Congress, NASA

Crime takes a bite out of NASA

On Wednesday the full House, debating the full-year continuing resolution HR 1, voted 228-203 to approve an amendment that would transfer $298 million from NASA to the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services, a program that provides funding for local police forces. The amendment, introduced by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was actually debated Tuesday evening by the House and failed by a voice vote, but prevailed in the recorded vote hold over to the next day, with 70 Republicans joining 158 Democrats to approve the amendment.

In the debate Tuesday night (starting on page H890 of the Congressional Record), Weiner indicated he only reluctantly chose NASA as the source of the funding to support the COPS program. “Now, do I like the idea we have to take it from NASA space exploration? I don’t know any of the crime statistics on Mars, and I’m interested, but it’s a bad choice,” he said. “If any of you like space exploration, so do I. In a way, I’m playing the game too. I’m taking from one place to give to another. But I do believe it’s in the interest of all of us to try to set these priorities straight.”

Defending the agency was Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), chairman of the CJS subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. “This bill makes deliberate choices within NASA to strike an appropriate balance between achieving budget savings, procurement support for NASA’s $16 billion in annual contracts, and safety and mission assurance to prevent spaceflight accidents,” he said. “To do this, you would almost guarantee that something could potentially happen.” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) tried to find a middle ground, saying he supported COPS but that the funding should not be taken from NASA.

The $298 million would specifically come from NASA’s Cross-Agency Support account, a relatively poorly understood part of the agency’s overall budget that covers management and operations of the agency and its various field centers, as well as its safety and mission assurance work. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) was critical of the growth of that account over the last several years in his comments on the amendment. “This is a cross-agency support budget which has gone up six times, 600 percent in 2 years, and it’s going to go up again here today, and we’re going to slash the heck out of the COPS program. Now, go home and explain that to your constituents,” he said. “You can’t even say, Look up there, because it’s not a satellite. It’s not headed to the Moon or to Mars. You have to say, Hey, it’s the cross-agency support budget at NASA, and when the criminal is breaking down your door, call NASA. That probably isn’t going to work too well.”

Passage of the amendment doesn’t guarantee NASA’s final FY11 appropriations will include that cut. While the House will likely pass HR 1 (debate on the bill continued as of Wednesday evening), Senate appropriators have expressed their opposition to the bill, raising the prospect of an impasse and even a government shutdown if some kind of continuing resolution isn’t passed when the current one expires on March 4.

Also: if you continuing reading the Congressional Record after the end of the debate on the Weiner amendment, there’s also a brief debate on an amendment introduced, and then withdrawn, by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) to transfer $517 million of NASA funding from the agency’s climate change research to human spaceflight, continuing a recent theme by Olson and several other members. “The 15 other agencies conducting climate research can pick up the slack while freeing up resources for NASA to make a truly unique contribution, maintaining U.S. dominance in human space flight,” he argued. Olson did not explain why he withdrew the amendment, but Rep. Wolf said he would work with Olson and others in the future “to maintain a robust human space flight program at NASA.”

76 comments to Crime takes a bite out of NASA

  • Robert G. Oler

    And what earthly based concern does one think that the billions needed to build an HLV will go to?

    I know…high speed rail! LOl

    Whittington and Rand can have a food fight over it

    Robert G. Oler

  • This is the end of NASA.

    Years of rhetoric that it was “a necessity not a luxury” are about to be proven horribly obviously wrong.

    The question will soon be not which areas of the NASA budget will be cut, but which areas will not be.

  • DCSCA

    Weiner’s been targeting NASA for years. Not much pork, space or otherwise, in his NY district.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    We can expect to see this kind of chaos until a real leader occupies the White House again.

  • James T

    @ Oler

    Well I’d prefer the money stay at NASA… how about high speed rail… GUNS?

  • What a poor deluded fool Weiner is. But with a name like that, he was probably bullied at school.

    Here’s an idea. Elon’s already said he’s not in it for the money. Well Mr Billionaire, hand back the COTS money and we’ll name a spaceship after you.

    All hail commercial space flight, here to help us out and take the NASA checks out of the goodness of their hearts. God bless you Commercial space flight, you’re middle east shareholder dividend joy is our new frontier.

  • oh, and yes Jeff, that dog can sell anything.

  • Ben Russell-Gough

    The comments about the withdrawal of Rep Olsen’s ammendment are interesting. It is possible that some measure of agreement between the various vested interests in the House is emerging. If they have finally worked out that all of them shouting “I want it all!” will only lead to them all getting nothing, that can only improve matters. Now, we need the Senate to ask itself that selfsame question: “Are we so determined to get our own way that we want to pull the metaphorical roof down on us if we don’t?”

    SLS is growing ever more iffy, mostly because of political issues rather than any inherit fault in the concept itself. No matter what the intention behind the Senate’s origial specification (which I still believe was intended to create the lowest-possible cost SDLV with the maximum options for later upgrade), it is clear that many factions within NASA as well as the various vested interests are not interested in playing that game. I think the agency’s supporters in the Senate now have to swallow their collective pride, sit down, and decide exactly how best to allow the agency to make progress without getting into a political dogfight that will simply guarantee that no progress whatsoever is made.

    Recommendations:

    1) Strike the Shelby Amendment;
    2) Inform NASA that the schedule and budget are not going to change – they must simply provide the best design available within those constraints;
    3) Advise NASA that if it cannot do so, the USG will buy the best commercial alternative, even if that means shutting down several centres that no longer have any function.

    I don’t see (3) happening, but it is a nice thought.

  • Dennis Berube

    This whole situation has turned into a mess. I dont think even with the cuts, NASA will end. Lets face it 16 Bil. is not chicken scratch. A lot can stilll be done.

  • Aberwys

    this is petty at best.

    $54B for high-speed rail…doesn’t anyone think that a paltry $298M can be gleaned from that program?

    What I’ve observed is that pork evolves.

  • For all of you prematurely bemoaning the eminent demise of NASA based on this nutty move by Weiner (a Dickensian name if I ever heard one). I predict the Senate will shoot it down.

  • Bennett

    @Hands Off NASA

    Oh yes, I totally agree with you! It would be SO much better if we didn’t have a new LV capable of resupply and taxi service to the ISS. That 500 million was a really BAD investment! My money is on the Soyuz and Constellation working together to eliminate ALL US access to LEO. Go porkers!

    Jobs jobs jobs! To hell with HSF!

    /sarc

  • BTW. Before any of you make any dumb ass remarks about my surname after I made that remark about Weiner, if anything mine is anti-Dickensian. I’m do not imbibe alcohol. :)

  • amightywind

    “The 15 other agencies conducting climate research can pick up the slack while freeing up resources for NASA to make a truly unique contribution, maintaining U.S. dominance in human space flight,”

    Pete is right on target. This might have been a post by yours truly. I’ve been making this point for over a year. You can see the trend. NASA will be forced to abandon marginal activities and get back to launching large rockets.

  • Bill Hensley

    Anybody have any insight on why the Cross-Agency Support account has grown so much? What are they hiding in there? I support NASA, I really do, but they have simply got to get their overhead down. Fewer layers of management, fewer centers, administrative staff cuts – the same kinds of things private companies have to do to stay lean and efficient.

  • One more point in clarification of my first comment. I don’t mean to insinuate that a significant cut is not coming to NASA, as is already being planned for the DOD. It’s just that when the cut comes, it will NOT be taking a specific amount of money from NASA in order to place it in a specific program elsewhere. The cut to NASA will be a general cut like the cut to DOD and practically every other government financed entity across the board. The Weiner amendment will die because it is NOT a true budget cut, but merely reallocation of funds to something else. But the coming true NASA budget cut no more means the end of NASA than a cut to DOD means the end of the Army, the Navy, the Marines, and the Air Force.

  • Do NASA supporters have the votes to prevent a full scale assault on NASA funding? This Weiner vote was too easy and sets an example for every other Reps cherished project desperate for funds. Let’s hope this CR House debate ends as fruitlessly as the entire last year of debate.

    Meanwhile the economy keeps improving…

  • @Robert Oler

    I’ve been saying for years that if NASA’s HLV money ended up on the chopping block, it would go to high speed rail before it would go to the various NewSpace proposals.

    Offered not as a preference but as a prediction.

  • amightywind

    Meanwhile the economy keeps improving…

    You must be joking! Commodity inflation is already here. The economy won’t boom with $4 gas and increasing food prices. Structural unemployment is over 3 points above the norm. Interests rates are rising, with dire consequences for government borrowing. The idea that the economy will coast to a significant recovery without a major realignment of spending is crazy. The Keynesians have had their way to the ruin of all. It is time for some good old fashioned supply side policy.

    The democrat minority in the house is the least consequential political group in government. No destructive action originated by the likes of Anthony Weiner is likely to pass by the GOP bulls who oversee NASA.

  • Ferris Valyn

    The democrat minority in the house is the least consequential political group in government. No destructive action originated by the likes of Anthony Weiner is likely to pass by the GOP bulls who oversee NASA

    Somebody remind me – did the story say the Weiner amendment passed or failed? I forget…..

  • Robert G. Oler

    Trent Waddington wrote @ February 16th, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    This is the end of NASA.

    Years of rhetoric that it was “a necessity not a luxury” are about to be proven horribly obviously wrong…………………

    Trent. you are correct, this is the end of NASA, but it is NASA as we know it…the NASA whose flagship mission human spaceflight right now has no real reason for being.

    In the era(s) where (To quote Dick Cheney) “deficits didnt matter” Congress and Mr. Bush (and to some extent Mr. Obama) can “have everything” for no real price. Bush used this to start a bunch of wars that he was reluctant to ask the American people to pay for, Obama has used this to do a lot of spending both of which if one presented the issue to the American people “If you want to (do this or that) then you have to pay for it by more taxes” most Americans and even most politicians would say “well lets not do it”.

    If Bush had reported what HIS SecTres said “Its going to cost between 1 and 2 trillion dollars” and told the American people “we have to raise taxes to pay for it”…we would not have gone to Iraq. Instead Bush or his flunkies said “it will pay for itself”.

    If people want to go to the Moon for 200 billion and the American people were taxed (as happened in the 60′s) to pay for it…the program would shut down so fast it would make your eyes spin.

    We no longer apparantly live in that world Although we are still deficit spending there are now hard choices AT LEAST toward what we will deficit spend on…

    So if the choice were to deficit spend on say Highway 646 improvement in Galveston county OR building a Heavy lift vehicle that no one really needs and few can explain other then “the Chinese are going to take over the Moon”…or the choice is an HLV or construction jobs that put a lot of “ordinary” Americans to work, in your political district..

    which do you think are going to be chosen.

    The era of “human exploration of space” just to do it, just to explore just to have that infrastructure is ending. We have to come up with something that humans do in space that has something in value worth the cost of keeping them there…

    or really the money should go for Cops or the air traffic control system or keeping people in their houses.

    Wind, and Whittington, and others might get a “high” on seeing Cx go to the Moon, they are becoming an increasingly small minority

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bill White wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 10:34 am

    @Robert Oler

    I’ve been saying for years that if NASA’s HLV money ended up on the chopping block, it would go to high speed rail before it would go to the various NewSpace proposals.

    Offered not as a preference but as a prediction.,,,

    nice and I do recall.

    Let me ask you something…if the choice were an HLV that has no real mission or high speed rail…which would you prefer?

    Robert G. Oler

  • @Robert Oler

    Eh, that is an awkward question for me. ;-)

    Even a mission-less HLV could (in theory) help facilitate non-taxpayer funded spaceflight and offers the pork that might protect NASA’s budget from the train raiders, but on the other hand, trains are so much more energy efficient than automobiles & interstate highways and can’t be flown into buildings and $5 gasoline (for cars and aviation) will be a killer . . .

    But to evade the question, until Uncle Sam stops being the lead writer of checks for human spaceflight, it will remain “Quisp v. Quake” no matter what budget Congress enacts.

    And, calls for “competitive commercial crew procurement” (CCCP) will merely extend the current direction-less morass until someone in the private sector steps to the plate and looks to go around NASA rather than through NASA.

  • If NASA is going to seriously short-changed like this:

    1.) Drop the Heavy Lift for five years
    2.) Crew-rate the Atlas or Delta (cost $1B each – 3/4 year project)
    3.) Encourage Sierra, Boeing, Space-X, crewed vehicle development

    Return to US HSF is still the greatest priority for most Americans who care

  • common sense

    @ Bill White wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Yeah well you said it for the train… So you know the answer.

    “until someone in the private sector steps to the plate and looks to go around NASA rather than through NASA.”

    Watch it happen. It is actually happening. Soon.

  • @ common sense

    Excellent news!

    Also too, the sooner NewSpace accepts they won’t be getting that NASA HLV money and decides to look elsewhere for funding, the sooner it will happen.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Bill White wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 11:34 am

    “Eh, that is an awkward question for me. ;-)”

    sorry

    “Even a mission-less HLV could (in theory) help facilitate non-taxpayer funded spaceflight and offers the pork that might protect NASA’s budget from the train raiders, but on the other hand, trains are so much more energy efficient than automobiles & interstate highways and can’t be flown into buildings and $5 gasoline (for cars and aviation) will be a killer . . .”

    I am sort of ecumenical on the notion of high speed rail. I see what you see (high gas etc) and trains are just very very efficient…plus the Chinese are winning the “high speed rail” gap…

    In my view it is as good a “infrastructure” program as any…as a description, “the age of austerity” is not all that bad…but actually what we are entering into is “the age of choices” where “choice” comes back into the money equation…just not “OK Lets spend spend spend” of the Bush era.

    And that in my view is the death knell for programs at NASA that cannot in some fashion other then “we keep people employed” justify their existence. NOW some are trying…the chinese taking over the Moon etc…but those dogs stopped hunting sometime back…

    having said that I am optimistic. IN my view what is entertaining about SpaceX and Bigelow and even Boeing (and certainly others) is how much they have done on not a lot of money. If it is accurate that SpaceX has done what they have done for the claim of “under 1 billion dollars”…then to me that shows that 1) affordable spaceflight is possible for humans and 2) (and this is important as well) that the “bar” to do thins in space has come down in terms of money so a lot of doors that so far have been closed may now be open…ie a lot of things can be attempted in spaceflight for a lot less money…and in my view one or more of those things will be a “killer ap”.

    One of the events that impressed my thinking and started moderating what and how I thought of things in space, was the association Rich Kolker and I had with the Wake Shield program.

    While that association was “happening” I learned a very very important thing. Innovative ideas that required some interaction with NASA simply cannot take place in a time span which can make the innovation useful.

    I dont know if Wake Shield would have produced a usable product and if it would have competed on the market…but I know that the issues with flying the wake shield that were Bogus…nasa safety and other issues that just ate up time and money doomed any attempt to be competitive against a EARTH based innovation cycle. Joe Allen and I are reasonable friends and he pointed me into some other “endeavors” which mostly wanted to talk “off the record”, that floundered NOT because the technology didnt work, but because the cycle from “idea” to execution was so fracken long and so costly simply because of the issues that NASA HSF threw up that no matter the currency of the idea, it could not compete with earth bound efforts.

    It appears as though this issue might be “shortening” with commercial spaceflight on the way in…and NASA HSF on the way out.

    The irony of course is that NASA has finally done that to themselves. The Cx program just got so bogged down in every little stupid notion of “safety” and “pandering” to all the various employers that to mimic a famous Admiral…there was simply not enough dollars in Christendom to make it work.

    That is going to succumb to todays new budget realities.

    Robert G. Oler

  • common sense

    I wish people would understand why some of us support commercial space.

    It ought to be clear by now. Indeed profit is the driver for commercial HSF and where there is profit there is a means. Congress has no interest in HSF except for the associated pork. As a result NASA is not even adrift (!) it has become a punch bag for these people. Save for the rhetoric there is no real support for NASA. For example, the only thing Shelby achieved was to put even more chaos at NASA and Congress. NASA ought to purchase commercial transportation from private companies in order to achieve its missions and it would lessen the influence of Congress and its special interests. But in the end HSF will become private or will not be.

    Watch it happen.

  • Vladislaw

    “Keynesians have had their way to the ruin of all”

    Since when has Keynesian policy ever been followed?

    He said when the economy is in a downturn you lower taxes and increase spending and when the economy recovers you RAISE taxes to cover the deficits you ran and DECREASE spending…. now tell me.. when the hell EXACTLY have the congress critters every applied BOTH principles?

    Reagan .. I will cut your taxes and cut spending… of course he got his tax cuts but never paid for them and instead ran record deficits but when did the spending cuts happen?

    Bush did he same thing, I will cut your taxes and cut spending… well we see how well that worked .. trillion dollar deficits.

    They never have a problem cutting taxes to create the deficits but when it comes to cutting spending or raising the taxes .. sorry .. “deficits don’t matter” – tricky dick cheney

    It is beyond silly to try and pin this on Keynes when politicians never follow the complete recipe.

  • common sense

    @ Bill White wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Note that since they are commercial entities you cannot “blame” them to try and get money from any customer. So it makes perfect sense “they” go after NASA money. AND: They can fail… Unlike in government, for a private company failure usually means the end.

    So keep your fingers crossed a little while longer.

  • @ common sense

    I certainly don’t “blame” NewSpace for chasing NASA dollars. Profit is profit. I just do not believe that route will lead to low cost robust access to space.

    I also believe that tourism, entertainment and advertising are the most viable near term truly “commercial” avenues for funding human spaceflight and it seems to me that NASA is very allergic to such things.

  • Luke Skypoker

    I’m so glad that Robert G. is here to tell us all that it’ll be okay… it’ll just be the end of NASA “as we know it”… whew… for a while there I was worried.

  • Space-X and Bigelow have both said they plan to go ahead with or without NASA, although admitting their time frames of success change. This could well end up being another industry that Congress forces overseas, this time for want of funding. As noted earlier there is funding to be found for this in other parts of the world and those countries will be the ones with high-tech jobs and their space-craft the ones actually in space circling over our heads.

    All famines are ultimately political..

  • wodun

    Sadly, cuts were decided long ago when the PR savvy Democrats did not pass a budget and punted any difficult decisions to the incoming Tea Party. The CR was a cut from what Obama had asked for and now, even Obama wants a spending freeze at 2010 levels.

    Further cuts certainly look likely as evidenced by the topic of this blog post and the one from last week which pitted HSF against Science. It was ridiculous for the Republicans to make the choice between Science and HSF, and just as ridiculous for the Democrats to raid NASA’s budget for their projects.

    If either party wants to cut NASA, I wish they would let NASA decide where to make the cuts. That would be a good exercise for NASA because with the end of the shuttle era they really need to reorganize the entire organization from the bottom up and the top down.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Luke Skypoker wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    “I’m so glad that Robert G. is here to tell us all that it’ll be okay… it’ll just be the end of NASA “as we know it”… whew… for a while there I was worried.”

    I dont ever think I used “OK” but the only way things get better is if the old NASA fades away and we can try and restart (or start) some innovation in how human spaceflight “works”…and spend less time with mindless people sitting around thinking up ways to “be safe” when they dont have a clue what “being safe” really means.

    Dont be alarmed…the times they are a changing…

    Robert G. Oler

  • E.P. Grondine

    Thank you Vladislaw for your excellent summary.

    a few points:
    You do not pay for a war with tax cuts for the wealthy.
    Weiner is pro-space; the choices now are very hard.
    In both SEI and VSE Griffin overestimated the funding available,
    and the level of public support.
    Some people here keep on talking about future industries that require very low launch costs, while ignoring the current space industries.

  • DCSCA

    James T wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 1:25 am
    “Well I’d prefer the money stay at NASA… how about high speed rail… GUNS?”

    Of course, had NASA been safely tucked under the protective wing of the DoD, budget raiders would have reached for lower hanging fruit. It’s clear space advocates are going to have to learn the hard way as to how to ‘protect’ luxury items when necessity needs rule the roost in the Age of Austerity.

  • DCSCA

    @common sense wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 12:56 pm
    “I wish people would understand why some of us support commercial space.” Everyone understands why ‘some of you’ support ‘commercial spaceflight’ as currently proposed, unded and structured– you want/need government subsidies and contracts to make the high risk venture get off the ground and the private sector won’t fund it in this era– high risk, low ROI. So you turn to the government to socialize the risk and pocket the profit. Risk for the many, benefit for the few- the benefit being profiteering. And it’s a government that has to borrow 42 cents of every dollar it spends, which the U.S. cannot afford any longer. After all, as Speaker Boehner says, “We’re broke.”

  • common sense

    @ Bill White wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    “I certainly don’t “blame” NewSpace for chasing NASA dollars. Profit is profit. I just do not believe that route will lead to low cost robust access to space.”

    Well if you know of any alternative it may be worth informing NASA ;)

    “I also believe that tourism, entertainment and advertising are the most viable near term truly “commercial” avenues for funding human spaceflight and it seems to me that NASA is very allergic to such things.”

    Well you’re mixing up things here. Private space or new space or commercial space see NASA has a customer as any other. If successful there will be tourism but more importantly they will open space to people, entities, that cannot afford it otherwise such as universities, other countries with interest in space but low budget.

    It seems to me you keep amalgamating NASA and commercial space. NASA will use commercial space again as a provider. A better example would be say the Air Force. They are a customer of Boeing’s yet Boeing sells aircraft and other things to other customers. I think the B-707/KC-135 is a good example of the synergistic development of a USG/commercial airplane and the current trend is to somehow follow a similar path.

  • wodun

    Vladislaw wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    “Keynesians have had their way to the ruin of all”

    Since when has Keynesian policy ever been followed?

    He said when the economy is in a downturn you lower taxes and increase spending and when the economy recovers you RAISE taxes to cover the deficits you ran and DECREASE spending…. now tell me.. when the hell EXACTLY have the congress critters every applied BOTH principles?

    Well, to be fair to Obama the economy hasn’t recovered yet although he has tried on several occasions to raise taxes. 2010 was a record breaking year for home foreclosures and failed banks not to mention unemployment, underemployment, and people dropping out of the job hunt market altogether.

    Too be fair to everyone else, none of the current administrations predictions of how their spending would help the economy have come to pass.

    If it was bad that Reagan and Bush to run up deficits then it would also be bad for Obama to run up even bigger ones? I really understand the anger at Bush running up deficits in the hundreds of billions but now we are talking $1+ trillion with no end in sight to the increases.

    I have no faith in any deficit reduction predictions that don’t kick in for 10-20 years and don’t take into the account the unknowns of future administration’s policies.

    It is possible that Obama and the Democrats could be able to get Republicans to agree to some tax increases if they were willing to substantially cut spending now and not some distant date in the future.

    It is beyond silly to try and pin this on Keynes when politicians never follow the complete recipe.

    Cool, let’s just blame the politician(s) then.

  • common sense

    @ wodun wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    “If it was bad that Reagan and Bush to run up deficits then it would also be bad for Obama to run up even bigger ones? I really understand the anger at Bush running up deficits in the hundreds of billions but now we are talking $1+ trillion with no end in sight to the increases.”

    Absolutely. Now does it matter that it is the same gang in charge of our economy since at least Clinton? The same people who promote essentially the same solution that does not work over and over and over and over again?

    At some point the whole thing will hit the ditch but taxes will not raise.

    Oh well…

  • Robert G. Oler

    wodun wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    there are two issues here but the foundation, the one we are in my view going to argue about very hard right up to the 12 election is “are we taxed to little or do we spend to much”.

    When Jack Kennedy announced his lunar goal, the last thing on his mind was going into deficit to pay for that effort…even Johnson with the Vietnam war…he more or less kept the budget in balance…as did Nixon.

    There was a sort of give and take over this in the Reagan era…in Reagan’s world (although I am not necessarily an economist!) what “fixed” the deficit spending was the economic growth coupled with Bush the Old and Clinton’s tax increases.

    When Clinton rolled out of office the country was at peace and the economy (spending/taxing) reasonably in balance.

    What happened next is the answer to the question “taxed to little or spend to much”..Bush both started spending (two wars a lot of domestic intiatives) and cut revenue…only a completely stupid person would have not been able to predict the outcome.

    Cx is a classic example of the issue. Whittington, who thinks we are taxed to much is quite happy to say we could do Cx by spending less on “other things”…the problem is that the other things have far more political support then Cx and the Bush go back to the Moon effort did.

    If you told people “I want to spend 200 billion over the next XX years to send a few people back to the Moon”…who here thinks that the American people today this instant with unemployment (really) near 17 percent? I would argue very few.

    In “my world” if we wanted to “go back to the Moon”, a something that we were not doing before Bush came up with the notion, then we should have as a nation been willing to have ponied up the taxes specifically to do this. The problem is that almost all the people who supported going back to the Moon…did not want to be taxed for it.

    But that is not what Bush and his folks were up to. There were always excuses but Bush and his idiots could never bite the bullet and “pay” for the things that they cranked up…

    Now in bush’s world it didnt matter…he and the GOP congress he had for most of his term were simply ready to spend and didnt care about the deficit…

    Now we are stuck…we have all the programs, all these wars legacies of the Bush era…and groups have gotten invested in them (including the Good people at Clear Lake Texas) and yet few want to pay for them…so when they come up against programs like law enforcement spending that people actually WANT the programs fall.

    Where does Obama come out in this? IN the end he inherited a sinking ship that had massive holes all around the water line. To continue the water analogy what he tried to do was (at least in my view) “counterflood” to try and keep the ship from capsizing while the damage control people worked on the holes.

    Sadly I dont think that the DC teams have a clue where the holes are…

    If we dont get tax increases to pay for the programs and efforts that Mr. Bush started we as a nation are going to sink over debt…because in the end the GOP would rather send billions a month to Afland…then rebuild streets in the US…

    Robert G. Oler

  • common sense

    @ Robert G. Oler wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    “Sadly I dont think that the DC teams have a clue where the holes are…”

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133991.html
    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein. I wish I could use a more contemporary person such as Palin but I don’t understand English that starts with “Dang”.

    However you are way more optimistic than I. In “my world” all the “good” people in DC are addicted to ever flowing cash, Reps, Dems, Greens. Nah maybe not Greens. They would rather kick the can down the road as far as they can get away with. Like musical chairs if you wish. Then when everything falls apart the last guy in the Oval Office and those in Congress will have to fix everything. And that is going to hurt, exactly like it is going to hurt at NASA HSF in the next few months. NASA HSF seems to be a very good mini-lab for our way of life in the US: Spending, borrowing for things no one really needs.

  • vulture4

    There are people at NASA who realize Constellation is alive and well, and draining billions into vacuum. But there are others who are still convinced it will restore the glorious past they don’t clearly remember. To anyone who has tried to get even a few tax dollars to save people’s lives, the waste of pouring this much money into new designs that are already obsolete and unaffordable is a bitter irony indeed.

    NASA could be of great practical value to America, could create jobs and save lives and the environment, but NASA is told that it can only do things that are useful if they are “spin-off”, an accidental “free” byproduct of human spaceflight.

    China is crushing us in international development, in manufacturing, and in high-speed rail. Soon they will be crushing us in manufacturing composite airliners, not because they are stealing ideas from us but because they have an effective industrial policy in which their government pays companies to develop and build practical new technology (like NACA once did) and their politicians collect taxes to pay for it instead of borrowing the money and giving their wealthy supporters tax cuts (like the US once did, even during Apollo). I work with several people from China. In their opinion, China’s only concern about the Constellation program is that if the US goes bankrupt because we think they are racing us to the moon, they will lose their best customer.

    It’s time for a dose of cold reality. Anyone who wants Constellation should try to find enough private investors to pay for it.

  • Vladislaw

    “Well, to be fair to Obama the economy hasn’t recovered yet although he has tried on several occasions to raise taxes.”

    When President Bush Jr. cut taxes it was with a sunset provision, it would only be for 10 years that is why he was able to get a higher tax cut. After 10 years the taxes would return to their previous amount. President Obama didn’t try to raise taxes, if he would have allowed the provision to end, like the law was written, they would have returned to their normal rate under Clinton. ( you know when the economy created 20 million jobs, set a record for how many people got to goto to college and created a budget surplus) President Obama extended the tax cut provisions and again, no budget cuts to compensate for the loss of revenue.

    As I say, it is a lot easier for a politician to run on tax cuts then on budget cuts.

    Before tax cuts are proposed they should first be required to cut the budget and if they don’t cut the budget they do not get to cut taxes and charge them on the Nation’s credit card.

    Sooner of later the Nation is going to have to realize we will have to raise taxes high enough to create budget surpluses to pay down the National debt. And I will make you a bet, as soon as the first budget surplus happens, a republican will come along and say the tax rates are to high .. vote for me and I will cut your taxes and cut the budget and we will get the tax cuts and not a dime will be cut from spending and record deficits will return.

    I do not believe we can spend our way into prosperity, I do not like high rates of taxation, and I certainly don’t believe in creating a debt service rate that will be the largest component of the budget. But I do believe in pay as you go, and if we are going to spend like drunken sailors we have to pay for it with higher taxes or cut that spending.

    When this binge ends the Nation will need to generate a trillion dollar a year budget surplus for 20 years to pay off the National debt. But we all know that won’t happen, the first time there is a surplus congress will spend it on other things or cut taxes to eliminate the surplus.

  • wodun

    common sense wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Absolutely. Now does it matter that it is the same gang in charge of our economy since at least Clinton? The same people who promote essentially the same solution that does not work over and over and over and over again?

    At some point the whole thing will hit the ditch but taxes will not raise.

    Are you saying that Obama is continuing Bush’s policies? I don’t know how that helps the case for Obama’s stewardship of the economy.

    Taxes could rise, maybe not the ones the Democrats want and maybe not the ones the Republicans want to avoid but that wont happen in the absence of any spending cuts but there will be spending cuts in the absence of tax increases.

  • common sense

    @ vulture4 wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    “China is crushing us in international development, in manufacturing, and in high-speed rail. ”

    And on so-called “green” technology as well. What an irony if they became energy independent so to speak before we do and on top of that thanks to us!

    Oh well…

  • wodun

    Vladislaw wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    If you are saying that the economy was better under Clinton because of higher taxes, I would disagree. If you are saying that the economy was better despite higher taxes and that higher taxes might not necessarily have a negative impact on the economy, I would agree.

    But I do think that specific tax increases can have a negative impact on the economy, especially in the sectors taxed and doubly so if the intention of the tax is to hurt that sector of the economy.

    I do not believe we can spend our way into prosperity, I do not like high rates of taxation, and I certainly don’t believe in creating a debt service rate that will be the largest component of the budget. But I do believe in pay as you go, and if we are going to spend like drunken sailors we have to pay for it with higher taxes or cut that spending.

    Or both. I agree with your statement ^^ QFT

    I guess as with most everything, people can agree on the principle but then disagree on the details.

  • wodun

    Robert G. Oler wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    there are two issues here but the foundation, the one we are in my view going to argue about very hard right up to the 12 election is “are we taxed to little or do we spend to much”.

    I reject the notion that there are only two choices.

    I zoned out when you started bashing Bush, who hasn’t been in office for some time now. No President gets to choose the challenges they face. Obama didn’t get the best hand but he also has not changed his agenda to reflect reality. Obama has put his own mark on the economy with his third budget with over a $1 trillion deficit. Also, Obama knew what he was getting into, there were no surprises.

    I read the rest of your comment so don’t worry, I know you don’t have a rosy view of Obama. Saying someone tried to stop a boat from sinking by poking holes in it, isn’t exactly an endorsement, although it was kind of funny.

    If we dont get tax increases to pay for the programs and efforts that Mr. Bush started we as a nation are going to sink over debt…because in the end the GOP would rather send billions a month to Afland…then rebuild streets in the US…

    I know you are trying to troll me a little bit, which is fine. So I am going to ignore most of that paragraph and focus on the last statment.

    Obama isn’t focused on rebuilding streets. The FOTM is high speed rail, which is new infrastructure. IMO, we can’t even maintain our current infrastructure. That money might be better spent on the old FOTM, fixing bridges.

    But really this is a space blog, isn’t anyone a little upset that people are so ready to throw away $50+ billion on high speed rail while NASA is facing cuts that could effect the HSF and Science programs?

    High speed rail does have a certain cool factor and we can’t let the Chinese beat us in trains (rolls eyes) but I would rather see a Nautilus and/or a EM1 fuel depot.

  • In their opinion, China’s only concern about the Constellation program is that if the US goes bankrupt because we think they are racing us to the moon, they will lose their best customer.

    Then they are completely clueless about what is causing us to go bankrupt. It’s not, and never will be, a “race to the moon” with them.

  • DCSCA

    Elon’s already said he’s not in it for the money. <– A A statment to alarm any investor and certainly makes him a lousy CEO of a 'commerical,' for profit enterprise and certainly a viewpoint which must automatically deny SpaceX any access to comemrical space funding- if it survives the budget wars at all.

  • Fred Cink

    Yet another prediction from the all seeing sage, soothsayer, all knowing and omnipotent Oler has has come to pass. Those waskly wepublicans lead by those loonatic teabaggers have finally started cutting and gutting the NASA budget… just like RG always said they would…Wait a minute…rep Weiner is not a teabagger??? he’s not even a waskly wepublican….OOPS… ummmm… pay no atttention to that man behind the koolaid curtain

  • Bennett

    wodun wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Awesome comment. Very rational and well presented points.

    The FOTM is high speed rail, which is new infrastructure. IMO, we can’t even maintain our current infrastructure. That money might WOULD be better spent on the old FOTM, fixing bridges.

    Incredible, even before the edit.

  • Robert G. Oler

    wodun wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    A few points…you wrote:

    “I zoned out when you started bashing Bush,”

    it is not inappropriate to review “how we got here”. When I was on safety boards, including a minor contributer to the CAIB one of the things that people use to tell me was “who cares how we got here”…and the answer is that reviewing how we got “here” gives the people who got us “here” a chance to try and explain their actions, because clearly we are not evaluating a problem that ended well, but one that went Tango Uniform.

    It is appropriate to review how we got into this financial mess or this mess in space policy (they are almost indistinguishable) because if we dont understand how we got here then 1) we dont know what doesnt work and 2) we dont know who is giving bad suggestions…ie the people who got us “here” are hardly the people who should suggest how to get us out.

    We got in this economic mess because Bush and his folks 1) increased spending and 2) decreased revenues. If you call that “Bashing” then you really are not a serious person.

    “I reject the notion that there are only two choices.”

    Well I have been in a few life threatening situations and got out of them by listening to almost anyone who had “a good idea” …so explain to me what other choices you think that there are other then 1) decrease spending or 2) increase revenues. What other choices do you think that there are.

    then you wrote:

    “Saying someone tried to stop a boat from sinking by poking holes in it, isn’t exactly an endorsement, ”

    all that means is that you dont understand damage control in ships. OK thats my fault for using that analogy but do a google on battlships…USS Oklahoma and USS West Virginia…and find out why the “Okie” never came back to the fleet and “Weavie” came back pretty quick. the Okie capsized and Weavie settled nicely into the mud of Pearl Harbor…all they had to do is fix the torpedo damage and pump her dry.

    I dont agree with a lot that Obama tried to do, but I understand what he was doing and in all respects it made far more sense then Bush “spend spend spend”..I contributed to and worked some for the McCain campaign in 08 and to be fair to Obama almost anyone who inherited the mess Bush left…was going to have to do some really horrific things to get us “straight” instead of just capsizing. the Bush administration was filled with things that “snuck up on them” and had to be done “now” (the TARP) with little or no debate…and TARP was a lot of spending.

    finally
    “But really this is a space blog, isn’t anyone a little upset that people are so ready to throw away $50+ billion on high speed rail while NASA is facing cuts that could effect the HSF and Science programs?”

    I am not.

    We are not debating Nautilus or any other “cool things” we are debating NASA spending a lot of money on some goofy exploration programs and keeping a lot of people employeed doing not a lot of value…versus real cops on the beat or high speed rail which actually might do something to make the nation stronger.

    You (and I) might disagree on if high speed rail is important (the jury is still out with me) but I can tell you a fact…if the LON flies or doesnt fly wont affect The Republics future a scintilla…except it keeps the pork going.

    So no, I am not upset.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    “Then they are completely clueless about what is causing us to go bankrupt. ”

    if you dont think that Constellation is part of the problem that is causing us the US to go bankrupt then you are completely clueless. Are you still on that Birther kick?

    Robert G. Oler

  • common sense

    @ wodun wrote @ February 17th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    “Are you saying that Obama is continuing Bush’s policies?”

    Yes. His economics team is pretty much the same team that was in charge before his presidency.

    “I don’t know how that helps the case for Obama’s stewardship of the economy.”

    It does not. And if at some point he does not start to actually support the citizens of this country he will lose the elections in 2012. Or at least show the citizens that they come first and foremost he will lose. There is a lot to be said about perception. And the perception is that the elected President is not quite the candidate President. Too much so.

    “Taxes could rise, maybe not the ones the Democrats want and maybe not the ones the Republicans want to avoid but that wont happen in the absence of any spending cuts but there will be spending cuts in the absence of tax increases.”

    The proposed spending cuts are ludicrous if not frivolous. There MUST be a significant change in the way we operate our government spending-revenues. Cutting only means postponing the actual cure for our deficit. And the more we do postpone the harder it will be to cure our system. People who oppose entitlements with HSF are very, very narrow minded. As I once said any one who opposes can always return his retirement check and medicare or send it to the charity of their choice or something. The so called entitlements exist to support the citizenry. NASA HSF exists to? To do what exactly? Build huge rockets and run programs to nowhere? It is tough but it is the way it is. Our community has done a dismal job in regard to the justification for HSF at NASA or anywhere. Now we all live with the consequences. C’est la vie.

  • This is the first of many bites that could come out of NASA’s budget, although the Senate might not let it go by.

    And I don’t believe in the intelligence of politicians to do the right thing either in regards of what to do in restructuring NASA so it can do more work in this reduced funding environment. They would definitely transfer what little money is left to the NASA Districts as a jobs program, using the SLS/Orion as a pretense.

    In the end commercial providers shouldn’t go through NASA, but around them as Bill White suggests. In fact, while some here bash SpaceX for taking government contracts, most of their manifest is/are from customers all over the world.

    After all as Bill mentioned earlier, “profit is profit.”

  • Vladislaw

    wodun wrote:

    “If you are saying that the economy was better under Clinton because of higher taxes, I would disagree. If you are saying that the economy was better despite higher taxes and that higher taxes might not necessarily have a negative impact on the economy, I would agree.

    Correct, the economy was responding well despite the higher taxes under President Clinton.

    “But I do think that specific tax increases can have a negative impact on the economy, especially in the sectors taxed and doubly so if the intention of the tax is to hurt that sector of the economy.”

    I agree and that is why I am in favor of a ZeroG-ZeroTax policy, I would like it to have a sunset provision as well. Run it for 10 years and then let congress revisit it.

    I would have prefered that President Obama allow President Bush’s tax cuts to expire as the law was written and make congress do their job and revisit the issue and write a new tax cuts bill.

    In general I am a “the business of America is business” kind of person and believe most corporate taxes are double taxation. I would prefer lower corporate taxes relative to personal taxes. But since the Supreme Court gave corporations the rights of a citizen a lot of people believe they should be taxed like one.

  • Robert fantasized:

    if you dont think that Constellation is part of the problem that is causing us the US to go bankrupt then you are completely clueless.

    I didn’t say anything about Constellation, but then, reading comprehension has never been your strong suit, which is probably one of the reasons that you tell lies about me on the Internet.

    And even if I had, while Constellation is a disaster for people who want to open up space, and a waste of money for the taxpayer, it is a trivial part of our fiscal problems.

    Are you still on that Birther kick?

    Are you still beating your wife?

  • Fred Cink

    “…if we don’t understand how we got here…” really is the key to the whole (or in this case “hole”) problem. The man behind the koolaid curtain has that part correct, he also has the part about “Bush and his folks” correct. The problem with Mr Oler and his faulty analysis is that government spending, beyond government means, didn’t start with that waskly Bush. Please go to the OMB websight under “historic tables” and check the figures for government outlays vs revenues for the LAST 80 YEARS. Please pay particular attention to which of the two major political parties was in control of congress for the vast majority of that time. Then get some bleach, go to the laundry, and try to get rid of the koolaid stains.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rand Simberg wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 11:47 am

    “And even if I had, while Constellation is a disaster for people who want to open up space, and a waste of money for the taxpayer, it is a trivial part of our fiscal problems.”

    it is not a trivial part of our fiscal problems in terms of the mentality that got us into this shape. It is the mentality of spending money you dont have on programs that dont have support enough to get the people to pay for them.

    I wrote:
    “Are you still on that Birther kick?”

    you replied
    “Are you still beating your wife?”

    I never have, unlike you who has published the birther notions a great deal.

    But you can end this (and my reference to it) just say that The President of the US was born in the US and that all charges to the contrary are bogus…

    be pleased if you do but bet you wont.

    Robert G. Oler

  • vulture

    The cross-agency support budget is available to local mangers used for some projects they think might actually be of use, like new technologies for protecting the environment and preventing disease.

  • How would I know where the president was born? I wasn’t there. Not that I care.

    And not that it has anything to do with space policy, any more than do “neocons” and “right wingers” and Sarah Palin, and “thunderheads,” and all of your other loony obsessive/compulsive disorders with which you insist on polluting this comments section.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Fred Cink wrote @ February 18th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    “The problem with Mr Oler and his faulty analysis is that government spending, beyond government means, didn’t start with that waskly Bush. ”

    I never said it did. What I did say and no one has been able to say I am wrong is that spending beyond government means got out of hand under Bush…

    There was no real reason to mess with the spending/tax ratio that Mr. Bush inherited. And the justifications particularly for the decrease in tax revenue has shifted.

    At first Mr. Bush claimed that because of the surpluses we should cut taxes then as the surplus faded we needed the tax cuts to stimulate business…DeLay even claimed we needed the tax cuts so folks who “came back from Iraq after 6 months” could have jobs.

    There has been “optimistic” spending forecast before but bush took them to a new art. Reasonable people, like his own Secretary of the Treasury were accurately costing the war…and when that bomb went off all the “proponents” came out and started explaining how the war would pay for itself….and people like Whittington picked up the song and sang it.

    Bush was almost alone in his and his administrations ability to screw “with the monkeys” as a noted GOP (now deceased) political operative use to say.

    Cx was just like that. In the end Bush let (OK through his subordinates) a plan go forward which was the most expensive plan (given current technology) possible.

    And the faithful (see Whittington) still say it was great.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    Robert Oler wrote:

    “There was no real reason to mess with the spending/tax ratio that Mr. Bush inherited. And the justifications particularly for the decrease in tax revenue has shifted.”

    I have to disagree around the edges of this statement. President Bush did come into office with the start of a recession on the horizen. It was the peak of an economic bubble. (the dot.com bubble) and the traditional response is to increase spending and cut taxes.

    ( Now in the classic Keyansian model taxes should have been raised, the money supply shrunk so interest rates rise, and or spending cuts as we approached the peak to slow down the economy and eliminate the boom/bust cycle. Some economists believe you should not head off the bust part of the cycle, i.e. they believe in constructive destruction, the bust clears out the dead wood and lowers or checks the rising labor rates that accompany a booming economy)

    For me, the most productive spending to bring the ecomony out of recession is to use the time to upgrade infrastructure because it raises productivity in the long term and creates jobs in the short term. America’s infrastructure report card is bad and we need to spend about 200 billion a year for 10 years to bring it up. Here I believe President Bush failed, instead we got the unpaid for medicaid bill.

    Secondly we had 9/11 and the economy took a trillion dollar hit, we got the second round of untargeted tax cuts and increased spending of two wars. Here I believe mistakes were also made, I can understand the attack into pipelinestan but not Iraq. Especially since they were unfunded and didn’t do anything to raise the Nation’s productivity.

    President Bush had two opportunites, with a recession and 9/11 to apply better long term policys but failed and that lead to the 1.3 trillion dollar budget deficit he handed President Obama.

  • Vladislaw

    I should add that many economists where saying the same thing in 2006 and 2007 with the housing bubble. Most economists agreed that the money supply should have been tightened to raise interest rates and slow up the housing sector because there was going to be hell to pay because of inflated housing prices. Instead we got the boom/bust, constructive destruction senerio and blew up the housing sector. High unemployment has brought down the labor rates and quite a few marginal construction firms went under. I guess you can say we cleaned out the dead wood.

  • Fred Cink

    “…What I did say and no one has been able to say I am wrong is that spending beyond government means got out of hand under Bush…” I will say YOU ARE WRONG. It really got started under FDR…but he had an terible economic crisis then a war to deal with so it was justified, it accelerated under LBJ, but he had a war in Vietnam, and one on Poverty so it was justified. Then Nixon had a war and an oil crisis and recession, and it was justified. Then Carter had a cold war and a recession and it was justified, then Reagan had a recession he inherited from Carter and at least won the cold war so it was justified… Do I see common recuring thread here? We are now 12 plus trillion into on-the-books debt with government admitted unfuded liabilities of 110 trillion. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out this house of cards is ready to collapse. AND FOR ALL THE MOST COMPASSIOINATE AND JUSTIFIABLE OF REASONS

  • Vladislaw

    The debt as a percentage of the budget and GDP were managable before. At the peak of WWII it was 92% of GDP and then plunged. We are about to pass that when the next debt ceiling is raised. I believe the real start was with President Reagan.

    As I said, it is easy to pass the tax cuts and spending but congress never wants to put on the brakes and raise taxes and cut spending on the way up to slow the economy, they wait until the bust then pass more tax cuts and increase spending.

    Look at the second chart on this page for the National Debt.

    http://www.the-inter-web.com/debt.html

    It is pretty clear when it started.

  • common sense

    @ Fred Cink wrote @ February 19th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    “AND FOR ALL THE MOST COMPASSIOINATE AND JUSTIFIABLE OF REASONS”

    Like wars?

  • DCSCA

    49 years ago this morning… my God, seems like last month Glenn lifted off on that three orbit flight. It’s gonna take decades to get back to the moon and out to Mars. Unlessm of course, you’re Chinese.

  • Fred Cink

    The answer to my first question is “yes” I really did mangle the word “compassionate.” Secondly for Vladislaw and his debt chart, the easy-to remember saying is that “Presidents propose, congresses dispose” yes, it is somewhat of an oversimplification but is also basically true, so I would ask you to re-color the chart according to which of the two major political parties was in control of congress during those buget years, take your heart meds, and get out some more bleach for your koolaid stains. For common sense, please check out the definition of the words “sarcasm” and “irony” to discern how they were used by me to make the point. As for DCSCA I would, unfortunately, have to agree with that sad statement even in light of the sarcasm.

  • Vladislaw

    The President holds the veto pen and Reagan said he was going to use it when he was running for President. He never did, don’t blame congress if a President is afraid to rein them in.

    President Reagan was getting all the funding he wanted for his programs and as long as he got them, he didn’t care about the rest, because as Dick Cheney was telling him at the time:

    “deficits don’t matter”

  • Fred Cink

    I will (continue to) blame congress for over spending, because that is who controls the pursestrings (remember Byrd?) and I will also blame any president whose proposed budgets encourage it (Bush and Obama) and whose lack of use of the veto pen allows it. (all of them) Do you remember all the democrats in the majority during Reagan’s first term bragging on national TV that his “…budget was DOA…” and congress spent the proposed military increases to win the cold war but also over spent in the domestic areas where Reagan proposed flat rates? I thought congress was SUPPOSED to be made up of RESPONSIBLE ADULTS with an OATH TO THE CONSTITUTION not to their reelection.

  • Vladislaw

    Congress legislates, the Executive Branch executes. Congress can not do anything if the Senate does not have a veto proof majority. It is part of the checks and balances. If congress proposes overspending it is up to the Executive Branch to rein in the wild spending. The Presidental veto is the final safeguard. If they fail to use it to rein in congress, it is the President’s fault.

    As “give em hell” Harry Truman said the buck stops here. The final word is the President, they get the glory for all successes but they have to take the heat when they fail.

    Unfortunatly we know how it is played, as long as a President is getting the funding for their pet programs they are willing to trade funding to 534 legislators as long as it gets them what they want.

    Look what spending President Reagan and President Bush Jr. were willing to accept to get what they wanted. MASSIVE deficits, but they didn’t matter because star wars got funded and so did the the two wars.

  • Fred Cink

    “Congress can not do anything if the Senate does not have a veto proof majority” is a false statement. Congresses have been doing alot of stuff for a alot of years and significantly less than half of that time has there been a veto proof majority in the house or senate. The buck USUALLY stops at the oval office but vetos can be over-ridden by congress and by “legislation” from the Courts. You are spot on correct in your explaination of “we know how it is played” with trading voting favors, and under utilization of the veto pen. The worst of it comes from within congress itself by the inserting of earmarks and other pork into time and budget critical omnibus bills, the veto of which would cause at least short term chaos. What we are staring at now, due to a lack of Duty, Honor, and concern for Country, by both parties (in congress and the white house) is total economic collapse that will make the great depression look like a cake walk.

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