calculate 1/1500th of 1032 we get .688, round up to .7.

So the new FY13 budget for DOE can be represented by 1031.3.


For real $$. The DOE FY13 request is ~$900 million more than last year and they are now facing "tens of millions of dollars in cuts."


OMG science is going away!

Anonymous said...

BPW,

Another sane voice. Good point, many budgets at the Federal Level do work in that manner, use it or lose it next year.

It is hard to understand how a_ray is so freaked out by a 1/1500th reduction in a ~$30 billion budget.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonyturd, The problem with fundy morons like you is that you hate science, and you are too dim to appreciate the irony of using a computer and the Intertubes to broadcast your stupidity.

Anonymous said...

A_ray,

Everything you write is wrong, as usual. I am sorry that you think a 1/1500th reduction in spending for the DOE is going to end science.


All that fossil fuel that is burned to produce and power the computer that you are on is a much bigger slice of irony for you, genius.


Can Rabett Run put forth someone that has at least a triple digit IQ and understands 3rd grade math to discuss what 1/1500th means to a $30 billion budget? A_ray isnot provinding any useful conversation on the topic.

David B. Benson said...

Anony vole still at it, I see.

BPW said...

Anon,

It is worse than that. Every year the senate has to appropriate funding for those places. And that takes time. And because the feds endmtheir fiscal on 9/30 some of those months are holidays. By the time the money is in place, half the year has passed. And then there is a frenzy of spending by those lucky to get it. Then the end of year hemmoraging fors the use it or lose it crowd.

It is a seriously bad way to fund anything, much less our most important government projects and research.

Anonymous said...

David Benson,

Your contributions to the topic are always the most useful. How do you find the time to so eloquently write such a detailed and thorough analysis of Federal Department budgets and so easily speak to all the numbers that have been provided.

You have to be a legend in your own mind.

Anonymous said...

Fact: "What does sequestration mean for federal energy programs? Before the cuts were postponed for two months, OMB identified annual reductions totaling $2.4 billion from non-exempted programs within the Department of Energy. That included cuts of about 8% to the department's science budget, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), ARPA-E, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, innovative technology loan guarantees, and other activities."

That is not 1/1500 of a budget of 30 billion, ie 0.066%. However, 2.4/30 is 8% as the article indicates. So the troll is only wrong by a factor of 12000%. Better than usual.

Rib Smokin' bunny

Anonymous said...

RSB,

Then perhaps you should ask Eli to retract his post where he quotes a source.

"As directors of the Department of Energy's National Laboratories, we have a responsibility both to taxpayers and to the thousands of talented and committed men and women who work in our labs. We are doing everything we can to make sure our scientists and engineers can keep working on our nation's most pressing scientific problems despite the cuts. It's not yet clear how much funding the National Labs will lose, but it will total tens of millions of dollars."


Your problem is with the numbers Eli provided that I commented on.

Did you provide a source?


Nice fail though.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

To call anonytroll an idiot would insult idiots.

Anonymous said...

A_ray,

Nice o you to say, your usual level of contribution. Math is still hard for you I see.

Why did you power up your computer and emit all that carbon into the atmosphere just to call me an idiot? Do you not care about the planet?

We all know the real answer to the question. Between your excessive power use and Waterboy soaking the taxpayer for "meetings", its a wonder you have anything you truly support.