WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Physical Society (APS), the nation's largest organization of physicists, commends President Obama's exhortation in his State of the Union Speech that, "Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race."
During the Space Race, the nation made huge investments in scientific research, which led to new discoveries, accelerated technological advancements and generated new innovations and businesses.
The President also noted that sequestration -- automatic spending cuts scheduled to occur on March 1 -- would devastate American priorities that include energy, education and research. He added those cuts would hurt the struggling economy and increase job losses. A balanced approach, recommended by the Simpson-Bowles Commission, is needed to address deficit reduction in a responsible way.
The APS understands the importance of America reaching its debt reduction goal for achieving long-term economic stability and ensuring a high standard of living for future generations. However, the APS notes that predictable and sustained federal investments in scientific research and education are needed to grow the economy and promote deficit reduction through increased federal revenues. They are also essential for keeping the U.S. competitive in the face of increased global competition.
For more than half a century, federal investments in science and technology have enabled technologies that have provided Americans with a higher standard of living, a stronger defense and better medical diagnostic and treatment tools. The Internet, the GPS, MRI and the laser are but four prominent examples. As sequestration looms, APS strongly encourages bipartisan support for avoiding counterproductive across-the board cuts that would damage America's scientific enterprise and undercut long-term economic growth.