if you are seeking or receiving government funding for your research, then you need to know how government funding works.
Sometimes I feel like we need to make a “I’m just a budget” cartoon for the science community. We live in a world where people are fighting, and fighting hard, for taxpayer dollars. Some fight to get them spent on defense, some on subsidies, some on education, some on health care, and some fight to have them returned to the taxpayers. But everyone is fighting for something… except us, it seems. So go read Dr. Billing’s full post on the matter for an initial more detailed argument on why you should care about happenings “inside the beltway.” This includes – at a bare minimum – an understanding of how and when our budgets are set at NASA and other science agencies. Start there, and then you can use that as a launching point for intelligent conversations about where our budgets should be changed, and how we may affect those changes.