President Obama calls for a new 'Space Race'
During Pres. Obama’s State of the Union address he cautioned lawmakers against cutting funding for federally backed research and development initiatives. He also urged them to bring American R&D back to levels not seen since the height of the space race. Back in 2009 he called for domestic R&D spending to surprise the levels of the 1960s and he wanted those levels to reach 3% of the American GDP.
According to 2000 report from the National Sciences Foundation, non-defense R&D spending accounted for 2.3% of GDP in 2009. Current estimates show that US spending remains under 3%, but this trend contradicts a growing discrepancy between government and industry’s expenditures.
While private and public sector spending has remained relatively stable in recent years, government spending has drastically declined over the last five decades. At its zenith of the mid-1960s, R&D expenditures comprised around 25 percent of federal discretionary spending. Today, that figure hovers around 10 percent, as it has for the last decade.
There has been general bipartisan agreement when it comes to funding large institutional research organizations such as the NSF, but to push his full proposal through Congress, Obama will have to strike a careful balance between government support and perceived overreach.
Source: The Verge