Monday, January 24, 2011

Smart Is On The Horizon

It looks like The Tea Party has figured out (and perhaps soon Republicans in Congress as well) the patently obvious fact that in order to reduce the budget deficit, cuts in military spending will ultimately be necessary.
Back home, tea partiers clamoring for the debt-ridden government to slash spending say nothing should be off limits. Tea party-backed lawmakers echo that argument, and they're not exempting the military's multibillion-dollar budget in a time of war.

"The widely held sentiment among Tea Party Patriot members is that every item in the budget, including military spending and foreign aid, must be on the table," said Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. "It is time to get serious about preserving the country for our posterity. The mentality that certain programs are 'off the table' must be taken off the table."
It's a start.


Anonymous said...

foreign aid to countries must stop,especially Israel.let them protect themselves,they are more than capable.Also,stop funding the space program,let richard branson do the work.Keep the tax-payer $$$ on earth,for earthlings that are U.S. citizens.Who cares if there is life elsewhere?Let them come to us!No foreign aid,and cut the space program 90%,it would go a long way towards shoring up an out-of-control deficit our children are going to hate us for leaving them with.Take care of Americans first!

Tom N said...

In order to reduce the budget deficit, cuts in everything will ultimately be necessary.

Jungle Jil said...


I agree with you, but you have to keep things in perspective: The budget for NASA is 17 billion dollars; the budget for the military (including veterans affairs) is over 1,000 billion dollars.

When you consider the amount of scientific study that comes out of NASA, the national benefits that come out of NASA... it's worth keeping around. When you consider that space-based industry and technology is going to be a major money-maker in the future and you don't want to lose the edge America has in satellite technology to England (Branson) or China... it's worth keeping around.

Out of all the things I wouldn't cut in the U.S. budget, the two things I would put at the very top of the list are education and investment in the sciences. Everything else: Yes, chop chop away. Those are the two things that have made America strong in the past and will continue to provide benefit in the future.

Anonymous said...

Humans must live on earth and aren't going anywhere.throw out the space program or let someone else do it.

Jungle Jil said...

That's just dumb, to think that NASA is an agency whose primary focus is on interplanetary exploration and/or transportation.

Besides, do you know how much it cost to do the Mars Rover mission? About $800 million. Do you know how much it cost to develop the F22 Raptor? $65,000 million. Add to that the individual cost of each airplane at $150 million, and the 120 F22s that have been built, and you have a unit cost of about $700 million.

In other words, NASA can create a spacecraft to go all the way to Mars for about the same as it costs the military to build a single fighter jet.

It costs the American military almost $600 million per day to operate just in Afghanistan.

Are you even beginning to get a grasp of the comparative numbers yet there Anon? Or is this not sinking in for you?

And finally this: The budget deficit is about 700 billion... NASA budget is 17 billion. In other words, doing away with NASA )(and the benefits it providers) would reduce the budget deficit by 2.5%. Pulling the military out of Afghanistan alone would reduce the budget deficit by 30%.

Anonymous said...

I am not for the War,why do you think I am?I said cut the useles elephant called NASA(whose research benefits who?),not start a war.what is w/the insults dude?So what,they send a ship to mars inexpensively,so what?keep the $$$ gravity research can be done right here.china gets a leg up,so what?we spy on them for a change,get it?
do you even know why the military is in afghanistan?or do you believe it is to further democracy?sure...
you quote figures from where?and why do you believe them?I bet you even believe A.I.G. lost 85 billion in three months!quote all the figures you want dude,if you believe them,good for you.I DO NOT.I ainna here to argue w/you,or be insulted.

Jungle Jil said...

"What good does NASA do?"

Many people say that the Space Program should be "privatized" - nothing could be more ridiculous, since NASA Centers and missions are staffed and operated by private contractors. Doing it as a private enterprise is both costly, risky, and foolish - NASA funded programs allow private companies to benefit from taxpayer money (via NASA licensed patents) to develop technology that can benefit their business, and the public benefits from consumer devices as well as the boost to the economy. Everyone wins. If it was done solely as a private enterprise, only the companies involved would benefit.

NASA has issued over 6,300 patents in its history, about 1 in a 1,000 of all patents issued by the U.S. Patent Office since its creation in 1790. Some examples of direct spinoff technology from NASA programs are:

1. Lithium Ion Batteries
2. Solid State Drives / Flash Drives
3. Medical Scanning Technology
4. Charge-Coupled Devices (CCD's)
5. Scratch-Resistant / UV Lenses
6. Computer Microprocessors / Software
7. Tempurpedic Mattresses/Pillows
8. Composite Materials
9. Microlasers
10. Infrared Technology

NASA is also responsible for Research and Development of military aerospace programs, and much technology developed from those programs finds its way into various forms of public use.

In addition to the basic technological benefits to society, products derived from the Space Program are generally smaller and more rugged, since weight and durability are paramount when designing and developing systems for use in Earth orbital environments (cold and hot), and the extreme cold of deep space.

The list goes on - there are literally thousands of technology spinoffs that are improving the lives of the average person, though few realize that it comes from NASA sponsored technology. The old saying that "Necessity is the Mother of all Invention" holds true in this case - without the desire for exploring the unknown, we would have no reason to develop technologies to further help us find answers, and as a result would be stagnant as far as technology goes.

Anonymous said...

impressive list,what makes you think any of it is true?where were they all made?outer-space?NASA says something needs to be researched,so lets fund it?the patent office factiod,where did ya get that one?they need to justify there jobs,like cops and almost everyone else in he civil svc. will do just fine,right here on earth.NASA is not necessary to feed starving children.for all they discover lots of americans go hungry,get it?Or is it not sinking in?in this time of cruel economic hardships,NASA has to go,so does the war.American citizens are starving in the streets.What is NASA,or the military, going to do about that?
Seriously,Do you know why the US military is in afghanistan?well,do ya?stagnant technological research if we do not explore the cosmos?is that what the last sentence means?everything man needs,it has,right here on earth.what environs it needs can be simulated.ground the space shuttle till we get people fed.

Jungle Jil said...

Your engaging in a rather pitiful straw man argument.

First your argument was that NASA was of no benefit to anyone. I demonstrated how that statement was wrong. Attempting to cast doubt on the source is the tactical approach of somebody who would rather not admit the point was made. Furthermore, moving the goal post from "NASA doesn't benefit anybody" to "NASA doesn't feed starving children" further demonstrates the weakness of your argument, and your attempts to grasp at straws to support your position.

Obama strongly made the point in his State Of The Union speech tonight that I made myself just yesterday and make again here: Funding of education and science are the two most important things America needs right now in order to retain its position as a world leader in technology and industry. Voluntarily surrendering that edge to China or Russia or India when they are already catching up shockingly fast is a sure-fire way to turn America into the next Italy. And yes, that funding includes the earth and environmental sciences, particle physics, string theory, and other scientific frontiers on which NASA is at the leading edge.

Anonymous said...

pitiful argument your ASS.people need jobs not weakness there at all,just because you believe your statements they do not demonstrate a thing to me,other than what a jackass you are for believing them. where are your sources?and why do you believe them?(We all need temperpdic pillows huh,jil?).Because I do not pull 'facts' out of my ass and act as if they are true,like you do,makes my argument weak,does it?or proves yours?Your assinine statement about surrendering an edge to russia or china says exactly what a jackass you are.the govts. are all acting in concert with the cortporations to find cheap labor,which china provides and kills anyone who dares utter the word 'union'.U.S. citizens are being screwed out of all that is rightfully theirs and you sit there like a jackass and act as if china,russia and the U.S. are at odds.the U.S.,Japan are in bed with china(so is everybody else!),or maybe you believe the BS story about how outraged japan is about the sea captain being taken prisoner by china.SURE right,that is why all the japanese corps.manufacture in china(and all the other ones too!). politics are a smoke screen for what is going on.when you realize that there is one boss,one govt. and all else is a show,you will also realize that republicans and democrats are the same thing:lying,thieving weasels.Americans need jobs that aren't coming back.Politics are away to make people like you think you are intelligent and only prove that you are a gullable jackass that believes what the media tells make me laugh,wake-up pal. if you didnt make me laugh so hard I would ask you what university you graduated from.but you probably didn't.another jack of all trades you sound like to me.

Jungle Jil said...

Heheh. You sure are unable to stand up for yourself.

First I slap down your argument with facts and figures from government budgets and you try to act all wounded by saying how you "ain't going to argue or be insulted."

Then I slap down your argument some more with articles refuting your point and you try to pretend that I can't prove what I'm saying is true, engage in straw man arguments, and try to change the rules of your own argument.

Then I slap down your argument a third time by pointing out the weakness of your response, and you start throwing the childish insults you claimed you weren't going to listen to. Then again you again make the loser's blanket assertion that my entire argument is unproveable, and then try to prove your point with the weak-minded and actually unproveable worldwide conspiracy theories, economic hyperbole, and suppositional governmental collusions.

This is the fourth time I've proven your argument is rubbish. You've done nothing but repeat the same argument 4 times, and done nothing but get more whiny and petulant with each passing round while I'm still engaging in facts and reasoned debate. You've gotten your ass kicked on the subject and looked like an empty-minded doofus in the process who is an unthinking victim of some right-wing propaganda machine.

I declare the subject settled, and the goal of this blog (to get highly-opinionated commenters so sputteringly angry that they lose their cool and resort to the low-brow insults, misspelled rambling inanities, and schoolyard taunts that are the hallmark of the factually weak and mentally vacant) accomplished.

Thank you for playing.

Anonymous said...

keep laughin jackass,you and your political discussions over cocktails(btw,that is so 70's,just like your thinking)are as useless as anything you think or say.everything that is going on in the world today is happening according to a plan that was hatched AT LEAST 25 yrs.ago..I am not playing with you I am laughing at you.and so are the people who 'run things' because you actually believe the shit that comes out of their mouths.
I ASK YOU:'WHAT IS THE U.S. MILITARY DOING IN AFGHANISTAN?".yOU HAVE NO ANSWER,COZ YOU REALLY DO NOT KNOW,DO YOU?Your demonstrated intelligence is anything but intelligent.You probably think that your vote matters as well.nothing you say or do matters or is going to change what is going on in the USA.No matter what fuel is made to propel automobiles doesn't matter,none of the accompanying technology(or vehichles) will be manufactured in The USA ,by US workers.W/out manufacturing jobs in the states the economy is doomed,so it really doesn't matter what part of the budget gets cut(I still say NASA has to go!)the treasury is printing value-shrinking Dollars.once the USA gov't cant borrow to service the national debt the USA,which is not too big to fail,will default on its obligations and then the fall will be complete,done,finito just as planned.and all your 'fact' finding and thinking you know what is going on will be even more useless than it is now.Ask yourself Mr.Jack,how does a country like Ireland lose 850 billion dollars when it only has 4 million people in it?you apparently need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,and for that you are a jackass.
I would feel sorry for you,just like I feel sorry for most of the decent hardworking people in the USA who have been screwed out of a way of life that many people fought and died for,but,your intelectual ignorance and arrogance is really masquerade as some sort of "AMERICAN" nationalist that cares about the US and its way of life while you simultaneously help to outsource jobs from the USA to the third world.YOU SIR,are a hypocrit as well.You are being laughed at!

Jungle Jil said...

Heheh. Got your ass kicked on one subject, so now you change the discussion completely from NASA to other tinfoil hat subjects.

Sorry. Too late. You lose. Never had a chance actually.

And, just to goad you because I'm interested to see how much of your time and stomach lining you'll waste on this: Everything you wrote is false. You can't prove any of it. You're just making stuff up. Stop wasting your time posting fantasy assertions that are tormenting your imagination.

There... monkey cage has been rattled... and 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

Anonymous said...

I took a kwik look at your last comment,you torment me?
stick to the bush leagues and blogging,afore you get thumped,FOR REAL!
you kicked no ones ass,and surely not mine.
you quote things that you pick out of thin air and others may believe what you say,maybe even call you a philosopher,but I know you are a long winded jackass who has to go to the third world to find a G/F who wouldn't jump out the window when you take your clothes off!!
got sick of walkin into whore houses in NYC w/a fistful of 20's and having all the girls puke,huh?
Rattle the cage on me jackass?not a chance,you are a long-winded, jack-ass and always will be.
btw,think your bad?

Jungle Jil said...

See how easy it is everybody?

Isn't it funny how you can have this power over a person just by writing on the internet? It's like a little leash of electrons around this person's neck.

Watch this:

See Anonymous? Your argument was so weak that now you're not even trying to discuss the topic you started anymore. You're just throwing insults because you've been so totally embarrased by how badly you did arguing for the dissolution of NASA.

Wow. When this debate originally started, I thought it was just your argument that was dumb. But look at you now: Nothing but monkey-minded insults and chimpanzee-esque threats of violence.

Okay pet: Fling poo in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

don b said...

jil i believe the problem isn't any one program, or avenue of spending. it's simple efficiency. we have lost our way in spending efficiently. people say, "well the raptor/expeditionary fighting vehicle/ad nauseum" put people to work. yes they do. but it's not "efficient" by ANY measure.

your example of the space program which is highly "efficient" even though sometimes it seems not. if properly managed it can be a big win. but alas even it was mismanaged. the shuttle was a dogshit idea put forth 'cause it was sexy whizbang. the russians focused on highly efficient simple, non sexy heavy lift vehicles. they spent a fraction of what we did on the shuttle and now they are taking our astronauts to space because we can't afford to. if we had taken their approach (which was actually a rejected nasa idea) we'd probably be lifting herculean payloads into space for pennies on the dollar by now.

and efficiency is highly complicated. societal, political, monetary need to be considered. and our current system will simply never suffice. we just can't make decisions efficiently. i could go on and on. suffice it to say that if more decisions and policy were made by thoughtful economists, engineers, accountants, and humitarians, we'd be ruling the world again.

instead our decisions are make by fools like crybaby boehner who cried about building a second engine for the stupid JSF, a plane we don't even need. he cried and cried until he got what he wanted which is an engine that even the military doesn't want. it's a small example multiplied thousands of times over each and every day. and the dems are just as at fault. we are hosed until we get countrywide term limits on every elected office and a viable third party. until then you can all sit around and moan all you want. there will be no meaningful change.

Jungle Jil said...

Now that is something I can agree with fully, Don. Inefficiency in government is really the primary problem... not the actual allocation (on a percentage basis... not a dollar basis) of funds.

One (comparatively unimportant but still necessary) function of the government is to push the country forward technologically, anthropologically, and economically. NASA does that: it's like the NEA for physicists, astronomers, and forward-looking companies. The space shuttle was never the best way to get stuff into space, but it was the best way to get private companies to come up with solutions to problems that did not yet exist... yet required solutions in order (again) to push the country forward.

No private company would have ever built the space shuttle without pari passu benefitting from the otherwise-unprofitable nature of the endeavor. The way NASA operates is quite similar to New York City's formation of the New York Bridge Company in order to get private companies to complete the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge a century before: They enticed private enterprise to engage in an act of public benefit that would otherwise be unprofitable, and (most importantly) at a cost much less than the development of those acts if the government had accomplished or undertook those efforts itself. Other examples include The Concorde and The Acela Train: moving forward is not always the most profitable direction, but such movement is imperative lest a country fall behind — to perhaps forever lose its place at the van of development as universities, braintrusts, and companies look overseas for their inducements.

I'll be the first to admit that federal deficit and budget constraints have to and will fall across a vast span of government services, including NASA. However, disbanding NASA entirely is the abrogation of that government obligation to keep the country moving forward as mentioned above, even when—or especially when—American private enterprise might choose to do otherwise. As I said earlier, the $17 billion that NASA spends to advance scientific and technological frontiers yields a much better return on investment than the $65 billion spent developing the F22. Both yielded technological advances, both employed the greatest American minds, both made America better; but the ultimate pound-for-pound benefit clearly goes to NASA. Thus should measurments in science budgetary considerations be made... and not emotional and hot-headed anti-science/anti-government sentiment per the obsecrations of the less-sophisticated people in this discussion.

don b said...

so are you with me on my across the board term limits (of which i'll let smart minds figure out what is efficient for each office) and a viable third party?

and yea nasa is always a good bet if managed right. but we can't even do that. the shuttle sadly was ill conceived whiz bang. getting to space and back isn't the project, it's what you do when you are there. and we can't even get there anymore on our own.

we don't even have a good heavy lift rocket anymore cause we frittered away so much time and money on the silly shuttle. dish network had to have the kazaks launch their latest satellite into space because it was too heavy for our stuff.

i think i read that the defense dept is even looking into the ruskies for a defense satellite. wtf?

the shuttle is like alot of our stupid weapons programs. very exotic and very incapable of being maintained. our b-2's while being a great plane are just simply unflyable in everyday use. they are cool to look at but when you need something done you call in the 50 year old planes like the b52, f15, a10, etc.

simple, cheap, efficient. it's something we don't do well anymore. and we're starting to pay dearly for it. i blame our political system entirely and it needs to be shaken up from the core. john boehner and his silly friends on both sides of the aisle need to be crying in their term limited milk!

jungle jil for congress, that's what i want. (for a max 12 years or so, lol)

Jungle Jil said...

I really have no opinion regarding term limits. I never thought about it... though I could see the benefit, for certain.

I didn't realize that NASA didn't have its own heavy lift rocket... some program coordinated with the military to get their satellites up. That was a bit of a dumb oversight. No plans to develop something on those lines? Yet another reason to keep NASA around: Not a good idea to have our spy satellites and military hardware launched into orbit on Chinese or Russian rockets.

It's true that the America government spends a lot of money on research that benefits far more people than it should... the entire world for instance; and a lot of money on studying unnecessary stuff as well. Things can get out of balance.

But take a look at Lawrence Livermore: Imagine if their fusion ignition system works this year? There is an assload of government research money that I doubt anybody would say was poorly spent. But those are just the kind of programs that some people would consider cutting.

And no: I wouldn't run for political office. I don't have the political or diplomatic demeanor for such a thing.

Jungle Jil said...

By the way: Uber-libertarian, ultra-small-government enthusiast Rand Paul came out with his own idea for budget-balancing spending cuts, and while he is calling for cuts of 100% of the Energy Department, HUD, international assistance, and additional massive 80% cuts to things like education, department of the interior, department of state, general services, and even the national science foundation... even HE will only cut NASA 25%.

So at least we don't have to worry about short-sighted weenies like Anon above actually getting enough of a voice in government to shut down NASA when even the strictest government cutter wouldn't consider it.

And no: I wouldn't agree with his cuts to education either.

phalanx said...

yeah i agree with your livermore comment 110%, but would add it's actually a case where special interests are again interfering with good policy. we should be pouring well managed money into programs like theirs. i truly believe that fusion is the answer and it's achievable. but instead we spend all kinds of money on dogshit programs that have little or no real chance of ever really helping us. we are so ingrained into the fossil fuels industry it's comical. they simply run our energy policy which is ludicrous at best, and a criminal conspiracy at worst.

oh yeah and my third plank is severe limits on corporate, union and other special interest money in elections. people should support candidates not entities! it makes for good policy decisions.