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Turfscape (45.53)

Private sector can't do it?

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May 13, 2010 – Comments (7)

It's not directly tied to investing, but I've taken interest in the Space Program hearings taking place in D.C. The debate is over the cutbacks at NASA, eliminating the program to return the U.S. to the moon by the end of the decade (G.W. Bush's homage to J.F.K.).

TIME has put together a nice summary of the hearings here.

So, here we have "the most liberal president ever" cancelling a bloated government project and stating the private sector can deliver space travel and moon travel more efficiently without tax dollars; while GOP mainstays decry the cutbacks and state that the private sector doesn't have the wherewithal to provide safe, efficient space travel.

What is up with our topsy-turvy world? Are dogs and cats now going to be living together?

Well, no. It's yet another example of how useless political labels and generalizations are in our society. It's also a good example of how stupid it is to reduce a political issue down to "against taxes" or "for taxes". Yet, that's what we do in the U.S.A when it comes to political debate. We throw around terms like "big government" and "private sector" and "cutting taxes" and "entitlements". We cling to parties instead of platforms. We assume that every GOP member will reduce spending and taxes at every opportunity and every "socialist" (read: Democrat) will call for a government takeover of every aspect of our lives, as well as our bank accounts.

My solution? Let's outlaw political party affiliation in elections! You don't get to state "Democrat" or "Republican" or "Libertarian" when running for office. You have to run on a platform. People will be forced to either pay attention and actually examine a candidate's ideas....or they have to admit that they vote based on looks...or some other equally meaningless, shallow measure.

Rant over. My apologies.

7 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 13, 2010 at 3:54 PM, russiangambit (29.12) wrote:

> My solution? Let's outlaw political party affiliation in elections! You don't get to state "Democrat" or "Republican" or "Libertarian" when running for office. You have to run on a platform. People will be forced to either pay attention and actually examine a candidate's ideas....or they have to admit that they vote based on looks...or some other equally meaningless, shallow measure

I like this idea but it is niot happening. The parties exist to raise money. An independent can never get enough money to run.

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#2) On May 13, 2010 at 3:58 PM, brickcityman (< 20) wrote:

I agree political labels are meaningless... I have even less use for religious ones, especially when used in a political context.

 

Personally I see the current direction at NASA as a TREMENDOUS give-away on the behalf of the federal government.  Not only will fed money be used to assist with development of technologies that will ultimately bring private sector rewards but I'm sure that these companies will be giving an even more valuable asset....  Liability protection.

 

Its one thing to form a company around the idea of trying to send paying customers to space... its quite another to do so without the worry of being sued into oblivion if/when something goes wrong.

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#3) On May 13, 2010 at 4:24 PM, Turfscape (45.53) wrote:

brickcityman wrote:
"Personally I see the current direction at NASA as a TREMENDOUS give-away on the behalf of the federal government."

I don't disagree. I think 50% of what NASA is engaged in is a complete and thorough waste of tax dollars. The other 50% is up for debate. I think space exploration and monitoring is a vital activity...but I see little oversight with NASA's activities as they relate to the national interest.

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#4) On May 13, 2010 at 5:22 PM, Turfscape (45.53) wrote:

russiangambit wrote:
"The parties exist to raise money. An independent can never get enough money to run."

Really makes me miss Sen. Proxmire. The guy refused to take campaign donations, yet was elected to the US Senate 5 times!

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#5) On May 13, 2010 at 5:29 PM, brickcityman (< 20) wrote:

@ Turfscape

 

I try to distinguish between NASA's own problems (which existed and will exist irrespective of this supposed change in direction), and the issue I was trying to highlight.

 

Little if anything of what has been proposed will help NASA improve its business practices. Instead it will funnel money and liability protection into the private sector.

 

10 years from now some lucky company (or companies) will be raking in billions on their private space businesses, and NASA will still be a whipping boy even though they were the conduit to make it all happen.

 

Do you know how many years of full funding of all space programs could have been paid for with TARP and all the other help we provide to the banksters?   Its astonishing.  ....  I look at it this way...  We as a country could have put ourselves through college and gotten a new degree (in interplanetary travel), instead we blew our tuition on a trip to vegas and were still waiting to see if the roulette wheel ends on green.

 

 

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#6) On May 13, 2010 at 6:57 PM, MichaelMolenaar (< 20) wrote:

Cutting back on NASA is one of the few things Obama is doing that I support. I'm trying to see his motivations for doing it, but I can't. It's like he's actually trying to make a fiscally responsible decision for once.

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#7) On May 13, 2010 at 9:24 PM, brickcityman (< 20) wrote:

@ MichaelMolenaar

 

I have a hard time seeing how it's fiscally responsible if you view it on balance with the array of other options there are.  There are plenty of government expenditures right now that yield little to no residual value.  Investments in NASA at least have the potential (and track record) to yield intellectual property and advances in any countless fields of study (from biomedical to basic manufacturing).

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