Effects of sequestration harm future innovation
As of Saturday morning, the federal budget has been passed, and America can finally stop debating endlessly over the implications of Congress’s inaction. However, the long-awaited resolution came a little too late. Just the day before, NASA announced that it would be suspending its education and outreach programs due to funding sequestration.
The sequestration effectively cut $1 billion from NASA’s budget, and the cut has now curtailed training and travel expenses as well as online and media initiatives. Even this past week, the cuts prevented NASA scientists from attending a conference, and there’s no telling what will be cut in the future. Currently, NASA hosts a plethora of camps and programs for students of all ages and sponsors numerous other science and technology-related activities, all initiatives necessary to our nation’s advancement. And when belts have to be tightened on programs that train minds and foster technological development, everyone bears the consequences.
Many programs have been affected by sequestration, and NASA’s cuts are not necessarily more disastrous than cuts to welfare programs or military salaries or any of the other victims of sequestration. However, there should be a process that allows the repealing of certain sequestration cuts if these cuts affect education. As it stands, one of the few things we can still credit to our country is our emphasis on progress through innovation, a principle embodied by NASA. A blow to its ability to educate people would be a blow to America’s long-term progress.