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October 14th, 2009

Molasses at DOE, NSF and NASA

Published on October 14th, 2009 | By: pwray@ceramics.org
Credit: Badagnani

Credit: Badagnani

Referring, of course, to the still glacial flow of Recovery Act funds from these agencies to those who, you know, will actually spend it and have it flow ever onward through the economy.

I really have no insight as to what is going on at DOE or NSF, but when you look at the numbers (below) of how fast other federal agencies are actually distributing their Recovery Act monies, either some agencies are being reckless or the main science agencies are too distracted with coming up with a way to make sure no one scams them.

But, the differences in real Recovery spending between the sciences and everyone else appears to be very stark and increasingly suggests to me that there is some tone deafness at DOE, NSF and NASA when it comes to detecting how difficult things are in the U.S. science community right now, particularly in academia and with companies who make a living providing lab equipment, lab supplies, testing services, etc.

So, here is the comparison (data as of 10/14/09 via the official Recovery website).

Agency

ARRA funds committed

(billions)

% of ARRA funds distributed
HHS $46.5 71%
Labor $32.3 85%
Education $67.6 31%
Soc. Sec. $13.3 100%
Agric. $6.7 77%
Trans. $29.55 12%
HUD $11.3 14%
Treas. $3.79 32%
Justice $3.97 29%
Energy $18.11 4%
NSF $2.4 1%
NASA $.4 8%

For comparison purposes, I’ve included the amounts the agencies already have earmarked to illustrate that there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between the size of the pot and what has been spent. Again, I find the entire situation bizarre, and if any reader has some insight as to what’s going on, I’d appreciate hearing about it.


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