Obama new budget cuts include scrapping the Constellation program. The highest profile aspect to the program is a return to the Moon, but the most important aspect is the development of replacement vehicles for the aging shuttle fleet. America is getting out of manned space flight. There is talk of allocating monies to keep the shuttles going longer, but with no replacement being developed where would that take us? We've have seen, on two occasions, what happens when one of these machines isn't in peak working order. Duct tape solutions only go so far. There is also talk of handing things over to the private sector, but the private sector isn't anywhere near ready to carry this burden. The most advanced private companies are not yet ready to deliver low sub-orbital flights, something NASA was doing 60 years ago. Moreover, the private sector will have to pay the same costs, plus mark things up in order to make a profit. There's no savings there.
Yes, we're in the midst of a great recession. Yes, there's a war on. Two, in fact. But there is still so much fat that could be trimmed in Washington, and no reason not to start with the billions that are being spent to buy support from Congressmen and Senators who never seem to vote for anything unless there's something in it for them.
Looks like its time to break out the English-Mandarin dictionary, because some countries are still moving forward.
NOTE: NASA's budget is now lower than its been since 1959, at less than half a percent of US spending.