By Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) - 03/05/13 01:11 AM EST
From Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.)
I understand why Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are upset about the possibility of Fisker Automotive being sold to a Chinese company (“Thune, Grassley against Fisker sale to Chinese company,” Feb. 20), but I respectfully disagree with their conclusions.
It is clear that Fisker needs substantial capital partners in order to remain solvent and continue operations. I did not support the Obama administration’s green energy loan program and still believe it was a bad idea. However, the fact of the matter is that the best way for Fisker to pay the taxpayer back is by means of raising capital through a strategic partnership.
A less-mentioned victim of sequester: Innovation
From Kevin Kelly, vice president of Van Scoyoc Associates
Today’s polarized Congress has chosen the budget process as its battlefield, waging war between the lines of the federal ledger. Look no further than the continued battle over the sequester cuts. Agencies small and large will be hit by this budgetary meat-ax, and these cuts will be felt in every corner of every American community.
Among the most troublesome of these issues are the impacts of budget cuts on our once-thriving innovation economy, fueled by federally funded research and development. We know the cuts will hit Medicare. We know they will cripple our defense. What receives less ink, however, is how they will impact more under-the-radar, but no less important, agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Those who allow these cuts to take place ignore that investment in research has driven our ability to innovate and profoundly improved the quality — and longevity — of our lives. Grants from the NIH have led to a better understanding of some of the most pressing diseases of our time — health problems like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. This new knowledge has allowed scientists to develop treatments (or cures) for these illnesses — all because federal funding enabled scientists to discover scientific breakthroughs in these and other fields.
With the blind budget slashing mandated by the sequester, 25 percent of NIH grants will be completely eliminated, crippling biomedical advances and halting the important progress that’s been made. New products with the promise to cure our biological ills will be squeezed out of a rapidly tightening marketplace as an entire generation of young people and revolutionary ideas are cut off.
As we encourage students at all levels to explore science, technology, engineering and math, massive cuts to these programs will discourage our next generation from becoming engineers, biotechnologists and health researchers. Thanks to Congress’s inaction, younger scientists who lack the track record of their older colleagues will find it increasingly difficult to fund their research, and the innovation economy will wither on the vine.
Originally, the sequester was designed as a threat — a safeguard against congressional inaction. Congress’s continued failure to seriously address deficit reduction has put us and our future in a precarious situation. These budget battles now come with unintended consequences on a scale we cannot begin to imagine.
With the sequester, we will experience a ripple effect that will shake future capacities to their cores. We take for granted the results of NIH research and development, and we often turn a blind eye to their trickle-down effects. But if we are to continue our role leading the world in these major advances, we must approach issues with a scalpel rather than a butcher knife. We — and Congress — must acknowledge that without federal funding to support research and development, we lose our competitive edge and our ability to lead the next generation into the future.
Congress, White House reap what they’ve sown
From Denny Freidenrich
A picture’s worth a thousand words. The one being painted by the White House recently is simple and to the point: Sequestration, the $85 billion across-the-board budget cuts, will slow the economy and devastate poor families and seniors.
The picture offered up by economists outside of Washington looks different. Many argue that the sequester cuts, figured to range between 1 and 2 percent drop of government spending, will force federal agencies to tighten their belts but not gut the nation’s safety net.
What I wonder is this: Is there anyone out there who believes the looming spending cuts actually will stimulate the economy and, thus, be a financial boost to America?
Eighteen months ago, when Congress put sequestration in motion, political insiders congratulated themselves for being so clever. Now, many of those same electeds aren’t feeling so smug.
Ditto the American people.
Laguna Beach, Calif.