Sequestration and NASA

Here we go again. Yesterday an aerospace organization, Aerospace Industries Association, released a sixteen page report [pdf] claiming that NASA will lose 20,500 jobs and NOAA 2,500 if the federal government goes over the “fiscal cliff” and sequestration happens.

Immediately, a slew of news articles xeroxed this report to pound home this point, noting the job loses for the specific cities of each newspaper and how disaster awaits the country if sequestration is allowed to take place and we go over that blessed “fiscal cliff”:

The trouble is, this is all hogwash and bad journalism.

First of all, the 16 page report itself is nothing more than 12 pages of op-ed blather (four pages have nothing on them but graphics), issued by an industry advocacy group trying to save government jobs and reiterating an earlier industry doomsday document [pdf] that made similar claims about how sequestration was going to destroy the Defense department.

None of this is true. Sequestration requires that the budgets of NOAA and NASA be cut by 8.2 percent, which will simply bring their budgets back to the budgets these agencies had in 2009 and 2005 respectively. In both cases, the agencies functioned quite well with this amount of money, the economy was doing better than today, and we didn’t have trillion dollar deficits.

It is very clear to me that no one is really serious about getting our federal debt under control. Congress and the President, reading the writing on the wall from this past election, is going to do everything in their power to stop sequestration and allow spending to increase. The public appears to agree, as well as the press, which in this case at least seems quite unwilling to publish the simple fact that sequestration is hardly a pinprick to the size of the federal government.

And the result is going to be catastrophe, not only for these very agencies but for the nation itself. For if we go bankrupt and the economy collapses under the weight of the federal debt, I can guarantee to everyone that neither NOAA nor NASA will be able to do anything, no less function as they did a mere decade ago.

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