I didn’t actually talk to Alan about it, but I just see it as politics; they view it as the danegeld they have to pay to keep the SLS vandals (to mix historical metaphors) from attacking commercial space and public/private partnerships in the new administration. This is the key passage, if you read between the lines:
Stern said he was not worried about endorsing a vehicle that could compete with those commercial alternatives. “The market will sort that out,” he said.
Emphasis mine. I’m not saying that Keith is wrong. Alan may not have “taken the issue off the table,” but I see no big harm in trying right now, with all the policy ferment. There will be plenty of other people (including Yours Truly) making the case against it.
Mme Le Pen is offering more of the medicine that sickened the patient. Protectionism and welfarism are the causes of France’s troubles. The French budget has not been in balance since 1974. In order to defend the privileges of state employees, successive governments have allowed the country as a whole to become less competitive, more strike-prone, more sclerotic and poorer.
It’s the same story every time. Protectionism inflicts the greatest harm on the least well off – who are often, paradoxically, its supporters. The Corn Laws were a massive wealth transfer from the poor to the rich. The Smoot-Hawley tariffs brought misery to America’s workers. Today’s anti-market agitators – the Trumps and the Tsiprases as much as the Le Pens – will find the same thing.