How the fiscal cliff threatens higher ed research and our economic future

Two recent stories highlight how the fiscal cliff threatens the nation’s long run economic future.

An article by Michael McRobbie, the president of Indiana University, in the Chronicle of Higher Ed focuses on the short and mid-term effects.  If sequestration takes place without any rational allocation of the cuts, $12.5 billion will be immediately cut from Federal research support.  The ten year reduction in Federal support could be over $300 billion, depending on how you calculate the impact.

Lest this sound like another “special interest” protecting it’s piece of the pie, a research center not affiliated with higher education (and Republican leaning, if that matters) estimates that this would reduce by half the basic level research conducted in the United States and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Then consider a recent article by Eduardo Porter in the NY Times notes that, even under Obama’s more generous spending proposal, total discretionary spending as a percentage of the Federal budget will fall to 1.7% of economic output, down from 3.1% last year.  Our basic research enterprise will surely suffer as a result.

The future for American innovation and enterprise are not good.

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One Response to How the fiscal cliff threatens higher ed research and our economic future

  1. Wobaloo says:

    With the Republicans controlling the lower half of Congress there’s not too many good ways this can go, with proceeding over the so-called “fiscal cliff” being the most sane route possible at this point. I know it’s pathetic that it got to this point at all but what you have to understand is that the U.S. stalled its own recovery when it gave the House back to GOP in 2010. That is essentially why we keep getting compromises that we are unhappy with: because we’re trying to reason with ideologues. Until the Republicans are out of the picture we’re going to keep having stories like this:

    It’s going to be a journey that takes time.

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