Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Moon Flights and Dreams

In the interest of minimal fairness, and in the spirit of equal-opportunity ridicule of petty tyrants, of both the elephant and donkey varieties, here's half a cheer for the Obama administration. For the time being, they appear to have killed the latest moon-flight boondoggle. That's a good thing, as far as it goes. But I'm limiting myself to half a cheer, because it doesn't go nearly far enough:
Instead of going back to the moon, the administration wants to invest $6 billion over five years in a commercial taxi to orbit. The idea is to let the private sector take over the routine flights into space.
It seems to me that to "let the private sector take over" anything doesn't cost $6B; it costs nothing. So let's pay what it costs. I'm leaving aside, for now, the regal mindset by which the Feds either "let" -- or don't let -- the private sector do this or that.

Of course, the welfare recipients of both major-brand parties are howling:
"The president's proposed NASA budget begins the death march for the future of U.S. human space flight," Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) said Monday morning. "The cancellation of the Constellation program and the end of human space flight does represent change -- but it is certainly not the change I believe in."

Last week, anticipating the news about the Constellation, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), whose state stands to lose 7,000 jobs when the space shuttle program ends next year, said, "[T]he president's green-eyeshade-wearing advisers are dead wrong. And I, for one, intend to stand up and fight for NASA, and for the thousands of people who stand to lose their jobs."
I'm not here to choose from among evils. If I were, though, I'd spare NASA and its potential lunar and planetary voyages, on the grounds that they aren't the big hogs, and aren't primarily aimed toward the waging of war. Note that the news story reported that about $9B have already been squandered on the development of new rocket ships for moon trips; that sounds like a lot of money, until you compare it to the thousand billion or so that got shoveled to well-connected banksters and other money-shuffling parasites by both the previous and current administrations. Add to that the cost -- and I'm just thinking money right now, not the far more important moral cost -- of the Empire's wars, and the maintenance and manning of military bases in nearly every other country in the world, and the gold-plated weapons systems, and the hiring of mercenary armies such as Blackwater Xe. Throw in some smaller items (Departments of Education, Energy, Agriculture, Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, etc., the Bush "prescription benefit," Obamacare ... and let's not forget Social Security itself, while we're at it), and you start to see a truly "federal" government that would be adequately supported by some very modest tariffs on imports. Goodbye, IRS! Trash the Federal Reserve, and use private currencies that stand or fall on their reputation for honesty ...

Oh, man, I really hate it when I wake up just as the dream's getting really good. Don't you?

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

Of course, the welfare recipients of both major-brand parties are howling....

Just imagine if an actual across-the-board spending freeze went into effect! (Never will, but just imagine the howling.)