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Space Policy Advice to the Obama Transition Team

Categories: Humor
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Block grants.

It's time for the Federal Government to pass the baton. California's current GDP is approaching the GDP of the US in 1958 of a bit more than $2 trillion in current dollars. All NASA money should be distributed to States according to Congress's favorite formula for use "To provide for research into problems of flight within and outside the [E]arth's atmosphere, and for other purposes." The States would then have a chance to further freedom as a laboratory of aeronautics and space policy just as they have been a laboratory of democracy.

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Karl Hallowell wrote:

I give up. Why is this sectioned as "humor"?

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Because it's never going to happen?

Mark R. Whittington wrote:

"I give up. Why is this sectioned as "humor"?"

Because Rand is making a joke. Though I have seen crazier proposals actually advanced seriously.

Jim Bennett wrote:

Pretty funny, actually. Give a politician a block grant for:

1. To provide for research into problems of flight within and outside the [E]arth's atmosphere, or

2. other purposes.

and see whether purpose (1) gets as much as 1% of the block grant. Permitting "Other purposes" is like putting the dog treat on the dog's nose and seeing how long he sits there.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Mark Whittington it's Sam not Rand.

Sam Dinkin wrote:

see whether purpose (1) gets as much as 1% The quote is from the original NASA authorization act of 1958 which begs another question: how much is going toward space development of anything other than the status quo of a space population of 3 people with highlights recapped every 50 years? Maybe the SpaceX COTS money, but maybe we'll just end up with another EELV competitor that gets coopted. I like to believe Elon Musk will have the resolve to settle Mars despite incentives to the contrary, but he doesn't have a lot of resources to work with. That certainly appears to be one of the things we can infer from him spending more time at Tesla: unless he has another big hit product, he will probably need financial help to settle Mars.

The subtext of the joke is that NASA has become a welfare program. So it can be farmed out to the states as a jobs program like Gingrich championed and achieved for welfare. It would be funny to hear space states advocates in Congress defending the current system as being better then giving the money directly to their states. As Mark pointed out it's also funny because it won't be adopted. But jokes are not funny if they are too unbelievable.

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