Budgets, Finance, and Reality.
NASA served a very clear purpose, full of headwinds, ideas, new scientists, old scientists, opportunity, and a future that was bright. What once was, is no more. NASA has seen more repeat failures than any Apollo launch just in recent years.
One would think that a vast agency, powerful and rich, with gobs of scientists dedicated to common causes could do better. In reality, it should. Space-X proved that a smaller leaner company can do better, faster, with less money. China and Europe are proving that NASA is not a model they'll follow closely.
All around the world, there is major competition to NASA. The ISS routinely uses Soviet, now Russian, technology to maintain orbit and safety. These are critical missions that the shuttle can't even perform, and no vessel owned or imagined by NASA is set to perform.
NASA is the past. A proud, rosy, amazing, and retiring past.
It's time to put this bull to pasture. NASA is now bloated, politics-laden, inefficient, and lately, risky.
America simply doesn't have what it takes for government to do what it once did so well in the 1960s. The fattened calf is not the way to run a space agency. NASA should be reduced to an FAA sort of status, monitoring space and providing services to competing nations, corporations, and doing what it does best. Waste money. Uh, I meant ... well, no that's what I meant. It just doesn't sound great to read it back out loud. Unfortunately, it's too true.
Many government departments are bloated and ineffective, with their primary goals being legislation, control, and keeping a fat federal workforce in place. Census is unquestionably replaceable, by something as basic as a website with a ticketing system tied into the IRS. Reward people on their taxes for filing the Census and watch all need of hand-counting vanish. What about the homeless? They get services don't they? Most of them have SSNs. In truth, only illegal aliens need to be counted, as everyone else is in one system or another in American computers.
The Census brass joked with me about how it's a good thing most Americans don't know that we can get 150% of what the Census asks for from the Credit Agencies: TRW, Experian, and Equifax.
We gotta support these billion dollar departments, for some reason, though I'm not really sure to what purpose. NASA is another such department.
We have a choice to make, America. Either stop fighting wars all over the globe, or stop paying for wasteful bloated departments of the US Government.
America can't do both and remain solvent. Debt or overspending is what's killing America, not Bin Laden.
NASA budget: 5 billion a year.
US Census budget: 7.4 Billion, 2010
US Navy ONLY: 160 Billion
Marines: 35 Billion
Army: 215 Billion
Air Force: 170 Billion
CIA: ~50 Billion
* CIA stats are always rounded, never precise. This is the gross "Black Ops" budget authorized. More is known to be released as-needed. CIA is never without funds.
Now, for comparison:
Here's all the money you "lazy b*st*rds" on Welfare get. This is national, not just DSHS spending:
Families: 95 Billion
Housing: 58 Billion
Unemployment: 160 Billion
Pensions: 756 Billion
Healthcare: 820 Billion
Defense Total (Most above): 847 Billion
Housing, Welfare, and Unemployment combined (313 Billion) don't even come close to Defense, Retirement, and Health costs. So why are the GOP so eager to gut SMALL programs? To deflect attention from the TRILLION dollar war machine, and the Baby Boomer subsidy of 1.8 Trillion!
Here comes the scary part.
Miscellaneous Government Expenses: 190 Billion
Interest: 196 Billion
Deficit: 1296 Billion. That's 1.2 Trillion, folks.
And, the winner is...
Gross Public Debt: 13.5 TRILLION dollars.
Want to save money? Cut the debt down and the deficit. There's Trillions in cuts available. Want to spend less? There are hundreds of Billions throughout all branches of government to be cut. NASA and Census are "chump change" compared to HEALTH and DEFENSE.
Still, cost savings isn't the only reason to kill NASA or reduce it to a licensing agency like the FAA. NASA really is wasteful, and horridly so. But, the military also blows a lot of cash. The Acts of Congress to go wage wars in forty theaters around the globe every decade is eating us alive. There's NO END of places to look for cutting waste when it comes to the USA.