I use the “s” word because the “f” word seems to really upset people, even though it’s more accurate. It’s a shame that Hitler gave it such a bad name.
Anyway, Jeff Foust has an article today on the irrational antipathy of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to private enterprise. Well, OK, it’s not all irrational. Some of it just typical rent seeking. Congressman Culberson comes off as particularly foolish, and not just for his Marine analogy:
“If the private sector exclusively owns access to space, who owns the technology? They’d have the right to sell it to any nation on the face of the Earth?” (Not easily, thanks to the export control regime that covers space technology in the US today.)
“Imagine if America had to hitch a ride on a commercial vehicle,” he continued. “If the private sector and the Chinese and Russians control access to space, they could charge us whatever they want.”
Yes. Whatever they want. As long as the price wasn’t higher than their competitors.
Why does this so-called fiscal conservative either not understand, or not believe in, how markets work?
You know who really charges “whatever they want”? A monopoly cost-plus contractor for NASA. Which is why Ares I has already cost about twenty times as much as Falcon 9, for similar capability (if it’s ever completed), with first flight for the former still years away, versus weeks away for the latter.