Republican Teabaggers in the U.S. House of Representatives are hell-bent on defunding important government programs that provide critical information regarding threats to U.S. citizens. I’m not talking about the bloated “defense” department or the almost-as-bloated department of homeland security (whatever that’s supposed to mean). I’m talking about NOAA and the NWS, two agencies that routinely provide forecasts of short-, medium-, and long-term weather-related forecasts. Without common-sense funding, these agencies are going to lose capabilities to issue forecasts with the expected level of accuracy to mitigate costs to human lives and economies at all scales.
Think the “private sector” is going to step in and save Americans’ butts? Think again – what private corporation has remote sensing platforms in place today that could provide the kind of data allowing for similarly accurate and responsive forecasts? They don’t. They’re as much in support of socialism as you can be: the American taxpayer pays for those platforms and the expertise held within public agencies to provide, without prejudice, timely information to all of the public equitably. Even if some private sector entity had resources in place, what do you think they would charge for their information if the government didn’t provide the same information to all users for the same price? Could you afford to pay the premiums for the best information? No, the vast majority of Americans could not. What they have right now is a system in which the costs are socialized and the benefits are just as socialized.
Do you think the government agencies don’t provide accurate or timely information? Then take a look at what the loss of polar-orbiting satellites would mean for just one case: the February 5-6, 2010 snowstorm that impacted a large swath of high-population areas of the U.S. Then think about all the storms (and other events) that happen in just one year; how many lives were positively impacted; how much money was saved by having the timely forecasts as accurate as they were. Why would anyone want to negatively impact lives and drive up the costs of responding to extreme weather events? Because, like I said, some folks are hell-bent to prove that their extremist ideology trumps everything else, including common sense and decency. These nutjobs’ attempts to delegitimize science are going to have serious repercussions in the 21st century.