Comments for Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Rob (209 comments)

"How does one justify the spending of so much money on a program which is experimental at best when other programs are hurting for money within the borders of our own country?"

I know this is a rhetorical question. But if I'm to answer it properly, I need some specifics:


  1. What programs are hurting? (And how do you know?)
  2. Should we be considering the massive amount of government money that has been funding experimental science in other fields (physics, chemistry, etc.) for many years? Should we cut that too?
  3. What happens to the economy when you redistribute funds away from scientific, technological, and product development research ventures?
  4. Why is any of this (the visionary astronautical pursuits or the "hurting programs") the governments responsibility to maintain?


From the TV news it certainly looks like a war against terrorists now. I'd rather focus my attention on making the right decisions in Iraq now than on what we were doing wrong a year ago.

George W. was talking with his dad. George senior says, "I think I'm going to tell everyone that we've always had it in for Iraq." And George W. says, "Don't let the cat out of the Baghdad!"

Chompy the Ghost (920 comments)
Here are some hurting programs:
a) Social Security
Where as at its inception it was paid at the rate of 40-1 workers per recipient; within the next 30 years it will be 2-1.

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10055.html#future
http://www.conginst.org/socialsecurity/ISSUES/IVpage4.html

b) National Endowment of the Arts - Although Laura Bush persuaded her hubby to sponsor this and it is DEFINITELY a step in the right direction, it's still about 10% of it's budget in the late 1980s and was almost completely disbanded two years ago.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/7866545.htm

c) How about the future scientists, astronauts and smarties? Education? There are too many sites to list all the problems regarding the funding of education in our country.

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/ny-bc-ct-xgr--education0203feb03,0,3250520.story?coll=ny-ap-regional-wire
http://www.educationminnesota.org/index.cfm?PAGE_ID=7768
http://www.optimalprime.org/archives/001021.html



If we wanted to cut some $$$ for something completely worthless yet immensly popular: the DARE program, which has been completely ineffective.

http://www.mapinc.org/letters/2001/12/lte16.html

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We can get some money back by cutting the truly useless programs, such as the DARE program which has proved completely ineffective.

http://www.mapinc.org/letters/2001/12/lte16.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/01/nyregion/01LONG.html

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Personally, I like the idea of us venturing in outer space. Eventually, were going to be out further into the galaxies and it has to start somewhere. I'd at least like to see a little sumpin-sumpin in my lifetime.
I don't think Brian was trying to say that cutting money that supports technology was a good idea. There are many different types of technology and there is no shortage of stem cells that need some poking and prodding.
The government has to provide something for us. That's their job. That's why we pay taxes and elect officials--for us. When I was in South America I saw first-hand what happens when a country's goverment only does the bare minimum and, thank god, we do not have to live in that environment.

Finally, that joke is now going to be my lesson plan tomorrow.
BU (1518 comments)
Let me throw in my two cents tomorrow, when I'm not working a 13 hr day, and have time to invent some strong and/or funny facts.
Rob (209 comments)
In the richest nation in the world, the government is not obligated to provide as much. No matter how much government money we throw at public schools, the private institutions will still provide a better education. (I am a graduate of a public high school and a private college.)

Too bad we haven't even figured out how to shield interplanetary astronauts from gamma and cosmic radiation yet. Until that issue is resolved were throwing money into a black hole. (The jokes just get worse and worse.)
BU (1518 comments)
1) What programs are hurting? (And how do you know?)

Besides the usuals, every single social and educational program could use a boost that would be immediately useful, as opposed to a space program which everyday folks will not be affected by. Even things like infrastructure -- think how much you could reduce pollution or traffic just by shifting money away from the experimental space stuff. A country with a better infrastructure becomes cleaner, more efficient, and more productive, which would improve our economy in turn.

2) Should we be considering the massive amount of government money that has been funding experimental science in other fields (physics, chemistry, etc.) for many years? Should we cut that too?

As Japan showed, research is a good thing. Without some experimental research there would be no innovation. However, this program is whimsical. It sets a tangible goal in a field where we have at least the general idea that meeting the goal will not be cheap. The mere fact that there is a short-term goal that might be impossible makes this a higher risk than other fields (like medicinal research). If Bayer doesn't cures cancer by 2005, they aren't going to feel compelled to become a monetary black hole just to meet a prime directive of the President. We shouldn't kill ALL experimental research, but I don't think were ready for space travel yet. At least, send it off to private commercial ventures -- the end result would probably be higher quality anyhow.

4) Why is any of this (the visionary astronautical pursuits or the "hurting programs") the governments responsibility to maintain?

It's not, but the fact that the people of the country are taxed gives them a vested interest in where the surplus money goes after the bills are paid. I for one would rather spend money on our people in an isolationist manner, or aid developing countries, than charge cowboy into hostile countries or deep space.
Rob (209 comments)
You are absolutely right that taxing people gives them a vested interest in where their money goes. According to classical economists, currently the U.S. government is overtaxing people. As wildly unpopular Laffer is nowadays, a notable case study for his theory is the recovery of the British economy when Margaret Thatcher slashed tax rates.

http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/dodson_revivingcities.html
http://www.bized.ac.uk/virtual/economy/library/glossary/glossaryqz.htm#supside

Allow me to make my point by combining two statements you made (in a way you would not have combined them):

"A country with a better infrastructure becomes cleaner, more efficient, and more productive, which would improve our economy in turn. ... At least, send it off to private commercial ventures -- the end result would probably be higher quality anyhow."

(This, of course, is too simplistic.)

Thanks for using the word "cowboy" as an adverb.
BU (1518 comments)
Then let's cut taxes for the working class and poor students, leave the middle class alone, and tax rich people until they're middle class again.
BU (1518 comments)
(The above is a frivolous statement.)
Rob (209 comments)
Just to drive the frivolity home, a famous person once said, "The poor man never gave anyone a job."


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