That is what president claimed during a speech Friday afternoon at Argonne National Laboratory just outside of Chicago. He was there to talk about a proposal for more spending on green energy projects, but got all worked up when talking about how the sequester will impact basic scientific research:
Just the other day Dr. Isaacs and directors of two of other national laboratories wrote about the effects of the so-called sequester, these across-the-board budget cuts put in place two weeks ago. Specifically, the effects it will have on America’s scientific research. One of the reasons I was opposed to these cuts is because they don’t distinguish between wasteful programs and vital investments. They don’t trim the fat. They cut into muscle and into bone. Like research and development being done right here that not only gives a great place for young researchers to come and ply their trade but also ends up creating all kinds of spin-offs that create good jobs and good wages.
So Dr. Isaacs said these cuts will force him to stop any new project that is coming down the line. I am quoting him now, he says: This sudden halt on new starts will freeze American science in place us while the race of the world races forward and it will knock a generation of young scientists off their stride, ultimately costing billions of dollars in missed future opportunities. Essentially, because of the sequester, we are looking at two years where we don’t start new research.
The article President Obama was referring to can be found here, written by scientists Paul Alivisatos, Eric D. Isaacs, AND Thom Mason. They do make the claims that Obama attribute to them, though as recipients of the funding they are not exactly disinterested observers.
Also, while Obama claimed he opposed the cuts from the beginning and they were poorly thought-out, they were in fact first proposed by his White House and signed into law by him.