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Troubling Forecast on Deficits Looms over Federal Science and Technology Initiatives
President Barack Obama and other elected officials have demonstrated a strong commitment to driving economic growth with science and technology, but federal deficits could create intense pressure to cut spending in the years ahead, speakers told a AAAS audience.
Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, warned that projected budget deficits, along with growing financial obligations for such programs as Social Security and Medicare, could leave science and other discretionary programs fighting for a shrinking pool of discretionary funds.
“The [federal budget] gap is so large as to be unsustainable,” Elmendorf said at the recent AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy. “It cannot persist forever the way it looks that it will under current policies. And the longer it persists, the more drag it creates on people’s income and the greater the risk it creates of a government-centered financial crisis.”
Elmendorf’s talk set a sobering mood for the discussion that also included Roger Beachy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Patrick J. Clemins, director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program.
To learn more about the panel discussion, “The Macro-Economic Horizon: U.S. and Global Outlooks,” read the full story.