Over at National Review, Jeffrey Anderson (of whom I’d never before heard) is bewailing the new space policy, saying that Barack Obama is “no JFK.”
It’s been ten more years of going nowhere since Krauthammer wrote these words. Obama now proposes another ten to come.
As Krauthammer has rightly noted elsewhere, the most dangerous part of space exploration is leaving and entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The most interesting and exciting part is getting as far away as possible. So, what does President Obama propose? That we stay close to home.
That is simply untrue, at least if we are to believe rumors about Monday’s announcement. Saying that we don’t have a specific policy to go back to the moon on a specific date is not equivalent to “staying close to home.”
Sadly, many people continue to equate whatever NASA’s plans are with progress in space, and if they’re changed, or not fully funded, the assumption is that we are abandoning human spaceflight. But in fact, we’ve made little progress over the past few decades with NASA’s plans, and were going nowhere fast with the Program of Record that is mercifully, for both taxpayers and space (as opposed to NASA center) enthusiasts, about to be euthanized. Space policy is one of the few areas in which the administration seems to be getting it right, and it’s both ironic and sad that people who fancy themselves defenders of small government are also defenders of a bloated, expensive, and ineffective government program, for no other reasons than nostalgia for a Cold-War victory and a dead Democrat president.
[Update a few minutes later]
Furthermore, at a time when the president claims his focus is on jobs, scrapping these programs — on which we’ve already spent nearly $10 billion — would cut public spending in one area that actually creates jobs.
Of course it creates “jobs” when the government pours money into a make-work project. The question is, does it create or destroy wealth? Again, he’s making an argument that I’ll bet he’d deride as economically bogus if it were about hiking trails, or high-speed rail. And how many jobs are destroyed because the money being spent on NASA isn’t being applied to something more productive and desirable (particularly on productive and desirable things in space)?
[Late afternoon update]
For Instapundit readers, I have a follow-up post on this subject, which I hope will be cross posted at NRO soon, or at least this weekend.
[Monday morning update]
For those who came over here from NRO, I’ve extended and expanded on that Corner post here.