Monday, June 26, 2006

We are planning to launch another shuttle July 1st

This should be the last liftoff for NASA.

Yes, the program should be cut.

Wait, the noble American space program? The program that beat the Soviets in the race to the moon? The program that has such distinguished names as John Glenn and Neil Armstrong on its list of alumni?

And who didn't want to be a courageous astronaut growing up? Who during the tender years of childhood was not fascinated by the prospect of discovering billions of stars and trillions of new exciting worlds?

So it pains me to say what must be said--Yes we need to cut the NASA program and quickly!

NASA's budget is over $14 billion dollars a year. $14 billion is larger than most states' budgets.

Now, many will argue that compared to other Government programs the NASA budget is very small. This is true. For instance our government spent 30 times more on Social Security than on the NASA budget.

However, just because we spend more in other areas does that mean that taxpayers shouldn't care about the 14 billion dollars we literally launch into outer space each year?

No, of course not. The $14 billion dollars wasted on NASA could have went towards tax cuts for the middle class. Or vouchers for state higher education (like Georgia's HOPE program). Hell, anything would be better than how we are wasting those billions now.

And I do mean waste. I know that the NASA program had a lot of glory in the 60s and 70s. The private industry thinkers pushed the NASA program forward in its early days. But the longer a government program lives the more inefficient and political it will get... and mistakes will be made. NASA is sadly no different.

To be fair go to this rather Pro-NASA website and look at all the "wonders" we have been given because of NASA's dedicated work the past 30 years:

  • Enriched Baby Food
  • Golf Ball Aerodynamics
  • Wind Monitor
  • Voice Controlled Wheelchair

"These are all wonderful things," you might say. "When I am out on the links it is great to have a space-age golf ball" you might say.

Perhaps, but just think what the free market could do with an additional $14 billion a year since the mid 1970s! Seeing how the free market is not constrained with nearly as much red tape or the political lobbying that characterizes a government program such as NASA it is a safe bet that perhaps we could have gotten a much better return for our investment.

And maybe, just maybe, better designed golf balls.

After The Launch:

Isn't it such a shame that it took 4 tries to get the shuttle into space? And now they are repairing things!


Well, well... it looks like someone else agrees with me about NASA's problems.

And another article that agrees!


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"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction"--Ronald Reagan