Many of the budget cuts would come in programs that are dear to Obama’s heart, including spending on scientific research, loan programs to support alternative energy, and infrastructure investments. Let’s start with research. Republicans propose cutting $1.1 billion from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences. The plan calls for a $1 billion budget cut at the National Institutes of Health, the federal government’s medical research agency. The Centers for Disease Control would see its funding drop by $755 million. Agricultural research would be cut by $246 million.
Not exactly a recipe to promote future economic growth – is it? Public investment not only promotes long-term growth but is also an effective means for reducing the current aggregate demand gap. Of course, some might argue (incorrectly in my view) that a sizeable portion of the 9 percent unemployment problem comes from a mismatch of job opportunities and the current skills of those looking for work. But if this is the new conservative excuse for massive unemployment – then please explain why the Republicans want to reduce spending on jobs training by $2 billion?