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U.S. Budget Problems Threaten Competitiveness, Experts Say at AAAS Forum
A panel of influential budget experts on a AAAS panel Thursday warned of dire federal budget problems in the months and years ahead, and said that soaring fixed expenses and looming deficits pose a risk to U.S. funding for research and development.
Appearing at the 31st annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy in Washington, the experts predicted that a divided and unpopular Congress would have trouble agreeing on a 2007 budget before congressional elections in November. That would mean the 2006 budget would prevail into the next yearbut it contains billions less than proposed by President George W. Bush or the U.S. Senate, and that could directly affect planned R&D spending.
In the longer term, they said, unless escalating costs for Social Security, interest payments on the U.S. debt and other mandatory expenses are offset by dramatically increased revenues, the U.S. faces a major debt build-up debts or deep budget cuts. But the tax increases needed to close the gap could be so substantial that they would undermine economic growth.
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