|Volume 2: No. 28|
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the U.S. will lose over 800K defense-sector jobs by 1995 -- or possibly 2.5M by 1997 if larger cuts are made. Each prime-contractor position entails about three subcontracting jobs and 1.5 service-industry jobs. California has lost 75K aerospace jobs this year (mostly in Southern California), and can expect to lose another 220K. Defense contractors may be able to offset 25%-30% of the losses with private-sector work, but very few such companies have ever made a successful transition to non-defense. Smaller manufacturing companies are also in danger, despite their strengths in applying state-of-the-art technology. They often need government assistance with strategic planning, management, production processes, and accessing new markets. [Richard D. Schmidt, SJM, 6/29.] The manufacturers may need consultants and new hires with technical skills, as well as business consultants.
Candidate Bill Clinton has pledged to move money to the civilian sector, doubling the current 9% budget for "investments in the future" such as R&D, training, and infrastructure. He would create a civilian DARPA, boost high-speed rail transit and door-to-door fiber optics, aid small defense manufacturers, implement national K-12 testing and an apprenticeship program, and strengthen R&D and investment tax credits. [John A. Adam, The Institute, 7/92.]
Senator Gore (D-TN) has entered a bill, The Information Infrastructure and Technology Act of 1992, that calls for NSF to connect K-12 schools to NSFNET and to sponsor educational software and teacher training ($300M/5 years); NIST to develop networking technology for manufacturing ($250M); NIH, NLM, and NSF to develop applications for health care ($300M); and NSF, NASA, and DARPA to develop digital libraries and databases ($300M). OSTP would coordinate the activities under the HPCC initiative. Gore's office is (202) 224-4944. [David J. Farber (email@example.com), com-priv, 7/1.] Text of Gore's bill is available via FTP as gorebill.1992.txt in /nren/iita.1992 on nic.merit.edu. You can also mail a "send gorebill.1992.txt" message to firstname.lastname@example.org. [Mark Davis-Craig (email@example.com), com-priv, 7/6.]
Dave Hughes (firstname.lastname@example.org) says that the Community Learning and Information Network (CLIN or CLN) shows promise as a national educational infrastructure. It was proposed to the Educational and Human Resources Committee of the Federal Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering and Technology (FCCSET) Learning Communities in Washington by a loose consortium centered on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Goals included U.S. workforce retraining, K-12 education, and military reservist training. It would cost $40 million to launch, but would fund itself as it grew. Early flaws have been fixed and the remaining backers are can-do people. Dave likes it because it's the only strategic plan that could serve heterogeneous end-user communities through virtual learning centers. (CLIN's early draft specified a physical "big-urban, high-tech learning center" model.) The program's chief scientist is UCSD's Mike Wiskerchen. [com-priv, 7/5.] Dave later pointed out that Congress was very unhappy with the time it took to bring reservists up to speed for Desert Storm. (Some of them never made it.) Simulators and computer aides for reservist training may be an R&D opportunity.
A House bill by Tom Lewis (R-FL), H.R. 4418, would return graduate-student stipends to pre-Reagan tax-exempt status, and would return all such taxes paid since 1986. [murgesh @entropy.esd.sgi.com, sci.research.careers. Bill Park (email@example.com), 6/25.]
Bill H.R. 5011 would repeal the infamous "1706" legislation that forced many computer consultants to become employees of clients or brokers. You can get the text from your Representative or from the CSIA Computer Software Industry Association's legislative section on the DICE BBS, (408) 727-3423. [Kaye Caldwell, SEF, 7/92.]
California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) is proposing that independent consultants and contractors (including lawyers and other professionals) be subject to tax withholding on their fees and that they pay estimated taxes monthly rather than quarterly. Fees paid to out-of-state consultants by California firms might also be subject to withholding. Brown's office is at (916) 445-8077, (916) 446-4189 Fax. [SJM, 7/2. Brett Glass (firstname.lastname@example.org), misc.taxes. Cliff Williams (cmw @netcom.com), online, 7/2.] CSIA reports that the matter has been "laid to rest" for now, with no active bill pending. [Kaye Caldwell, SEF, 7/92.]
Two technology advisors to the Bush administration complain that scientists are not articulating their case. Alan Bromley says "When groups come to see us, [I ask] what would you do with the assistance? The typical response is" 'We haven't gotten around to that yet.'" Bromely, the President's science advisor, can be reached at (202) 456-7116. Clayton Yeutter, the President's domestic policy counselor, awaits your comments and questions at (202) 456-2216. [New Technology Week. Rory J. O'Connor, SJM, 7/1.]