Everyone knows by now that NASA is having budget problems thanks to Bush effectively giving the agency an unfunded mandate to colonize the Moon. The big issues are widely publicized: will they keep the Hubble flying or not, by how much will they push back the Mars exploration missions, which big next-generation space telescopes will get cancelled?
But it's the way NASA is seemingly checking all the couch cusions for loose change that is perhaps more worrisome, and not attracting broad attention. In the conference call I just got out of, there was mention that a mission study I'm involved with will have part of its funding "postponed", that a related detector R&D project was defunded ... the examples keep rolling in. These are programs that are providing, at most, stipends for a handful of grad students. Extremely small change by any measure of Federal budgeting.
And I wonder -- is the situation better or worse at other, lower-profile agencies? I'm inclined to suspect worse in many cases.