Critics on the left, critics on the right

A short UPI story describes some criticism of the Vision for Space Exploration from both sides of the political spectrum. At a Brookings Institute domestic policy forum Monday, Alice Rivlin, a former OMB director during the Clinton Administration, called the VSE a waste of money, saying “I think we can learn much more about the universe much cheaper from unmanned vehicles.” Her opinion was echoed by Bill Niskanen, chairman of the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, who said that “the most important lesson” learned from manned space efforts was the high cost of sending people into orbit and “how little we’ve learned that could not be learned by satellites.” Both said that NASA was one agency where the Bush Administration could “easily” make cuts in an effort to reduce the budget deficit. Of course, given the massive size of the deficit, even major cuts in NASA’s budget would do little to meaningfully reduce the deficit.

5 comments to Critics on the left, critics on the right

  • Brent

    Sooner or later people have got to come to the realization that NASA, and even the Department of Defense, aren’t bankrupting the country, Social Security is. No one would care about the budget deficit if it also wasn’t coupled with the fact that the average age in the country is getting older. That wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t for social security.

    Blame the politicians if you want, or Iraq, or Bush’s tax cuts, but the American people are the sole cause for any future woes for allowing the social security monstrosity to continue to exist.

  • Philip Littrell

    Someone at NASA needs to contact these people and explain the goals of NASA.

    Sean O’Keefe had a good summary:
    To improve life here, (aeronautics)
    To extend life to there, (human spaceflight)
    To find life beyond (science)

    To extend life to there, you gotta have manned spaceflight.

  • People are always complaining about the costs of taking care of the old and of medical care and the like. I fail to see these as bad things. Who cares if we spend thirty, fifty, or even ninety percent of our budget on health-related expenditures. I can think of a few things I might consider more important than my health — spaceflight being one of them — but not many.

    More seriously, the solution to Social Security is easy. Call a tax a tax, means test it, and stop giving it to the rich — target it to those who need it. In today’s America, where transferring wealth to the rich seems to be our true highest priority, there’s not a chance of that happening.

    I do agree that the SS monster, combined with the current Administration’s credit card economics, is one of the reasons our nation is not really likely to go to Mars.

    — Donald

  • Perry Noriega

    Typical commentaries on geocentric-static priorities versus space oriented dynamist cultures of the future. This conflict between the past and the future will only intensify and it behooves the space activist/enthusiast/supporter to develop and hone their hustle-sales skills and get to work creating demand for, then a supply of, the infrastructure for a spacefaring civilization for those who can and will seize the high frontier for themselves and their posterity.

    Learn to sell space to the masses, develop a demand for space settlement in the demographic that will actually get to move to space, and proselytize in the culture at large. Hustle, hustle, hustle.

    Perry A. Noriega

  • Leonard C Robinson

    Concurring with Mr. Noriega, I bring forth some of the Trek fiction from the Classic Era. In “Spaceflight Chronology”, the Classic Trek fans developed the Space Homesteading Act of 2014 (per that Trek line). Like the Federal Morill Homestead Act of 1862 opening up the Plains & Trans-Mississippi West, this legislation opened up Space to the masses. For purposes of the Act, the UN created an Homestead Commission; this Commission defined an Homestead as an asteroid no more than 100 KM in diameter, approved for settlement by the Commission. One had to remain on the Asteroid for 5 Terrestrial years and construct a permament dwelling & environment thereon. Also, it guaranteed every homesteader unimpeded Solar access, provided for transportation to said Asteroid, and had a provision for low-interest loans for purposes of transportation and settlement.

    Not all who tried it out succeeded, but for those who did, the results were amazing. Indeed, the Trek fans also included a book (not in print in our lifetime), “The Space Immigrants — The Story of the Homestead Act,” ca. 2214 AD.

    “The Dream still lives.”