Whatever you call them fiscal cliff, austerity bomb, Debtpocalypsethe impending automatic federal spending cuts are likely to endanger the nations short-term economic recovery.
By BRADY DEATON and BERNADETTE GRAY-LITTLE
Special to The Star
But they also pose a real threat to the long-term prosperity of the United States.
For starters, federal financial aid, without which many students couldnt attend college, stands to be cut.
At our universities, tens of thousands of students receive some sort of federal financial aid.
Without it, many of these students will take longer to graduate, will have to take out more loans and will simply drop out.
For these students, their future prosperity will be dimmed, and with it, the hopes of a nation that is facing serious workforce shortages in a range of fields.
When the recovery does kick in, businesses simply wont be able to find the workers they need to grow.
Also set to be cut: research that not only creates jobs directly and through the commercialization of discoveries but that also saves lives.
At the University of Kansas, we just earned National Cancer Institute designation, which will provide cancer patients throughout the region with access to new treatments and clinical trials. This is on top of our federally supported research into Alzheimers, autism, and a range of other conditions, not to mention scholarship in a wide range of fields outside of health and wellness.
The University of Missouri is home to the nations most powerful university nuclear research reactor, the focal point for many federally sponsored projects, from work on nuclear medicine and pharmaceuticals to structural engineering.
And just this month, the MU Sinclair School of Nursing announced a $14.8 million federal grant that will improve the lives of seniors by investigating ways to reduce re-hospitalizations of nursing home residents.
The automatic spending cuts would halt research in a range of areas, not only having immediate consequences for the researchers employed in these efforts, but harming the nations long-term growth and prosperity.
We agree with our fellow university leaders from around the country that all options discretionary spending cuts and reforms to entitlements and taxes need to be on the table.
There is no other way to avoid inhibiting the economys short-term recovery while still addressing our long-term fiscal issues.
The best way to solve our long-term debt challenge is by creating an economy that has both the educated workers and new discoveries that lead to sustained growth.
Universities can help but not if our students and our researchers are hit with federal spending cuts that are preventable.
Were confident our representatives in Washington can find a responsible, balanced solution to this challenge. If Jayhawks and Tigers can come together for the good of the nation, surely Democrats and Republicans can, too.
Brady J. Deaton is the chancellor of the University of Missouri. Bernadette Gray-Little is the chancellor of the University of Kansas.