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Guest Post: Charles Krauthammer Mourns Over NASA Cuts, I Celebrate

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by James E Miller of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute of Canada,

Leading neoconservative (read “closet Trotskyite“) commentator Charles Krauthammer’s latest Washington Post editorial pays homage to the glory days of NASA and the retirement of the space shuttle Discovery.  Titled “Farewell, the New Frontier,” the piece evokes mental images of Uncle Sam losing his international prestige as President Obama scales down NASA’s space exploration endeavors.  Much like his incessant urging for war with any nation predominantly inhabited by Muslims, hypocrisy runs high from a pundit who has made a career out of denouncing big government.  But then again the infatuation conservatives have with imposing democracy abroad through military occupation and financing brutal dictators has always made the National Review and Weekly Standard crowd look like laughing stocks to anyone with a slight concern for logical consistency.

Neoconservatives like Krauthammer often gain readership by peddling “American exceptionalism” to simpletons who take comfort in their country succeeding while, in fact, it is the war contractors and corporate bed partners  of Washington who benefit from the governance of those who preach the doctrine of “limited government.”  Of course the left, who literally run their campaigns on promising to pilfer more wealth and create a constituency of obedient dependents, is equally guilty of attracting the various bedfellows of crony capitalism.  But at least their admiration for centralized planning and tightening the leash on civil society is openly professed.

For decades, the conservative movement has been an embarrassment to those who believe in true free markets, peace, and liberty.  Krauthammer’s pity party over NASA is more of the same as it represents the type of economic ignorance and worship of big government that has become a predominant feature of the mainstream “right.”  He writes:

As the space shuttle Discovery flew three times around Washington, a final salute before landing at Dulles airport for retirement in a museum, thousands on the ground gazed upward with marvel and pride. Yet what they were witnessing, for all its elegance, was a funeral march.


Who cares, you say? What is national greatness, scientific prestige or inspiring the young — legacies of NASA — when we are in economic distress? Okay. But if we’re talking jobs and growth, science and technology, R&D and innovation — what President Obama insists are the keys to “an economy built to last” — why on earth cancel an incomparably sophisticated, uniquely American technological enterprise?

For a man who hilariously chided President Obama’s blind commitment to throwing away more and more taxpayer dollars at politically favored firms under the guise of a six-year “stimulus” plan by declaring “even Lenin had the modesty to stop at five,” Krauthammer still operates under the assumption that perhaps a few of the various arms of federal bureaucracy are capable of generating wealth.  According to him, the staff at NASA is on the forefront of developing technological innovations:

We lament the decline of American manufacturing, yet we stop production of the most complex machine ever made by man — and cancel the successor meant to return us to orbit. The result? Abolition of thousands of the most highly advanced aerospace jobs anywhere — its workforce abruptly unemployed and drifting away from space flight, never to be reconstituted.

Judging by the above passage, Mr. Krauthammer has difficulty distinguishing between jobs which produce wealth and those that are utterly wasteful.  In order for a job to be productive, it must garner some type of return on investment.  Whether its the lawyer opening up a law practice or the hamburger flipper at McDonald’s, the outcome of profit and losses determines the success of each.  The market process of monetary calculation allows for the efficient distribution of resources.  Where profit, that is the money earned after paying for wages, land rent, interest, and other inputs, fails to materialize, then resources have been wasted as consumers send a proverbial referendum of dissatisfaction to producers by voting with their wallets.

The state, by nature of acquiring its funds through theft, does not have the same concern for profits and loss.  This renders those who carry out its operations incapable of economic calculation.  In the words of Ludwig von Mises:

There is no possible way of establishing by an objective criterion whether a district or a province is being administered well or badly, cheaply or expensively. The judgment of the activity of public officials is thus a matter of subjective, and therefore quite arbitrary, opinion. Even the question whether a particular bureau is necessary, whether it has too many or too few employees, and whether its organization is or is not suited to its purpose can be decided only on the basis of considerations that involve some element of subjectivity.

Rather than facilitate advances in technology and promote space travel, NASA has only inhibited such in being a functioning apparatus of the government.  The state only ever acquires those resources forcefully taken from the private sector.  The labor and industrial technology employed by NASA since its inception has been forever designated to and wasted by a political bureaucracy incapable of legitimately garnishing a real profit.  Without profit and loss, the effective use of resources is impossible to determine.

Krauthammer goes on to question the private sector’s viability in achieving profitable manned-space flight.

Nor for the private sector to get us back into orbit, as Obama assumes it will. True, hauling MREs up and trash back down could be done by private vehicles. But manned flight is infinitely more complex and risky, requiring massive redundancy and inevitably larger expenditures. Can private entities really handle that? And within the next lost decade or two?

The question isn’t whether the private sector can handle such a task.  It’s what policies does the government actively promote, from taxation to currency debasement, which prevent the capital accumulation necessary to fund such a costly endeavor.  With less resources being squandered away by NASA’s bureaucracy, that means more left in the hands in entrepreneurs who “might have a chance to actually prosper down the road” and “carry the water instead of drink the water,” to borrow a phrase from Rick Santelli.  If space travel can’t be funded by entrepreneurs and investors looking to buy low and sell high, than it ends up being another avenue in which to destroy wealth.  Government is and will always be incapable of allocating resources effectively.  The political time horizon only runs as far as the next election.  The return on investment for any politicians means convincing enough saps to check the ballot box next to their name.  It has nothing to do with economization and all to do with paying off campaign supporters.  NASA’s various attempts at space travel are bridge to nowhere projects like every other government boondoggle.

And as this exhaustive report conducted by Katherine Mangu-Ward of Reason Magazine shows, space exploration is being pursued by a number of private individuals and companies.  These “Rocket Men” are interested in offering a service at a profit and not appeasing their political benefactors.  Their success will be dependent solely on whether the methods and technology they utilize actually enrich the lives of others.  It won’t aid in the advancement of the static bureaucracy known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Mises pinned down the fundamental predicament massive bureaucracies like NASA long ago:

Thus, the characteristic mark of bureaucratic management is that it lacks the guidance provided by considerations of profit and loss in judging the success of its operations in relation to the expenses incurred and is consequently obliged, in the effort to compensate for this deficiency, to resort to the entirely inadequate expedient of making its conduct of affairs and the hiring of its personnel subject to a set of formal prescriptions. All the evils that are commonly imputed to bureaucratic management — its inflexibility, its lack of resourcefulness, and its helplessness in the face of problems that are easily solved in profit-seeking enterprise — are the result of this one fundamental deficiency.

Contrary to Krauthammer, NASA has never represented America’s collective vision of frontier exploration.  It has been just another bureaucratic black hole for Washington to throw dollars at in hopes of buying reelection.  As investor and avowed anarchist Doug Casey thoughtfully observes on the inefficiency of NASA:

We should have colonies on the moon by now, and more: We should be mining the asteroids and developing real estate on Mars. There should be active homesteading going on out there right now. As you say, the technology for doing it is fairly mature – and would be far more so if the field had been left to the private sector, which always does things faster and more efficiently than the state.

Because one of the main tenets of economics is considering the unseen, then it can be assumed that space exploration would very well be advanced far beyond what we see today if it was left completely out of the hands of the state.  If Krauthammer truly wished the human race capable of traveling into the new frontier of the stars, he would welcome NASA cuts rather than lament.  I know I am.


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Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:06 | 2372261 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Don't forget the elderly in wheelchairs. You always want to choose victims that can't fight back.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:47 | 2372425 Acorn10012
Acorn10012's picture

Everyone has a calling. Otherwise, they would be getting an EBT card and watching Oprah.

+1 for the Great Society.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:47 | 2372205 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

As a fantasy political solution, I like that a lot.  Cut the budget for every existing Federal program by 50% overnight and leave everything in place just as is.  Let everyone who's already there figure out what it means.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:37 | 2372182 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Great Post !bd!

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:52 | 2372223 t0mmyBerg
t0mmyBerg's picture

If i could upmod you infinitely I would.  What a bunch of narrow minded gut slugs it seems there are here tonight.  If NASA could have been insulated from the fing morons in washington it would have turned out better than it did.  But the entire budget for NASA for 2011 is $18B.  Washington pisses away more than that in the time it takes Generalissimo El Presidente to take his morning crap.  If you are looking for waste on a massive scale try Medicare.  Multiples of NASAs budget are pissed away annually.  I despair for America.  At least NASA did cool things and made an impact in many different areas and contributed in some small way to scientific progress. 

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:02 | 2372246 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Agree with you on that. NASA was about the only government organization I had any pride in. They accomplished some amazing things. I remember the first moon launch in school, and I had the pleasure of seeing the shuttle lift off in person. Talk about a breathtaking event. Something my kids will never get to see. To me it's just another step backwards in this country.
I do agree with the author that it became a bloated beauracracy with no direction. I've always felt we should have been a lot further along than we are now. It never made any sense that we weren't trying to build a base on the moon so we could explore and possibly capitalize further out into space.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:17 | 2372470 youngman
youngman's picture

after Challanger they got scared...scared of the politicians..scared of lawyers....scared to stick thier necks out....they became a bunch of bureaucrats...not scientists and engineers anymore....and with the dumbing down of America..there is no one to filll in the shoes of the retiring scientists and engineers..sorry USA...but the end of NASA....the old NASA is a loss....but hey..we still have AMTRAK....and the POST OFFICE...and its goodbye small step for man...but a big fuckin leap for a Politician with votes to buy

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 02:53 | 2372571 Freddie
Freddie's picture

NASA was good when the Germans ran it.  After Von Braun died it reverted to shit like when the US Navy tried to launch Vanguard (?) and it blew up on the pad.

This was NASA without Von Braun and the Germans.   Post Von Braun it was shitty mylar sheets to cover Skylab from overheating.  Chunks of foam off the tanks due toe PC green agenda making the take foam dangerous and it fell apart during launches.   BS Thiokol and post-German NASA launching on the coldest day in Florida recorded history. Von BRaun would have never let that happen.  Go away NASA/aka US Postal Service.


Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:35 | 2372172 El Oregonian
El Oregonian's picture

This story reminds me of piss-ants, millions and millions of piss-ants....

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:37 | 2372180 worbsid
worbsid's picture

No doubt about it, NASA had some really neat toys and we still have the big toy in the sky that the Russians are supplying.  Now tell me, what the DOE is for?  There are many others that need explination but lets just start with DOE.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:38 | 2372183 bluebare
bluebare's picture

Krauthammer is a festering bedsore on the behind of journalism.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:40 | 2372188 booboo
booboo's picture

It all started great, tough hombre test pilots risking it all, guys in white shirts with pocket protecters and slide rules working complicated math able to put two guys on the moon 6 years after the President announced the plan. Now, fuuuuuck, The Mr Magoo Flying Telescope with a contact lense. A social experiment with hiring quotas and sensitivity training twice a year. If that fucking tiled up space plane was the most complicated machine on earth it should have flown itself to Dulles and had enough self awarness to dump the contents of it's space shitter directly on Inaction Jacksons motorcade.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:50 | 2372217 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture


Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:40 | 2372191 OrestesPenthilu...
OrestesPenthilusQuintard's picture

The moon landing was real? Too bad they lost the original tapes.  NASA - so irresponsible.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:52 | 2372219 Acorn10012
Acorn10012's picture

Sure was...didn't you see Futurama. "We're whalers on the moon..."

Lunar lander and everything.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:42 | 2372500 KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

Best. Video. Ever.

Secret Nasa - Real Footage! - YouTube -

"I'm on the bottom rung of the ladder"

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:43 | 2372194 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Has any one taken the time, to read the Article?   You might be pleasantly surprised!

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:45 | 2372198 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Sorry, Miller descends into nihilism: why can't we defecate on the sidewalk if it's in our own self-interest? Why is it illegal to toss live grenades out of car windows when it could actually be profitable to do so? 


Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:01 | 2372376 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 C/E , You have been around for a-while. I should take more time to appreciate your comments!

  Thanks for your input!! You do a good job!

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:46 | 2372201 dhussey
dhussey's picture

I would like to punch the author of this in the face for being a pretentious prick...  

"If space travel can’t be funded by entrepreneurs and investors looking to buy low and sell high, than it ends up being another avenue in which to destroy wealth.  Government is and will always be incapable of allocating resources effectively. " 

So, lets examine some of the other fine contributions to civilization that dont promote wealth- like maybe the "Mona Lisa" or any other fine piece of art- You know what- how about all those timeless novels and stories and plays, lets just burn them all...

You know what- the NASA budget was a FRACTION of a FRACTION- of the US budget, not even a PENNY of the total cash spent by the governement was EVER on NASA.  

The world's great civilizations fell shortly after they decided to cut spending on afluent things like the arts and sciences... Rome, Greece, Persia... All the same...

This wasnt the answer to a single spending issue in the US, and seeing the shuttle program die was honestly the death of an amazing era for all of mankind.  

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:16 | 2372281 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

"The world's great civilizations fell shortly after..."

Great societies die out of neglect of the critical infrastructure, first and foremost the voice of the people.

Really? Rome fell because they cut spending on the arts?

Really? The USA will fall because it cuts publicly-funded space exploration?

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:47 | 2372204 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Is NASA one of the most productive bureaucracies? YES.

Is it something the private sector couldn't have done eventually and with far less resources? NO.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:47 | 2372206 Kiwi Pete
Kiwi Pete's picture


A private US company,  on track to become the first commercial visitor to the International Space Station, has delayed its spaceship's launch date by at least a week.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, was scheduled to launch the supply ship next Monday but officials have announced that the spaceship needs more testing.

The Dragon spacecraft will be first private ship to go to the station but now its lift-off is likely to be around May 7 rather than the planned date of April 30 after NASA did a final review of the mission on Monday.



You guys are still in the race!

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:48 | 2372208 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

But I hear they have the worlds greatest adult diapers

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:48 | 2372210 FXPortent
FXPortent's picture

I never understood how people take this man [Krauthammer] with the slightest semblance of credibility.


If you are looking for this quality, look elsewhere, because this nman has none.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:50 | 2372215 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Krauthammer's one of the few pundits who continues to inspire my hatred and loathing.  I liked NASA too, but in every way imaginable, I disagree with that fuck with every fiber of my being.

We do what we can.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:51 | 2372221 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Good luck with that Fosile, in November!

   Geology Rules!

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:53 | 2372226 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

fantastic read


Ps. can't stand listening to that arrogant dumb-fuck krauthammer, period!

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:55 | 2372233 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

If those who have paid, and continue to pay, for NASA...

had an understanding of the State of Affairs, and,

had a Voice in the matter,

NASA would've been temporarily? shelved a while ago, in the interests of getting our shit together first.

Unfunded excitement and exploration doesn't work forever.

Testament to how far off kilter we are -- we still argue about it.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:04 | 2372253 Acorn10012
Acorn10012's picture

Faulty logic...we're not going to get our shit together. As a taxpayer, I can support a science-based NASA, more couch stains, and fewer criminal suspects.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 22:59 | 2372239 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

  Just a  thought?  Is space exploration>  worth it?

  Thank You

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:07 | 2372263 onlooker
onlooker's picture


So  James E Miller of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute of Canada,  has an opinion. One thing he maybe was/is too young to understand is that the Cold War was on full tilt (involved USA and USSR) and Hot War was a real prospect. Space and delivery system domination was seen as important to get nuclear weapons over there and control not getting them over here.


Kennedy (Democrat) was hardly a Neocon but certainly a threat to World Peace. Oh, forgot to include that the Space Program is attributed to him.


Now the Canadian Space Program and Military dominance that helped dissolve the USSR is another story. Maybe our writer can expound on the successes of his own country. We want to know.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:11 | 2372272 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Krauthammer never impressed me and this may be one the few times I can agree with him...

And based on the comments, there might be some hope for this place....

BTW, the true legacy of NASA lies with their unmanned program which is fraction yet of their budget...

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:34 | 2372328 automato
automato's picture

The problem lies not in our ability to throw things into outer space(the takeoff). The problem lies in the landing at both ends of the journey. Our technology is still decades and a few tech breakthroughs away from a lander that does NOT use parachutes or bouncing balloons or oversized gliders with heat shields that require an atmosphere and air drag braking! The idea of mining asteroids is a publicity stunt....nothing more. And for the critics, the Space Shuttle is still the only re-usable system that actually takes off and lands under it's own power. Everything else uses parachutes and bouncing balloons! Do you actually think they can use a mass driver to hurl tons of ore at the earth? One mistake and the tons of ore becomes kilotons of explosions. The energy needed just does NOT exist with present technology to lift off and land tons of ore combined with the tonnage that the rockets would have to weigh. Why do you think the walls of the LEM were a few mils of MYLAR! Civilians are idiots.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:54 | 2372366 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Not sure why this came my way....

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:28 | 2372298 jmc8888
jmc8888's picture

Umm Nasa is the example of how the physical economy works.  If you don't have a focus on a science driver physical economic program, you don't have an economy.  You have paper pushing stagnation.  Or just stagnation without printing.

This is pennywise, pound foolish.

NASA along with other endeavors is exactly how to get the real economy moving, only phd economists and monetary ideologists think otherwise.


We haven't had a physical economic surplus since 1968.  But most dumbasses forget that.  Most dumbasses forget that this is also the year we shut down the Apollo program.  Oh we still used most of what was already built for the moon landing, but the production line and any real follow ons were scrapped before Armstrong fucked up his line when taking that first step.

This is why both Keynesians and Austrians are fucking tools.  Because monetarism of any stripe tells you to do bullshit, like they are following a computer model that says housing can never go down.

Nasa is the epitome of physical economic progress, at least when it is used correctly.  It needs to be overhauled to get the green fascists backward thinkers out, no doubt, but when retooled into the type of program it was in the 60's, you'll get the physical progress and private spinoffs that create entire industries, tens of millions of jobs (at least), and real wealth growth that otherwise wouldn't of been created in many cases, and in other ways you might get decades later.

Had NASA not pushed boundaries, and Steve Jobs might have well been Blow Jobs.  There would have been no Apple.  Well guess what, since we missed a generation, we are already missing out on the next Steve Jobs, because that industry was never created.  No tech sector, so microwaves, no tang, no microprocessor, no umm just about anything along these lines and a whole lot more.  Hell those products from NASA even created tens of millions of jobs in China.

People that celebrate NASA being stunted is a bigger idiot than Krugman and Bernanke combined.  Okay, just equal.  Congratulations fucktards who agree with that idiocy anywhere in the world.



Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:14 | 2372400 I am a Man I am...
I am a Man I am Forty's picture

This is bullshit, so far space has gotten us jack shit.  What the fuck did we get out of going to the moon??  Nothing except for the satisfaction of going there first.  How much money have we spent and wasted on NASA?  It's all propaganda bullshit.  You've watched too much Star Trek.  We have a better chance of being picked up by aliens from another galaxy than doing anything worth a shit with our current technology.  If you want to give an award for coming up with some technology that goes into deep space and benefits mankind, go for it, but I'm all tapped out.  We should be able to go to the moon every other day if we did it back in 1969.  And how much did it cost us?  Next to nothing back then.  The fact that it will cost billions and billions of dollars to go to the moon is proof positive it is an epic failure.  Who gives a shit if there is water on mars?  Seriously, what will that get us?  I don't give a shit if there are aliens on Saturn, make them fucking come here are their nickel.  I'm tired of this boondoggle bullshit.  NASA is a fucking joke, look at the shit equipment we used to get there in 69 and we can't send someone there with the technology we have now for less money?  Nope, sorry, just another screwing of the taxpayer. You want NASA, you cut them a check.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:25 | 2372413 Acorn10012
Acorn10012's picture

Funny employer takes it out of my check every two weeks without me having to ask.

Fifty percent plus 1 creates a lot of conflict.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:21 | 2372407 Non Passaran
Non Passaran's picture

A NASA employee, I presume?

NASA didn't create anything useful that private sector couldn't or wouldn't have created (and cheaper, too).

Even today they are wasting money on global warming research. Bloody wasters.

Doug Casey is right. I remember a good comment from Slashdot in which someone said something like "stop fucking around and send real people to Mars now. If you can't find a volunteer, pay me and I'll go".

Fuck the government.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 17:31 | 2374976 mkkby
mkkby's picture

You credit NASA with developing the tech industry and the microprocessor?  You really are a dumb shit.  No other comment necessary... expect "tang"?  You think that is some great achievement?  Science illiteracy is what ails amerika most.  You have that in spades.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:29 | 2372305 Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

Feynman had NASA pegged for what it is.

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:29 | 2372306 brewcity12802
brewcity12802's picture

NASA's budget should not be cut, its mission should be changed. Corporations will be searching for profits in space and not working to benefit humanity. My guess is the next ELE to destroy us all will be an asteriod with a Google doodle written across it. 

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:38 | 2372335 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

What about " exotic propulsion" ?

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 23:45 | 2372348 GernB
GernB's picture

We should eliminate NASA. It competes with private organizations and prevents the benefits of competition from being realized in the area of space flight. Imagine if we had only one airlines and it was government run. It could never match the power of several competing airlines all investing gobs of money in figuring out how to transport passengers better, faster, cheaper, and more safely. What is a crime is not that we have not invested more in NASA, but the strides in science, technology and our understanding of the universe that could have been made while we waited for a bloated and inefficient NASA to take advantage of it's monopoly on space flight.

As for Krauthammer, he has recently been a disappointment. He gives lip service to smaller government, but supports Romney and NASA. Like so many conservatives he says he wants smaller government until it comes to the war on terror or the war on drugs, and then no price is too small.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:05 | 2372458 nick howdy
nick howdy's picture

We have things like NASA because there's not allot of folks out there willing to take the risk of blowing people up on the way to the moon..

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 02:58 | 2372575 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Krauthammer is NOT a conservative.  Neocon maybe.  Conservatives do not like Romney or his Rove/Bushbot controllers.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:02 | 2372370 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

I think a space program is the kind of thing the government should be involved in; provided it does so with excess cash...something we no longer have owing to our other banana endeavors...


As for the Space Shuttle, it became a massive boondoggle in the end, run by people incapable of seeing outside of the box, just like another institution we all hate...


Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:04 | 2372381 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture


Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:11 | 2372395 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I agree with you to a William. It seems to me that if we were to end a few wars , defund the TSA ,Homeland security, and a few other wastes then the money might be there. In the grand scheme of things NASA's budget wasn't that large.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:31 | 2372421 Acorn10012
Acorn10012's picture

Excess cash? With +$100 trillion in unfunded liabilities? If that's the argument, then most programs are done.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:11 | 2372393 Demologos
Demologos's picture

James E. Miller, you are an asshole and so is anyone who subscribes to von Mises' bullshit. That goes for the "taxation is theft" nonsense.  Even the Founders recognized that some taxation is necessary.  Yes it is out of control, especially since the creation of the Fed.  Without some kind of science driver, which is typically development of armaments, the US would have been destroyed by the European Powers at several points in history.  Then we would have had feudalism for about 150 years now.  Von Mises and the whole "Austrian School" were created as a battering ram against the German dirigist/mercantilist system the Founders used as a model for the US that was expressed through Hamiltonian manufacturing policies. 

Near the end he says we should be mining the asteroids.  Really?  Using what technology?  Something that difficult takes a lot of practice and that is what we have been doing for the past fifty years.  The space program made possible satellite communications, weather satellites, ceramic materials, microprocessors, advanced optics for space telescopes, medical devices, and much more, such as pure science research that we are still using today. 

If you set out today to create a material that was needed to mine an asteroid, the expense would bankrupt any corporation that exists today, not to mention the other necessary equipment such as propulsion systems.  But with the space program, multitudes of possible materials were investigated, created and some deployed on space craft and satellites.  Those materials and their useful properties are now known and they are available "off the shelf" for any high-tech equipment industry can use them for, including mining asteroids.

I hate  it when I hear an ignoramus say "we are throwing money away in space."  The money was spent here paying engineers and scientists whose work was used in the civilian sector to improve our standard of living.  No money went into space.  It went to companies who now build our aircraft, electronics and medical devices.  In the late 60's the Rappaport report was commissioned and its conclusion were that if we kept on the current path of space exploration at the time, we would have too many scientists and engineers.  Instead, the space program was killed and Nixon ended the Bretton Woods System to give us too many speculators and quants today.  We know how that worked out.

A lot of people here know that the economy is doomed if we stay on the present imperial monetarist debt-based financial system.  But they don't know that the only way out, and the actual core necessary activity of government, is to foster scientific progress and encourage the rapid introduction of new technology.  Technology based on new physical principles is the only way to break the ever-increasing cost of energy.  Technology based on plasma processes would revolutionize energy production, chemical processing, and manufacturing materials production.  Those processes would have been developed through the Strategic Defense Initiative.  Instead, the SDI (perjoratively called Star Wars to mock it) was quickly killed.  Now we are embroiled in resource-grabbing wars and headed to thermonuclear conflict because the speculative economy is collapsing.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:32 | 2372490 GoldmanSux
GoldmanSux's picture

Well argued.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 02:17 | 2372536 Catullus
Catullus's picture

Congratulations.  You said nothing factual.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 10:51 | 2373373 Demologos
Demologos's picture

What wasn't factual?  The Founders did not accept some taxation in writing the Constitution?  There are no satellites, advanced materials and medical devices that came out of the space program?  There was no Rappaport Report?  The speculative financial model that was promoted over the space program was not a crashing failure?  We are not in a series of resource-grabbing wars?  I made an argument, the facts you can Google.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 17:36 | 2374988 mkkby
mkkby's picture

Plasma technology... would revolutionize?  Ha ha ha ha.  Did you see that one on star trek, science tard?

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:13 | 2372398 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

The only good reason for NASA is space defense.

Yes space, the parapet, the castle tower, of yesteryear.

Whomever owns the high ground owns the battle field; China is busy in space.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:28 | 2372417 Likstane
Likstane's picture

Quit stealing my FRN's to pay for your stupid space party. 

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:31 | 2372422 Argos
Argos's picture

You don't shoot the only dog you have that hunts.  Just about the only thing America had going for itself was the space program. 

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:59 | 2372452 Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Dr. Hannibal Lecter's picture

glad I didn't waste my time...never got past the first 4 words...

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:01 | 2372453 nick howdy
nick howdy's picture

I like the space program...But I hate that ugly bastard Krauthammer! Back to your the alternate universe Krauthammer!

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 02:04 | 2372526 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Krauthammer is a Harvard trained psychiatrist who looks that way from being paralyzed and in a wheelchair since a diving accident in his 20s. I give him chops for just  being around this long. I don't always agree with him, it took the fool 2 years to figure out Obama was a douchebag. 


Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:02 | 2372454 Peter K
Peter K's picture

Don't you just hate SANE people. ;) More Krugman.... ahhh I  mean cowbell.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:04 | 2372457 Milton Waddams
Milton Waddams's picture

Let's admit that the futurists of the mid-to-late 50's and 60's were mostly wrong when, specific to this topic, it came to space flight or flight in general (we were supposed to be commuting to work in helicoptors by now and colonizing distant moons and planets).  Let's admit that they were far too optimistic (propaganda to show superiority over the great Red "space threat") and rebuild from there. 

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:19 | 2372459 DavidPierre
DavidPierre's picture

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon


Wed, 04/25/2012 - 09:01 | 2372944 Angus195
Angus195's picture

I agree my friend....

All smoke and mirrors.  If all that really happened back in 1969 (33 years ago), Trump would have a hotel/casino on the moon by now as would Hilton with Paris and Nicole Ritichi doing two shows a night.  If one were to believe the official 'version of reality' we went there in 1969, like Clark Griswald (Chevy Chase) going to the Grand Canyon ( and we never went back.  Yea right.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:24 | 2372478 tongue.stan
tongue.stan's picture

A couple of things:

1.Krauthammer is a steaming piece of crap. He and Novak deserve to spend eternity in hell with each other as the satan spawn that they are/were.

2.Nasa is a luxury. Or a broken window to be more PhD-ish.

3. If the earth becomes uninhabitable after the spent fuel pool at Fukushima #4 dries out or collapses and releases tons of Pu and Ur into the northern hemisphere, we might have to restart NASA to find a way off this radioactive rock. We might have no choice then.


PS We never landed on the moon. It was all filmed on a sound stage by Stanly Kubrick. Allegedly.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:32 | 2372492 LarryDavis
LarryDavis's picture

I love science. I am an aspiring geneticist with tremendous wit and a large penis. Why the fuck are we worried about space with all these fucking problems on earth? Maybe we should have thrown a few more dollars at practical matters. 

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:57 | 2372520 gwar5
gwar5's picture

We need to go to the Red Planet at once to save the solar system from evil capitalism. The proletariat can hunt down SUV drivers on Mars since there is great climate change occurring (true) and it must be stopped to save the rocks.


Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:33 | 2372494 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Hey I like Chaz!  But I disagree with him on this. And anybody who still froths at the mouth using the label neocon is a neo-anachronism.


NASA gave us some good things but has seen it's day. Remember it was a proxy for multi-stage ICBM rocket technology during the 1960's Cold War. Still, we got good information about what space travel would require, and computer technology, material science and that delicious beverage... TANG!  I doubt private money could go into space now without public enterprise first having found out how humans would survive it first. The initial R&D with no apparent payoff was prohibitive. 

And Casey's dreamy talk of significant colonies on the moon and mining Mars is 'utter piffle' and always has been.  The energy requirements for getting sufficient loads back and forth are staggering. Think what it would take just get a single backhoe to the moon, with enough desiel fuel... and would it even run in a low oxygen environment at 200 degrees Farenheit?

... and what do you do when you blow a seal?  If you said wipe your chin, then you may be qualified to be the first miner on the moon.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 02:46 | 2372563 Non Passaran
Non Passaran's picture

There may be volunteers willing to embark on such trips even if they knew their chances of survival were next to none.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:36 | 2372496 Walt D.
Walt D.'s picture

Let us not forget all the junk science that came out of NASA on Global Climate Change. James Hansen should have stuck with Kermit the Frog - it's not easy being green.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:46 | 2372504 q99x2
q99x2's picture

I worked at JPL for 3 years. This is how I saw it while I was there.

We would work on all sorts of experimental projects from military and electric vehicles to anti-gravity devices to spacecraft. JPL's budget was comingled with NASA's and CalTech's. Everyone worked on everyone elses projects. The funding was always comingled as well. Then when breakthroughs were made Arco and GE and dozens of monopoly globalist companies would take the technology and patent it.

I wish NASA would stay around for national identity unfortunatly it was an early casualty of the Globalist/Bankster's agenda.

William Gibson was probably right on about the future of the US as being separated into a Federal country and a private country. In his fictional future it was harder to live in the private areas but the freedom promoted development of the personality and inovation. The FED citizens were portrayed as supressed, dull and lifeless.

Notice how the CEO's are now retaining control of their corporations. They don't want to become subjected to the buyout and control by central bankers. Once central banksters were allowed into equity markets companies became likely targets for all kinds of clandestine operations.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 01:56 | 2372519 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 This thread reeks of China and the M/E!

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 02:52 | 2372568 hookah
hookah's picture

Seems like James E Miller know nothing about scientist. (specially in physics and at universities)
Scientist aren't run by need of profit, there is no way you would make exploration and research competitive in the capitalist sense, as scientist share all studies with each other. Even in the cold war Nasa scientist shared many data with USSR and vice versa. And today you can read 750000 publication on arxiv.
So there is no way to determine Nasa by its profit as it gives away tech for free. Also you will never see private sector building space telescopes or particle colliders, as the profits from them are too long running and your scientist would share it with everyone anyway...
One example is Quantum Computers. Who would have thought that Schrödinger and Bell discoveries/theories would lead to this. It took more than 60 years, but today's computers will look calculators compared to Quantum Computers...

But yeah, I have to agree that the shuttle program was a waste. (But for many it was national symbol of power even if its cost was irrational)

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 02:52 | 2372569 Catullus
Catullus's picture

NASA: just another government agency that if and when cut, you don't notice at all despite what their army of beureaucrats screamed would be the END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT. Same goes for all War Department projects.

I haven't seen any of you science nerds actually refute the logical argument made here: NASA necessarily misallocates resources because it has no profit and loss signalling.  The lot of you can site all these great things that NASA contributed, but at what cost? What wasn't developed or researched or engineered because resources were directed toward NASA? You can't know. 

And for those of you who can't imagine the private sector creating a space program probably have no idea what it takes to create an oil platform. Or the tremendous amount of capital directed toward energy E&P.  As if going to moon and returning with a few rocks is as impressive as drilling for oil as much as 5,700 feet below the surface.


Wed, 04/25/2012 - 03:11 | 2372584 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

This US citizen mourns right.

Mourning the loss of the space frontier.

Expanding into space was US citizen plan A to maintain their kind of society.

They knew for long that staying on Earth would constraint severely their plan.

Just like their fantasy team, US citizens have no plan B. Only plan A.

And being trapped on Earth with US citizenism is like inventing the most destructive explosive device ever, with the purpose of coupling it to the most long range delivery system ever but failing on providing the long range system, the only thing that could move that explosive device far enough to get you out of the explosion shock wave.

Yep, totally right to mourn the loss of the frontier.

NASA, grand US citizen fiasco...

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 11:59 | 2373649 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Chinese citizenism mourning properly now is.

Mourning loss of unencumbered roadside clear of citizenism excrement clutter being the purpose.

Chinese citizenism citizens knowing now in past that for long staying on Chinese citizenism roadsides would constipate severely their plan, their fantasy of blobbing up to the stars and beyond.

And being trapped on Chinese citizenism roadsides is like inventing most explosive moving of bowels ever, coupling it to the most expansive roadside system ever but failing on providing system flushing, the only thing that could move excretion piles far enough to clear roadside being monsoon rains into Yellow River, now Brown River, to get you out of citizenism stench wave.

Yep, totally right to mourn and hold nose at roadside frontier.

Grand Chinese citizenism fiasco...


Wed, 04/25/2012 - 04:00 | 2372610 Hot Shakedown
Hot Shakedown's picture

The space shuttle is obsolete as we have move into to the quantum level to manipulate space/time.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 04:08 | 2372616 juujuuuujj
juujuuuujj's picture

Look at the Pentagon's budget. Now look at NASA's budget. See why this article is irrelevant?

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 04:48 | 2372636 savagegoose
savagegoose's picture

if you are a private entrepaneur and develop some tec that military want, and maybe go to get a patent,  you think you get to go to the market and develop it? sell it anyone who wants it?

like fuck you dumb shits, it become a state secret, and you get a job in the gov sucking dick and doing what we won WW2 to do, being  slaves of our masters.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 05:40 | 2372665 connda
connda's picture

When you're trying to simply get by day-to-day, who the fuck cares about moon rocks and space travel.  If there is an economic profit motive for space travel (and there is), the private sector will take over.  Time to start cutting back -- NASA as good a place to start as any. 

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 05:54 | 2372682 Sutton
Sutton's picture

We could have had moon colonies by now.  But you know the diversity crowd would have made demands.  Then the Whites would have fled by now. Detroit on the Moon. Same for Mars...

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 17:50 | 2375018 mkkby
mkkby's picture

Good point.  Make my moon condo in the suburbs.  I don't like the inner crater culture.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 07:23 | 2372764 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Manned space flight is just outdated.  We can explore space and the seas with unmanned instrumentation.  Why would we waste money on building craft that need to carry the extra weight of humans along with air and food?

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 09:20 | 2373016 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

NASA was required if we were ever going to get off the planet, the sheer up front cost of inventing the required technologies in both time and money were simply too large for any single investor or company, or even private consortium to have done it.  Had it not been for NASA all we would have in the way of space travel and technology would be launch vehicles for nuclear tipped missiles.

As usual the rabid anti government forces at ZH totally miss the point that the trillions government(s) have spent on space have already vastly paid for themselves in the form of private profits in industries that would not even exist had the efforts to conquer space not been undertaken.  Like your cell phone?  Your computer?  Air bags in your car?  None of it would have been possible if the only application for space had been as the shortcut to nuke other nations.  Weather satellites?  Geological exploration?  Not to mention it was space technology that led to the introduction of small and CHEAP microchip circuits that gave us affordable consumer electronics.  Without space exploration and it's necessity for lightweight and compact circuits and the subsidies from NASA and other government programs the likes of Bell Labs would still be building calculators the size of Buicks. 

But, that phase is ending, the phase of government ownership and expense of space exploration.  There is a transition, not without pain or expense, to private and eventually profitable space exploitation.  One day, not in my lifetime I think, but in the lives of some who are alive now, it will be unthinkable to despoil the Earth for minerals, or to rape the biosphere for building materials.  If mankind survives it will happen sooner or later.  We might never get to other stars, but we will get to other planets, and more lucrative and important to the asteroids which are so rich in minerals like gold and others that are rare, or better put so diffused in our crust, that the day will come that people will marvel that we ever were able to find and process them at all compared to the plenty and ease of getting them in space. 

At the rate technology is expanding that day is closer than you believe.  A world where there is no need for wood products other than decorative because metals from space will be far cheaper to build with.  The forests can be left alone to do what they do best, make oxygen and sequester carbon.  Where there is little to no need for oil outside of a small specialty application market for certain plastics.  Where energy is so cheap the only cost to the consumer is a flat rate because metering will cost more than the energy itself. 

And the future of mankind like it or not depends on us getting off the planet and colonizing the Moon and Mars.  It might not be today, or next year but eventually this planet will be stricken by one of those large rocks, one big enough to kill most life here.  The technology needed to avoid that can only be developed in space, down here it all remains just theory.  And if it should happen in spite of attempts to prevent it we will have our seed bank of human DNA in colonies outside the planet to re sow the earth in the aftermath.   

I am 54 in a week, when I was born NOBODY would have believed you could telephone someone in India from a device built into your car or a headset the size of a cigarette, and talk for hours in the remotest parts of the country, for on low flat monthly rate.  I remember when it cost 25 cents a minute for Mom to call her mother in 1968 long distance charges to Ma Bell when our house was only $90 per month rent.  That would be like paying $5 per minute now just to have a voice conversation with someone in the next state over. 

The best part is that while I can imagine a few obvious benefits to space technology to come it is the stuff I can't yet imagine that is so exciting.  I think most people deem space simply too expensive to pursue, and it is NOW, but with private for profit entrepreneurs taking over costs will come way down.  Timelines for this might be long, but the potentials are so large it will be done.  Our survival depends on it, the carrying capacity of the mother earth means we either voluntarily cut population to about one billion or we find resources outside our home. 

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 10:38 | 2373340 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

No sooner posted then I see this private plan to mine asteroids at the London Telegraph:

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 10:36 | 2373140 Badabing
Badabing's picture

  We my friends, are under attack!

Slowly but surely we are being converted to a third world status.

  As countries like North Korea and India develop ICBMs that can put anything they want onto orbit we are being industrially raped. Over the years a lot of technology came out of the space program that has benefitted our economy.

  This argument about a bridge to nowhere is irrelevant, regardless some one made money or it would not have been built. Many times on ZH people have stated you can dig a hole and someone can fill it to create jobs, isn’t that what man does out side of being hunter gathers? History is full of impressively large endeavors, from the pyramids to the Great Wall of China. Landing on the moon was up there with these unbelievable achievements. It gave America unity and pride something we have very little of these days! So go ahead, side up with this dick Miller, but don’t forget profit isn’t everything, look at Goldman or the Morg these fucks are pure profit with no physical product!

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 11:43 | 2373572 Paul451
Paul451's picture

Sorry, I'm with Krauthhammer on this one, but on one and only one condition...

When we had a much more free Free Market and wages were rising and houses were affordable for the middle class, and there was REAL industrial manufacturing, and our money still said SILVER CERTIFICATE we could afford ONE luxury (and it IS a luxury and NOT a necessity) that pushes us forward and achieves great things...and makes the rest of the world respect and envy us. This one is NOT about money; it's about things that transcend money. Things that are very important, but you cant put a price tag on. So, IMHO, it's the ONE extravagance that's worth it in unmeasureable ways when things are going smoothly.

However, NOW that things are FUBAR, AFAIC it should get kicked to the frikkin' curb in a NY second along with all the other useless government bullshit that is NEVER justified under ANY circumstances.



Wed, 04/25/2012 - 11:56 | 2373634 Badabing
Badabing's picture

A well thought out rebuttal, but we do agree on the important things.

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 13:03 | 2373944 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

That is like saying the best time to buy gold is when it goes up to 3000.  The best time to buy anything is when shit is falling apart.  Anyway, confined to the Earth using only it's limited and politically and capital expensive and scarce resources we will have ceased to exist by the time we hit 8 billion mouths to fee and maybe well before that. 

And I will repeat LOUDLY so you get it this time, our space program has already paid for itself many times over with knock on technologies and scientific advancements that just could not have happened without our reach into space, it was not a swirl of cash around the toilet bowl, it was an investment that has paid of handsomely and as an investment it will only get better. 


Thu, 04/26/2012 - 21:02 | 2378837 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

Eureka, once again someone at ZeroHedge leads the pack in common sense. And once again it's the Tylers!!!

Thank you, best thing I've read for weeks.

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