Sunday, June 10, 2007

Our national white elephant

A couple years ago, I calculated that since the Columbia disaster each shuttle launch has cost me around $150. It must be even higher now that the shuttle has launched so rarely.

And now they've been up there for 2 days and most of their time so far has been spent checking the shuttle for damage. If you look at the interactive timeline, it looks like 4 days will be dedicated to making sure the Shuttle is ok to land.

If you had to rent a car, would you pay $150 if you had to check it out for two days of a weeklong rental to make sure it's ok? So why pay that $150 for each shuttle launch when obviously NASA has so little confidence that they have to spend 1/3 of their time inspecting the vehicle?

It's time to mothball the shuttle. But that's only half of this post. The other half is comparing government spending versus business.

  • In Business: a project that can't continue to prove its worth will be canceled.

  • In Government: a project that is proven to be worthless will be canceled.

Do you see the difference between those two statements? In government, once you've authorized spending the money, it's almost impossible to stop. Look at Social Security. Most people agree something needs to be reorganized about it. But the money pipeline cannot be stopped... and nothing will be done.

That's why I just don't buy it when politicians say they want to make the government smaller. It's almost impossible. Bush is supposed to be of the "smaller government" party, right? This year's budget is almost $3 trillion. Remember that for the next election when the next guy tells you he's going to make the government smaller.

Somehow I just don't think that this out of control spending by the Federal government is what the founding fathers had in mind. Didn't they start this country to escape needless taxes?

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