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Congress Dumps James Webb Space Telescope

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-telescope-for-you dept.

NASA 409

Teancum writes "On the list of items on the upcoming federal budget for 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives has announced they are going to cancel the continued development of the James Webb Space Telescope. While this debate is certainly still very much a preliminary draft, the road ahead for this project is now very much uncertain. In this time of budget cuts, it seems unlikely that this project is going to survive at this time. It certainly will be an uphill battle for fans of this telescope if they want to keep it alive."

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409 comments

Science loses again (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36677784)

War and Destruction... untouchable
Knowledge and Progress... Short list for cuts

Not surprised the least

Re:Science loses again (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36677832)

Obama said today in the Twitter Town Hall that he's going to make defense budget cuts over time. There's also plans to reduce troups in Afghanistan. Assuming he follows through, he'll prove you wrong. Here's to hoping you (and a lot of people) are wrong.

Re:Science loses again (3, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677886)

Barack "I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011" Obama?

Re:Science loses again (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678004)

I think he means the Obama who gave .7 trillion to banks and 1 trillion to fix the economy. It's fixed right?

Re:Science loses again (2, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678076)

Considering we went from losing hundreds of thousands of jobs every month under Bush, to adding jobs every month under Obama, I'd say he's done a damn good job fixing the damage. If you were expecting those jobs to magically reappear over night, you're deluded.

Re:Science loses again (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678108)

the jobs that are being made aren't really jobs, they give the bare minimum so the person can live in a trailer park with 20$ to spend a week. That's not a life its just slavery.

Re:Science loses again (0, Troll)

crashumbc (1221174) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678152)

Still better then what Bush did...

Re:Science loses again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678426)

So he can't be criticized? Well, the US treats its people better than China, guess it shouldn't be criticized either by your logic.

Re:Science loses again (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678196)

the jobs that are being made aren't really jobs, they give the bare minimum so the person can live in a trailer park with 20$ to spend a week. That's not a life its just slavery.

Those were also the jobs that were lost. Though if you lost one, you might think of it as somewhat better.

I'm on your side, poor people get screwed by the economy, but were getting screwed worse when the jobs were evaporating in the Great Bush Recession.

Re:Science loses again (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678204)

{citation needed]

Personally, my next position pays 8% more than the previous one that I left.

Just about the ONLY people who are taking a 'step down' like this are the real estate agents who were part of the building of the last bubble in the first place. Did you ever think they were being overpaid in the first place, and now the market has adjusted down to more correctly reflect their skill set?

Re:Science loses again (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678272)

Except for the adding hundreds of thousands of jobs every month has only happened twice, two blocks of three month growth in the spring of '10 and then '11.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf [bls.gov]

"Nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+54,000) in May, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today."

Re:Science loses again (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678526)

Work on your reading comprehension. I said "adding jobs every month". Not "adding hundreds of thousands of jobs every month". Go check out a graph of jobs lost/gained per month. The inflection point occurs pretty much immediately after the passage of the stimulus bill. Considering how much the Dems have done to repair the damage, it really is disgusting how the media is going along with the "stimulus failed" meme. But hey, good news doesn't get ratings.

Re:Science loses again (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678118)

All of which has been paid back, with interest. So, what is your gripe here?

Re:Science loses again (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677840)

It's too bad you posted as AC, because it's true.

And it's funny how the people who cut this will take pride in how our country is on the so-called cutting-edge of technology and science.

We're on the fast track to becoming a banana republic.

--
BMO

Re:Science loses again (5, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678034)

From the appropriations document [house.gov] :

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $16.8 billion in the bill, which is $1.6 billion below last year’s level and $1.9 billion below the President’s request. This funding includes:

        $3.65 billion for Space Exploration which is $152 million below last year. This includes funding above the request for NASA to meet Congressionally mandated program deadlines for the newly authorized crew vehicle and launch system.
        $4.1 billion for Space Operations which is $1.4 billion below last year’s level. The legislation will continue the closeout of the Space Shuttle program for a savings of $1 billion.
        $4.5 billion for NASA Science programs, which is $431 million below last year’s level. The bill also terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.

Meanwhile, in the same document:

Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – The bill provides $2.7 billion for the PTO – the full requested level. This funding is equal to the estimated amount of fees to be collected by the PTO during fiscal year 2012, and is an increase of $588 million or 28% above last year’s level. The bill also includes language that allows PTO to keep and use any fees in excess of the estimated collected amount, subject to standard Congressional approval, and includes language requiring PTO to report on efforts to reduce the patent application backlog

(Bolding is mine)

Stop a space telescope, cut back NASA funds while retiring a space shuttle... increase patent office funding... This is just a normal day in the office chaps...

Re:Science loses again (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678184)

Yep. Other winners in this budget include the International Trade Administration, FBI, DEA, and the Bureau of Prisons. Other losers include NSF, NIST, NOAA, the Economic Development Administration, and programs to aid state and local law enforcement. You can draw your own conclusions about what set of priorities that reflects ...

Re:Science loses again (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678346)

if I wasn't looking, I'd swear there was a republican in office.

Re:Science loses again (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678440)

Congress writes the budget and sends it to the White House, the White House approves or rejects. If it is rejected, Congress can overrule the President's veto.

Sucks when life is complicated, isn't it?

Re:Science loses again (3, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678470)

the leader's job is to LEAD.

see any of that?

I don't. I see same-old same-old. he is NOT standing up for his so-called principles.

you can say its the system but if the president can't accomplish his goals, I blame HIM. backroom deals, etc - just make it happen.

but he does not. he's useless. /dev/null would be as effective.

Re:Science loses again (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678286)

Isn't it a common complaint on /. that the PTO is understaffed and underfunded, hence all of the bogus patents that get granted?

Re:Science loses again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678230)

We're on the fast track to becoming a banana republic.

Yeah, a banana republic with lots of nukes.

Re:Science loses again (4, Interesting)

Shihar (153932) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678374)

I don't disagree that there is other shit that needs cutting. Do we REALLY need a military that can stomp two of any other conventional armies on their own land at once? I personally think not. Self defense the ability to act WITH others in the world community is more than enough for me. I don't think the US needs a military designed to fight China and Russia on their own shores, considering that the only possible end game to that kind of 'victory' are a few thousand nuclear missiles up the arse.

That said... the Jame's Webb telescope, while being an awesome piece of potential science, is a poster child for being a catastrofuck of poor planning and budgeting. They are going to miss both their launch data AND the cost by at least a 4X factor. Maybe canceling a few of these messes will convince people not to write rosy prediction of cost and time. Firing all of the management involves, killing the project, and proposing a realistic budget and timing is hardly the worst fate that cold befall NASA.

Now if only we could fire all of the congressmen shit heads who propose their own unrealistic budgets on absurd timetables...

Re:Science loses again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36677950)

Military research contributes a large part to scientific advancement. True for every country.
I'd say the advancements in medicine alone from the military has given magnitudes more benefit to humanity than astronomy ever has.

posting anon for obvious reasons.

Re:Science loses again (2)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678124)

I'd say no. Knowledge of astronomy was crucial for civilizations to even form as it was the way of marking time and navigation. Like for when to plant crops, which was vital for permanent settlement.

Re:Science loses again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678190)

Yeah, 8000 years ago. Today, the earth-pointing climate satellites are useful, but the space-pointing astronomy ones don't have as much payoff.

Re:Science loses again (2)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678336)

8000 years is grossly off. It was used for much much longer than that. Also, in navigation which played a huge role in shaping how we are today. Also in understanding orbital mechanics, which affects anything involving satellites (communication and gps).

Re:Science loses again (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678306)

I'd say yes, military spending leads directly to civilian and commercial technologies.

Easiest examples, the Internet, spread spectrum communications, GPS.

http://www.google.com/patents?vid=2292387 [google.com]

Re:Science loses again (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678406)

No in response to comparison between military medicine and astronomy. I didn't deny that there exists military spending that is beneficial.

Re:Science loses again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678060)

Cutting budget for national security and defense: Horrible idea

Cutting budget for war: Depends on the year, usually not a good thing if we think of ourselves as Team America

Cutting budget for research: another bad idea

Cutting budget to reduce the size of the government: Best decision yet, oh wait it hasn't happened. Greedy savages.

Re:Science loses again (5, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678354)

Defense spending is hardly untouchable. Defense is about the only part of the Federal budget which has been consistently decreasing over the last 50 years [cbo.gov] as a percentage of GDP. It's ticked up a bit since 9/11, but is still lower than during Reagan's build-up in the 1980s, and nowhere near as high as during the Vietnam War.

The thing that's threatening to bust the budget is entitlements. Medicare and Medicaid speciically [cbo.gov] . Just the growth predicted for entitlements between now and 2035 will exceed the entire defense budget. Go read the CBO's long-term outlooks [cbo.gov] if you don't believe me. I'm not saying entitlements have to go, but any budget plan which refuses to change entitlements is doomed to fail before it even starts.

whack! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36677794)

This was a way cool project that could have led us towards life in the distant cosmos! Maybe its because were in for a much bigger revelation... (FINGERS CROSSED, and by revelation I don't mean that in a religious sense)... More than likely though their probably just rerouting the funding to war crime projects....

Re:whack! (1)

That Guy From Mrktng (2274712) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678312)

Not that I don't agree with you but, why waste the effort and the money launching it in the first place? Can it be "repurposed" to any other task than those originally intended?

Budget problems (4, Informative)

Trillan (597339) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677838)

From Wikipedia:
"In June 2011, it was reported that the Webb telescope will cost at least four times more than originally proposed, and launch at least seven years late. Initial budget estimates were that the observatory would cost $1.6 billion and launch in 2011. NASA has now scheduled the telescope for a 2018 launch, though outside analysts suggest the flight could slip past 2020. The latest estimated price tag for the telescope is now $6.8 billion."

Although a loss for science, this would seem to be more accurately blamed on poor management and budgeting. Perhaps a smaller, better managed project will rise from the ashes.

Re:Budget problems (5, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677916)

The panel noted that the project was in good shape technically, but that NASA had not budgeted enough for the project initially. In other words, it would have cost less if they'd put more in up front and completed it on schedule. This is why you shouldn't let penny-pinchers be in charge of cost estimates (or anything, for that matter). If they weren't willing to commit sufficient funds to the project, they shouldn't have done it at all.

Re:Budget problems (2)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678078)

The panel noted that the project was in good shape technically, but that NASA had not budgeted enough for the project initially. In other words, it would have cost less if they'd put more in up front and completed it on schedule. This is why you shouldn't let penny-pinchers be in charge of cost estimates (or anything, for that matter). If they weren't willing to commit sufficient funds to the project, they shouldn't have done it at all.

I concur completely. The rule in aerospace projects, whether civilian or military, is lowball up-front estimates (helps the project get funded) inevitably followed by cost and schedule overruns. Check the F35 as one example. C&S inflation comes from a variety of sources, but the initial lowballing is a major contributor. Good work costs real money. (And yeah, I know real money doesn't guarantee good work.)

Re:Budget problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678202)

Forget the F35. The Shuttle. It was sold on a huge lie (easy, cheap, and safe access to space). It turned into the most expensive launch system ever. Then, to save the program (because it clearly wasn't cost effective, and in fact was killing launch budgets), it had to be decreed to be the only launch vehicle that would be used. The Galileo spacecraft launched late because of that (it was supposed to go up on a regular rocket). Hubble would have been in a better orbit except that it was decreed to have to go up on the shuttle. Then to hear all this stuff about how great it was because it launched all this stuff was just sickening. Yes, it repaired the Hubble, but what gets overlooked is that a single shuttle launch with an empty payload bay cost more than the entire Hubble telescope.

Re:Budget problems (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678308)

Without Shuttle, Hubble as it was launched would be known as an expensive boondoggle and no longer be operational.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Space_Telescope#Flawed_mirror [wikipedia.org]

Re:Budget problems (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678506)

Without Shuttle, Hubble as it was launched would be known as an expensive boondoggle and no longer be operational.

Without the shuttle we could have launched a new Hubble every few years, because that would have cost less than the maintenance missions.

Re:Budget problems (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678508)

Did you read what he wrote? We could build and launch another Hubble from scratch, for less than the cost of one or two Shuttle launches alone.

Re:Budget problems (1)

Burdell (228580) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678236)

The same was true of the Constellation project. It was only behind schedule and over budget because the pointy-heads didn't listen to the engineers when setting up the project. From what I understand from some people involved in the planning meetings, it was basically on the schedule they said they needed and possibly even a little under the budget at that point that they said the needed.

Re:Budget problems (3, Interesting)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678512)

Boy, been there, done that, burned the t-shirt. As a VP R&D in a startup a long time ago (early 1990s) I once spent two months with my software manager doing a complete system plan for a complete rewrite, rearchitecture and platform change (including converting from several languages to C), down to the function level, with good estimates of the time it would take to do every piece of it. This was a product with several hundred thousand lines of code in FORTRAN, Pascal, Assembler of various sorts, maybe some C, and microcode for a custom image processor. It came down to six engineers and about two years. We got approval for that project plan at the board meeting.

Then one of the engineers mentioned to the head of sales that he thought we would 'have an image on the screen' (meaning we would have figured out how to write a toy/test program to paint a window) in about two months.

Within a few days, the sales guy had promised delivery of two systems in ... you guessed it ... two months, to GE. Oh, and by the way - the company didn't have the cash flow to hire more engineers, so we only had two guys available to the project. As it happened, I quit a week or so later for other reasons. According to what I was told later, by conspiring with the users at GE who agreed to receive the boxes, they managed to ship two completely non-functioning systems to GE, and spent the next two years 'fixing' it while the folks at GE got more and more pissed. I think GE finally sued them. After numerous equally dicey escapades, the company got forced into bankruptcy.

Re:Budget problems (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678502)

This is why you shouldn't let penny-pinchers be in charge of cost estimates (or anything, for that matter). If they weren't willing to commit sufficient funds to the project, they shouldn't have done it at all.

It is just as likely that the scientists and engineers involved did not provide accurate cost estimates to the "penny-pinchers" so that the project would get approved. Management can only act on the information they are given. I can see the conversation now:
Management: How much do you think it will cost?
Engineers: $4B
Management: I am not sure we could get that approved. Are there ways to trim things and decrease the costs? How about you try and decrease the costs.
Later;
Management: New budget complete? How much is the new estimate?
Engineers: $1.6B.
Management: Are you sure you can do it for that?
Engineers: Fairly sure.
Management: OK, we'll go with that.

It might be the scientists and it might be the penny-pinchers or a combination of the two; we don't know.

Re:Budget problems (0)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678032)

Man, your comment needs to be modded way up. Any project which goes FOUR times over budget needs to be cut off, no matter what its merits. Either the proponents originally intentionally underestimated the costs in order to get the project approved or the project development team is incompetent -- in neither case should the reward be project continuance. You have to ask, "If the true cost would have been known at inception would the project have been funded?" I am the biggest fan of space science and astronomy but there has to be some kind of accountability, and as others have pointed out JWST is taking funds for other worthy projects.

Re:Budget problems (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678500)

This is crazy thinking. If the project has merit, fund it.

The reason projects are over budget is that the people making the decisions always go for cheap. Not good or useful or necessary, but cheap. So if you believe in your project, you will lie about it. Because otherwise, it will never get a chance, never mind its actual merits.

To change this, you need to punish not the guys making the proposition, but the morons who accept clearly impossible projects. The guilty party here is not NASA: they are playing the game by the rules _congress_ has set. Instead of saying "the incompetents are over budget", say "who let the clueless moron give the go-ahead to an impossible plan?".

See also "war in Iraq".

Re:Budget problems (4, Informative)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678266)

Although a loss for science, this would seem to be more accurately blamed on poor management and budgeting. Perhaps a smaller, better managed project will rise from the ashes.

This isn't exactly a surprise. The only way NASA can get funding is to promise the moon (usually figuratively, though occasionally literally) on an implausible shoestring budget, and then hope that the real costs later on don't cause management to scupper an already-in-progress high-profile project. This is a pretty common strategy in government funded technology and research projects, and it's something that's as old as NASA.

The Mercury program came in at roughly double its original estimated price.

The Air Force anticipated in 1958 that a lunar program would cost $1.5 billion and be complete by the end of 1965. In 1961, NASA's experts said they could do the job by 1967, at a cost of $7 billion. By the time Neil Armstrong took his one small step, it was 1969, and the program had rung up a price tag of about $25 billion (in 1960s dollars).

Looking at the last space telescope project, the Hubble was originally budgeted at $400 million. It cost $2.5 billion by launch time, and total program costs to date run to between $4.5 and $6 billion.

This problem isn't unique to NASA. Technology development programs in the military offer some particularly good examples. Lockheed completed their contract for the F-22 Raptor more than two years and ten billion dollars behind schedule--but they still received more than $800 million in performance awards for their work.

Re:Budget problems (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678384)

Lets compare that to the F-22 "Raptor".... supposed to cost about $80 million per plane, the "fly away cost" per plane on last delivery was about $165 million. Years late for initial delivery, the total program cost was over $65 billion......

Oh, and as of this writing, ALL OF THEM ARE GROUNDED due to problems with their oxygen generators..... not a single plane is flying right now.

That is a load of crap, foisted on the American taxpayer by the defense-industrial complex.

Can we start a kickstarter? (2)

buback (144189) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677862)

Seriously, I wonder how much money we can get donated to keep this going. in retrospect, I'd gladly have paid what i could for the Hubble, and the repair/upgrade missions, out of my own pocket.

Re:Can we start a kickstarter? (1)

zaxus (105404) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677888)

You already did. It's called taxes.

Re:Can we start a kickstarter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678400)

My taxes are not going where I want them to go.

Re:Can we start a kickstarter? (2)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678468)

GP has a very good point actually.

Only a very small percentage of your taxes goes to NASA. Suppose I want to fund NASA without funding the 3 wars at the same time, I would have to jump through a lot of hoops. There is currently no legal way of donating to NASA besides signing up for a tour and then giving the security guard a suitcase of cash claiming that you found it unattended.

Nearly $3 million dollars was donated to the US treasury [treasurydirect.gov] last year, out of which NASA received roughly $15,000. I suspect that if NASA ran a well publicized donation drive for one of its more well-known missions (manned mission to Mars for example), they could easily solicit 10 or times that amount. For one, foreign donations to the US treasury is probably rare, but I imagine many foreign Scifi fans are willing to donate to NASA, myself being one.

Re:Can we start a kickstarter? (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678490)

Sorry for the double post, but I forgot to mention that public works funded by private citizens is not unheard of. The most famous example of which would be the Statue of Liberty.

Re:Can we start a kickstarter? (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677912)

Well, they're currently $5 billion over budget and 10 years behind schedule. Still think all they need is a bit more money? :)

It's a good idea, but it's clearly being mismanaged.

Absurd (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677864)

Cutting this project will do basically nothing to help the deficit situation. Until they start seriously talking about slashing defense spending, drastically reforming Medicare and Social Security, AND raising taxes, it's obvious they're just playing politics with no intention of doing anything to fix the problem. They could cut this and everything else in the discretionary non-defense budget and still run a huge deficit.

Re:Absurd (3, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677908)

If you think the Repubs are going to do any of that, you're dreaming. They're busy pandering.

Re:Absurd (1)

tonyAG (655960) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678330)

Better than the Democrats building their politically correct perfect utopia!

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678378)

lol, i love how the bad option is utopia.....

Yes we should all totally be against that! Keep your government Utopia out of my rich lord's Billions! Now excuse me I have to go work 3 jobs to survive...

Re:Absurd (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678424)

If you think the Repubs are going to do any of that, you're dreaming. They're busy pandering.

If you think Dems are going to let anyone so much as touch Medicare or Social Security, you are also dreaming.

Money spent today buys votes whether it's a tax cut or an entitlement payment.

Re:Absurd (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678036)

it is the And Raising taxes part that they always seem to forget. Or if they do do it all, they seem to forget the next step entirely. the paying down debt before cutting taxes back.

Re:Absurd (0)

silky1 (1609493) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678126)

Even if you could prove that raising taxes actually increases revenues, why would you want to give them any more of your money? Bottom line...stop spending...stop spending...stop spending.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678278)

Even if you could prove that raising taxes actually increases revenues

lol... you have got to be fucking kidding me.... Think about that statement for just one minute. Done? Of course raising taxes increases revenue you complete dumb ass! Hmmm, if you increase how much money you bring in then you increase revenue! Thats like saying "can you prove that turning on the heat causes warming".....

It's fucktards like you that are ruining America.

Re:Absurd (1)

silky1 (1609493) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678392)

Compared to the effect of lowering taxes, the idea of raising taxes to increase revenue is wrong. It's proved time and time again, people will spend more when taxes are lower and spend less when they are higher.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678456)

Compared to the effect of lowering taxes, the idea of raising taxes to increase revenue is wrong. It's proved time and time again, people will spend more when taxes are lower and spend less when they are higher.

*Citation needed

Last time I checked taxes were raised in the 90s and the economy boomed and then taxes were cut under Bush and the economy went into the great depression 2. I would say that pretty much proves the opposite of the voodoo economics you just tried to sell us. Don't believe me? Check out a graph that shows exactly that [wikipedia.org]

Re:Absurd (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678182)

They don't "forget" to raise taxes. The Republicans have instituted a very well-crafted and carefully executed plan for the past decade or so. They pass a massive tax cut to wipe out the surplus. They then drive us deep into debt with wars and the unfunded Medicare expansion. Next, they use that debt as an excuse to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. Then they take the savings, and insist the way to grow the economy is with more tax cuts. See where this is going?

The end result is a society with no safety net to support the ~250 million serfs, who must therefore work for whatever wages their lords are willing to pay, and die in the streets when they are no longer of use. Meanwhile, those lords pay no taxes. The government, with no revenue, cannot regulate the lords to keep them from further abusing their serfs. We're on a fast track to return to the Gilded Age. This is not an accident.

Re:Absurd (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678194)

1. SS and Medicare have their own revenue stream. See SS and Medicare on pay stub if you still have one.

2. We could cut until we're blue in the balls and it will do no good because of:

  1. War costs
  2. interest on current debt
  3. and all that debt that has been racked up

    Point: We have no choice but to raise taxes. Unfortuately, the Republicans didn't think of this when they rammed the wars and Homeland security up all our asses.

    Yes, the Republican party did this and the Democrat wimps whined and followed suit and lastly, the fucking retarded American people, thumping their collective chests and wanting to be all powerful while being scared of their own shadows, went along with the horseshit cumming out of Washington - they beleived the pundits who know less than they do.

    Yes, I meant "cumming" - they were fucking us after all.

    And now, I see propaganda about taxes and "cuts" and in the meantime, the fuckers who ruined out economy are off on their yachts and private jets paying the lowest taxes ever while convincing Joe Peon that if he "works hard and starts a business" he can join their ranks but if he actually tries, they crush him.

    The rich are evil. Jesus said so: camel-eye of needle- blah blah blah.

Re:Absurd (0)

astar (203020) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678234)

Your first sentence is correct. Your second sentence is silly. Instead of looking at budgeting numbers as scalar and instantaneous, look at just some recent patterns where "slashing" makes the deficit *worse*. California is the first data set to come to mind. Greece is in the headlines today. Or the same take, from a different angle, look how well bailing out speculators has worked for us. Inside people's heads is the idea that interesting things like the universe and all its parts are composed of hmm, scalars, continuous functions, predictable by statistical methods, mechanical, etc. Do you really want to claim that way our species made its living over the past 4 million years (yah, I know) is predictable. If not, then you might see that the way the world makes its living today may not be easily improved by a bean counter. But from bean counters, we get "slash" as a way to make things better.

   

Great News for Humanity! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36677934)

Now we can give more aid to Egypt while they murder their coptics and racially insult their Blacks (whilst not busy shooting Sudanese refugees) and our good friends the Palestinians who will now be able to buy more candy to dance in the streets after the next 9/11.

Worthless Congress... seriously, some worthless bastard crashes into a buliding and rather than make cockpits more secure we need a fortune for a new agency (Homeland Security) and various other forms of snake oil so the next terrorist will have to strike a public square or hospital as opposed to a plane, progress we can believe in!

This is the most depressing thing that could've possibly happened, why not dump no child left behind instead, you cant put brains in statues anyway and kids are just as stupid as they were 10 years ago, and with the savings you could build twenty telescopes and still have a few hundred billion $ change.

Where has the wonder gone? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36677940)

In the future, when people look back at our age, they will see things as Hubble, and (hopefully) the James Webb telescope as some of the true wonders of our time. INNA (I am not American), but where has the USA's sense of wonder gone?. Truely, the USA needs to invest in things like this great telescope. They can afford not to build another (half a?) stealth fighter, surely.

Mixed Feelings (5, Informative)

notKevinJohn (2218940) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677944)

As someone who works on several NASA science mission directorate missions, I have to say I have mixed feelings about this. James Webb was going to be an amazing successor to Hubble, and would have been very popular with the general public as well as with scientists. However, it is way way over budget, and eating the budgets of other worthy science missions, and maybe there is something to be said for cutting missions who can't keep on budget. I was really looking forward to James Webb though, even if it was the 800lb gorilla of the science mission directorate.

Re:Mixed Feelings (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678028)

Fuck you, Kevin.

Hah (5, Insightful)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 2 years ago | (#36677972)

What do we need with a space telescope or space exploration program anyway? Our children are being groomed to be the poorly fed, poorly housed, poorly educated drones of the likes of of the Koch Brothers--or worse, cannon fodder in the next forever war undertaken to line the pockets of the defense contractors. Other countries will gladly assume the exploration of frontiers and the advancement of knowledge while our kids get to learn about creation science.

Re:Hah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678084)

The world will soon re-order itself without the us as a major power. Same as the romans, the persians, mongolians, etc, etc, etc....

Re:Hah (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678518)

How is this modded insightful? The cost of the entire telescope project, even with the massive cost overruns and across eight years, couldn't pay for even a significant fraction of California's education budget for one year.

It's amazing how ignorant drivel (we have no food? Really?) gets modded up by taking a jab at the Koch brothers, as if they were the Illuminati or something, sitting on the board of every school district around the country.

If you don't think $10,000 per student is enough money, you're delusional. Offer me $200k-$300k per classroom of 20 or 30 kids and I'll give you a group of rocket scientists (pun inteded) in 12 years.

Podcast about Infrared Astronomy & JWST (2, Informative)

jrivar59 (146428) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678008)

This This Astronomy Cast [astronomycast.com] podcast episode does a great job of explaining why infrared astronomy is important, and the role that the JWST will (would have?) played in discovery.

One thing I've noticed about large organizations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678014)

Long-time employees don't seem to get better through the years, instead they seem to peak within 4-6 years from the start of their tenure and then lapse into bureaucracy, internal politics, and mediocrity. Basically they lose their idealistic energy and learn to take care of themselves, while developing a clique-ish mistrust of new ideas and their proponents.

NASA is chock full of long-timers I bet. Maybe they should offer generous early retirement to some of them, especially those in management, slim the ranks and later bring in new blood.

Re:One thing I've noticed about large organization (4, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678066)

You mean the long-timers that developed Hubble, the Shuttle program, ISS, and (mostly) successful Mars rovers?

If anything, NASA gets worse with each new generation. As I saw on reddit once, "If you watch NASA backwards, it's about a space agency that has no spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on moon"

Re:One thing I've noticed about large organization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678298)

Some make a convincing argument that the Shuttle and the ISS are what killed NASA. Way too expensive, which sucked up most of the funding, with basically nothing in return. We're going to finish building the ISS so that we can say we did it, then we can dump in in the Indian Ocean. If it wasn't for a Presidential mandate back in the 80's to launch everything on the Shuttle, it would have died a long time ago and we would have been able to develop much better launch vehicles.

Re:One thing I've noticed about large organization (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678132)

I've worked at NASA (and LockMart, and a few other places not on the T.O.). You're so very wrong. If your assessment is from your experience, you've been unlucky in your work venues and I wish you better luck in future. If your assessment isn't from experience, then you need to get out more.

Shaking my head... (2)

TheRedDuke (1734262) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678040)

...because we're (indirectly) building this instead:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Gerald_R._Ford_(CVN-78) [wikipedia.org]
Military Industrial Complex FTW!

Re:Shaking my head... (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678376)

Gerald R. Ford is slated to replace the current USS Enterprise, ending her then 50-plus years of active service

Is it just me or are there some eerie symbolic coincidences with that sentence?

  • Enterprise is the name of a famous spacecraft
  • Ford was president at the end of the Apollo program
  • Military project (named Ford) is getting precedence over space projects, including 50+ years of manned space flight

Solicit $$$ from Billy Gates (1)

squidguy (846256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678070)

Instead of funding aids research, perhaps Billy can write a check for the telescope instead.

Privatizing the project might save it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678082)

Hubble doesn't have much time left and needs a replacement.

The root of all evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678090)

Money truly is the root of all evil. Why is this being cancelled instead of making a few fewer missiles? Because the missiles are making profit for somebody. All a telescope does is produce science, and worse, it's science you can't make a profit off of. So to keep the money flowing we'll blow up a few more nomads in Afghanistan and scrap a state-of-the-art observatory.

Money is America's god and it is the most vile and selfish of gods.

Re:The root of all evil (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678136)

I wish I had mod points.
See Mammon a Jesus coined term for this problem. I only invoke him out of an interest in truly sad irony.

Re:The root of all evil (1)

tantaliz3 (1074234) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678198)

Wait, wait....Money itself is just a tool. Just like a hammer. It in itself is neither good or evil, it just it. Money isn't the problem, it's the attitude that drives it's destructive power.

Hate the US government (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678170)

No offense to US citizens everywhere, but the government you currently find yourselves serving is hideously destructive to it's own existence, and by extension, all of you as well. Unfortunately, it's also capable of sinking the rest of the world with it as well...

Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678216)

if they are so damn anti-science, take away every damn gadget they have and make them what they want US to be, stone agers

lol (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678302)

Everyone needs to calm down and learn how politics works. This is a "give-away" the republicans threw in the mix... the price-tag is relatively small, but public interest is high. So when they haggle, the democrats can claim they saved the program. The democrats constituents will think its a big win while the republicans constituents could care less. How many times did congress/NASA propose cutting funding to Hubble? I lost count myself.

JWST not really HST successor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678340)

James Webb ... I dunno what to feel about this. JWST promised to be a very capable IR telescope, but it has no UV and Vis capability. I've worked with HST data before, from STIS in near UV; getting that type of data would not be possible with either JWST or anything in the pipeline... Realistically, when HST finally gives up the ghost, we will lose something nearly irreplacable. JWST wasn't going to change that, it is not really a HST successor. JWST is really a successor to Spitzer...

The truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36678360)

It's your choice - feed people who won't get off their ass to work or have nice toys like this telescope.

Defense? That's one of the very few legitimate functions of government.

You may not like the choices, but that's the plain unvarnished truth.

Hey congress... (2)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#36678382)

How about cutting things from the budget that will ACTUALLY HELP SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

Cutting the space telescope (with its tiny budget) wont make any difference.

If you want to fix the US economy and the US debt problem, cut where it will help. Cut the billions and billions of dollars spent on subsidies to the airlines, the big agribusiness companies, the coal industry, the oil industry, the media companies, the defence industry etc.

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