The first cut is the deepest: Smithsonian to take massive money cuts
April 10, 2001 9:05 AM   Subscribe

The first cut is the deepest: Smithsonian to take massive money cuts Under the budget submitted to Congress this week, deep cuts to be made in Smithsonian programs and divisions, as well as personnel. It is, I believe, cuts, seldom making big media stories, that give us an idea of what is viewed as important by our political figures
posted by Postroad (11 comments total)
I'll give 'em a hundred bucks for the X-1 if they're going to be de-accessioning it.
posted by jfuller at 9:39 AM on April 10, 2001


Let me guess: now we'll have "The Smithsonian, as brought to you by the Philip Morris family of companies!"
posted by aramaic at 12:01 PM on April 10, 2001

More likely to be oil companies who get the naming rights with Dick and Bush in charge. Well at least Dick in charge. ;)
posted by terrapin at 12:12 PM on April 10, 2001

Dammit, I knew this was going to happen. I'm all for less goverment but this is too much. First NASA now this. What is Bush spending money on?
posted by Brilliantcrank at 12:45 PM on April 10, 2001

Maybe I'm misreading the article. It seems to me that these cuts are being proposed by Smithsonian officials, not the Bush administration.

I'd love to get angry at Bush over this, but it looks like he didn't have anything to do with it.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:58 PM on April 10, 2001


Of course it's Bush and Cheney's fault. Everything is their fault now that they are the conservative administration. I stubbed my toe the other day, damn GWB. That's getting a little old on MeFi. I hated the hell out of Clinton, but I was objective when it came to trying to figure out where to put blame. But Hillary, now that's another story. :)
posted by the_0ne at 1:19 PM on April 10, 2001

"The Smithsonian, as brought to you by the Philip Morris family of companies!"

Well, you already have The Smithsonian, ideologically screened by General Electric, so no change there.
posted by holgate at 1:21 PM on April 10, 2001

I used to work in there. (Speciffically, the Smithsonian Castle). This was my one and only govt job and let me tell you, i've never seen so much inefficiency and waste anywhere else.

Maybe when their budget gets cut, they'll think about that.
posted by Witold at 3:45 PM on April 10, 2001

I'm sure there's plenty of waste in the Castle, Witold, but that's not where the cuts are. The cuts are in research. Frankly, I'm not all that worried about cutting research on preservation of materials, but I find axing an animal preservation research center alarming. It's not the sort of work that's going to be taken on by a private company. In any case, if you totally eliminate a research center, it's pretty tough for them to become more efficient.

That said, you surely can't blame the Bush administration for the cuts. The Smithsonian itself is proposing the budget. And note that the budget overall is increasing; they're just slashing funds for scientific research. It sounds like the Secretary (aptly named Small) is focusing on publicly visible programs that will help raise revenue. He's building an empire. There's nothing wrong with building an empire, but that's not what public funds are for. Maybe someone in congress will stop him.
posted by anapestic at 3:59 PM on April 10, 2001

In the last few years, various Smithsonian programs (3 I can think of) were on the brink, having been budgeted a grand total of 0$ or something near that. All rally and lobby for funding when they realize that their program may cease to exist the following year. And in the past, all of them got their funding somewhere along the legislative process. We'll see what happens this time.
posted by Witold at 5:05 PM on April 10, 2001

y6, surely you realize that as an Executive Branch agency, the Smithsonian is only doing what they have been asked in submitting a trimmed-down budget. Or, yeah, sure -- they volunteered to spend less money because they're just that nice.

Congress will probably get involved in making the final decisions on what gets axed or trimmed -- e.g. something like the species conservation program looks like a prime candidate for raising hell amongst the environmental lobby. So that provides a little political cover, though it may decrease the control the Institution ultimately has over the process. In other words, Congress could choose something that Small though he was protecting.
posted by dhartung at 7:20 PM on April 10, 2001

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