U.S. should put higher priority on NSF funding

The NSF’s FY 2015 Budget Summary Brochure is out, and it shows that the agency’s request for the next fiscal year is $7.3 billion. I’m disappointed that the number is this small. Consider the following:

NSF FY 2015 budget request $7.3 billion
2013 NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL player salaries >$10 billion
2013 Fedex sales: US overnight mail $8.2 billion
2014 Facebook purchase of WhatsApp $19 billion

In other words, we as a nation spend the same on NSF’s crucial research [1], as on professional player salaries [2, 3, 4, 5, 6], as well as on overnight mail (actually this is Fedex only, not all overnight mail) [7]. At the same time, a corporate giant spends more than twice as much on a single product, than the entire annual budget of the NSF. I have no problem with player salaries (who else can entertain us like they can?), on overnight package costs (I’m looking forward to delivery by drones too), or with corporate decision-making (no expertise on that one). I’m only mentioning these numbers to put into perspective how little we as a nation, with a $16 trillion economy [8], spend on NSF’s research programs.

References (accessed 3/6/14)

[1] FY 2015 Budget Summary Brochure (pdf)
[2] 2013 NBA salaries: http://hoopshype.com/salaries.htm
[3] 2013 NHL salaries: http://www.capgeek.com/payrolls/
[4] 2013 NFL salaries: http://www.besttickets.com/blog/unofficial-2013-nfl-census/
[5] 2013 MLB salaries: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/salaries
[6] 2013 NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL salaries: http://sportslistoftheday.com/2013/04/02/mlb-nfl-nba-and-nhl-2013-team-payrolls/
[7] Fedex Annual Report 2013 (pdf)
[8] US GDP estimate from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States