Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

President Obama Calls For New 'Space Race' Funding

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the if-we-put-a-man-on-the-moon-we-can-put-a-man-on-the-moon dept.

Government 291

New submitter dmfinn writes "While his union address covered a wide range of topics, President Obama made sure not to skip over the U.S.'s space program. The talking point was nearly identical to the one he gave in 2009, in which he called for space R&D spending to be increased past the levels seen during the the original cold war space race. Now, 4 years after that speech, it appears things have gone the opposite way. Since 2009 NASA has seen some serious cuts. Not only has the space-shuttle program been deactivated, but the agency was forced to endure harsh funding cuts during the presidents latter term. Despite an ominous history, it now seems that Obama is back on the space objective, pushing congress to increase non-defensive R&D spending to 3% of the U.S. GDP. It's important to keep in mind that not all of this money goes directly to space related programs, though under the proposed budget the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Laboratories will have their budgets doubled. There will also be an increase in tax credits towards companies and organizations working on these R&D projects. Should the U.S. go back to its 'Let's put a man on the moon' ideology, or is the federal government fighting an uphill battle against newly emerging private space expeditions? Either way, the question remains whether or not Obama will act on any of the propositions."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


How are we going to pay for it though? (4, Interesting)

JDAustin (468180) | about a year ago | (#42915851)

In the 50's and 60's, discretionary spending accounted for 70% of the federal budget. Now, mandated spending accounts for 70%+ of the fed budget.

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42915897)

He'll just run up the debt some more.

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916031)

Borrow money from China? Repeat as needed?

That said, I'm very happy to see money spent on NASA and other R&D. Just don't see much political will or incentives to make the right choices in Washington these days.

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (1, Troll)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#42916461)

Keep your 'lectric eye on me babe
Put your ray gun to my head
Press your space face close to mine, love
Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah!

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916105)

Raise Taxes

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916825)

On other people

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916457)

Social security needs an exit strategy. It's the largest single item [wikipedia.org] that could be cut if a consensus could be reached. This would give thousands of dollars per year to each individual for their own discretionary spending. FY2012 spending on Social Security was $768B.

Here's one idea:

Continue social security taxation as-is. Give everyone over the age of 65 a lump sum of no less than $100,000, starting with the oldest. Give a pro-rated amount to everyone under 65 at the time the buyout program started, but over 65 when it ended. Once _everyone_ has received their buyout, cancel taxation to support social security. This buyout period would last for about 5 years. After that, taxes could drop significantly.

As the older generation dies off, mandate that a pro-rated lien on their estate be placed if they received a buyout and did not live for at least 10 years past the redemption date. Funds from that would be used to assist with the other buyouts.

This could work, but it'd be a hard sell.

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916725)

There's a little problem with that: Social Security exists for a reason. It was started in the Great Depression to get old people to retire so younger people could get jobs to reduce unemployment. The alternative is letting our impoverished elderly (i.e. those who never had the ability to save for retirement) die of starvation or exposure; I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in a country that does that. (Your plan of lump sum payouts might save those who receive them, but in the long term, poverty and low wages aren't going away.)

The regressiveness of the social security tax is not good, and maybe there is some way to reform social security that wouldn't be a disaster, but eliminating social security entirely would not be good.

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916729)

Just wait until the current generation hits retirement age and has no retirement funds. You do realize that we are legally responsible to take care of those people, even if they have no money. While a lot of people fall through the cracks, the majority of people who have no money still get taken care of and it costs money.

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (4, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#42916795)

Social security is not discretionary spending, and it is not part of the federal budget. It is a separate trust fund funded by separate taxes. Even if you got rid of social security completely, unless you raise income tax, the federal budget won't be affected.

There is no reason you have to eliminate social security in order to raise the income tax rate, so the federal budget and social security are orthogonal.

Okay, so pedantically there would be a very small increase from the income tax that you would otherwise have paid on the money you paid in social security taxes, but that's such a small amount of money that it basically qualifies as noise.

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (2)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#42916823)

Wouldn't work. $100,000 is pocket change when you're paying for Medical expenses, Doctors, and food. Understand WHY the spending is so much and fix that.

2012 Military spending was ~1.3 Trillion. Military spending could be brought down to a more manageable 500B if they wanted to, but the contractors and Congress will not allow it. SS could be brought down to 300B if we fixed the price problems with expenses and all the fraud.

Wanna fix things? Get Medical, Food and other prices down and strip the Military down to the bare minimum needed to win a REAL War. There is no need for Billion dollar buildings in countries we have no business in, and Military troops and bases spread out all over the world. Not to mention all the Billions SECRETLY spend that are not included on Paper.

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916529)

Cut spending on the military because we're winding down two wars. Duh.

Re:How are we going to pay for it though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916851)

Cut all department of defense funding and you've dropped Federal spending by ~20%. Our deficit is running around 40%. What's your other idea?

Which Magic Unicorn Will He Sell to Pay For It? (3, Insightful)

Nova Express (100383) | about a year ago | (#42915945)

The United States is headed for another trillion dollar deficit [thehill.com]. (Even the rosy CBO numbers project an $800 billion deficit.) And beyond that the debt bomb of unfunded entitlements and pension liabilities only threatens to make things worse.

"If you add up the total debt — state, local, the works — every man, woman, and child in this country owes 200 grand (which is rather more than the average Greek does). Every American family owes about three-quarters of a million bucks." [nationalreview.com]

Where is the brokest nation in the history of the world going to borrow the money for more space flight? When hyperinflation kicks in, we won't be able to afford it or much of anything else.

Re:Which Magic Unicorn Will He Sell to Pay For It? (3, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#42916161)

You think that's bad? Try adjusting those numbers to account for the actual percentage of people who actually pay taxes (and how much). If you make an IT-ish salary, my guess is you owe more like $400k-$600k. Averaging it out equally across every person makes it sound almost downright reasonable.

Also, it's all kind of meaningless. Most of our debt is owed to OURSELVES.

Re:Which Magic Unicorn Will He Sell to Pay For It? (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#42916187)

You're confusing mean and median. Look at it compared to GDP. Yeah, we're still broke, but 5% of the population could pay it off easily and leave the rest of us alone. They get most benefit from government anyway.

Re:Which Magic Unicorn Will He Sell to Pay For It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916597)

they could pay it off, if you expect the government will no longer spend any money at all. If we took 100% of the money from the top 5% we could function for a few days,weeks at top, due to current spending trends that have been rising for many many years.

Re:Which Magic Unicorn Will He Sell to Pay For It? (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#42916383)

If you add up the total debt — state, local, the works — every man, woman, and child in this country owes 200 grand (which is rather more than the average Greek does).

This is both false, and, even if you reform it to deal with the outright false part, misleading. Its false because governments aren't conventional partnerships, so the government debt isn't individual debt of the current residents. Just as you can't add up the liabilities of a corporation and attribute them as personal liabilities of the stockholders, you can't do the same thing if you swap "government" for "corporation" and "resident" for "stockholder". That aside, measuring per capita external debt is pretty meaningless. Sure, the external debt per capita is higher in the US than in Greece. So is the rate of wealth production available to pay off the debt (e.g., the GDP). Greece's external debt per GDP, the more important measure, is much higher than that in the US.

Re:Which Magic Unicorn Will He Sell to Pay For It? (-1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#42916659)

Except, a corporations sole source of wealth is not its stockholders. Your example falls flat. The ONLY way the federal government can get money is from its citizens. Therefore, the federal governments dept, IS its citizens dept. They are the ones that will have to pay that debt off, where-as shareholders in a corporation have nothing to do with it's dept or profits. Though they may have an affect on their stock price. A corporation can use borrowed money to generate more money. If their profits exceed the interest rate they are paying, then the loan was a good idea. When the government borrows money, its to cover expenses that they couldn't pay for with tax revenues. There's no way to turn that borrowed money into more money. It's bad in every way possible.

Re:Which Magic Unicorn Will He Sell to Pay For It? (2, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | about a year ago | (#42916623)

You really need to differentiate between government spending and government investment. The government should be able to keep investing in areas that will enable the new and continued markets of the future, creating the basis for continued employment. The government needs to provide some level of spending helping people who are stumbling get back on their feet, too, but right now we do way too little of the first compared to the second. The solution isn't to slash the first further.

Print FASTER!!!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42915959)

Turn the printing presses at the treasury up to eleven! Print the money faster!!!

Somebody call JG Wentworth. Oby wants cash and he want s it now!

Re:Print FASTER!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916465)

They aren't printing money, they are borrowing it. If they printed money, the deficit would go down and inflation would increase (as well as nobody being willing to lend money to the US ever again).

There are multiple ways to get out of a debt situation. One is to borrow money and sell all of your shit to a foreign country. The other is to devalue your currency by printing money (which also helps your export market). Bankers and the rich like the former. Workers and the poor like the later.

Not gonna happen (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#42915967)

I'd like to see Moon Base Gingrich as much as the next geek, but it's simply not going to happen with this Congress and this President. The reason is that the Republicans in Congress have decided as pretty much a matter of policy that they will vote against anything the President proposes.

Re:Not gonna happen (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916057)

posting anon because I modded but I am sick and tired of hearing this line of thinking. The president has been saying the same thing for years, yet in the end nothing happens that is good. blame blame blame. A REAL leader figures out how to get things done, even if there are things in the way. This president just blames everyone for his and his administrations fuckups over and over and over.

Re:Not gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916411)

How can the president get anything done within the confines of the constitution on this front? If the party that controls the legislative branch, which by the way constitutionally controls the government's purse strings, doesn't want to play ball what can he do? Just declare himself emperor? Well I don't think you'd like that either. So instead you can go on decrying him as not a leader, whereas if he acted like what you call a leader, you might just end up beheaded at his decree.

Re:Not gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916627)

I never said do something like, make a bunch of executive orders as he did a few weeks ago. I am talking about making the right decisions, If he is SOOO hated that nothing can be accomplished, he should do the honorable thing, step down, and we should put someone in charge who will get things done. The same can be said for the previous admin and many before it.

Re: Not gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916741)

Oh so the will of the people be damned, if the losing party does not like things just quit working until he resigns. Great democracy there.

Re:Not gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916085)

I've got news for you, it's already happened. The 2 party system is the biggest 'space' race ever conceived by man. All our representatives could be shot into space and we'd be no worse off than we would be if the Tea Party... no, wait.

Forget that.

Re:Not gonna happen (0, Troll)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year ago | (#42916097)

That's because the President keeps spending money. You can't spend your way out of debt, it's ludicrous, and why does our national debt keep going up? Aren't we paying it down or is the USA just making minimum payments. Once they get the voting block up to critical mass maybe they'll stop giving things away for free but until then I don't understand. Everyone needs to watch Animal Farm and see where we're heading...we're currently at the scene where the pigs scratch "...but some animals are more equal than others..." onto the side of the barn right under the part that says "All animals are equal."

Re:Not gonna happen (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#42916259)

He wasn't trying to spend his way out of debt. He was trying to spend his way out of recession- something that does work if you borrow (or use savings) the money you do it on and the cause of the recession was lack of consumer confidence/demand or lack of capital (which this was in part). The trick is that you have to make up for it in good times by repaying the debt, something we've been bad at. Also, it helps if the extra money being spent is on things with long term results like infrastructure and R&D. Spending it on things like wars will give a short term bump but no long term advantages.

THe fact is right now our debt not only doesn't matter, any business leader in the world would be telling us to take on more of it. We're borrowing at about 1% interest. That means if we have anything to invest in that would pay better than 1% return, we ought to borrow to pay for it. Since the rate of inflation is higher than that, anything with any real long term value is a good buy, as the principal will be less when due than it is now. Debt really isn't a short term problem for us.

Re:Not gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916477)

Krugman, is that you?

We are receding two massive bubbles that were driven by debt, not organic growth. Debt spending isn't going to reignite the economy that was already a fantasy. It is just going to sustain the bubble for a little longer.

You can wave your hand at inflation but as a nation that carries a huge trade deficit, it can become a very serious problem almost over night.

Finally, it is very much a short term problem, since to get 1% in interest, you have to mature it within five years. Good luck rolling $1.5T in bills at the same time you have to sell a new batch of $1.5T. The clock is ticking.

Re:Not gonna happen (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#42916739)

So as an insult you call me a nobel prize winner? I wish everyone disagreed with me like that.

The fact is we have plenty of takers for our debt at ridiculously low rates. That means it isn't a short term problem. It may become one in the future, but for now we're perfectly fine.

Re:Not gonna happen (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#42916319)

why does our national debt keep going up? Aren't we paying it down or is the USA just making minimum payments.

We're making interest-only payments on it.

Then borrowing more every year on top of that.

Note that for all that Clinton "balanced the budget", the national debt has not decreased since before I was born. And I was alive for Kennedy's election (too young to care who (or what) the President was, but alive).

Re:Not gonna happen (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#42916431)

That's because the President keeps spending money. You can't spend your way out of debt, it's ludicrous

If it was ludicrous to spend more money in the short term to expand the long-term ability to earn revenue for all purposes, including paying down debt, businesses would never issue bonds (and if they tried to issue them, no one would ever buy them; and even if the businesses issued them and gullible fools bought them, both the issuing businesses and the foolish investors would collapse.)

In the real world, businesses use deficit spending to grow their ability to earn revenue all the time.

Re:Not gonna happen (3, Insightful)

wiggles (30088) | about a year ago | (#42916699)

The National Debt goes up for two main reasons: Social Security and the Trade Deficit.

The Social Security "trust fund" is a bunch of T-bills, and represents the second largest chunk of the National Debt - $2.72 Trillion. Whenever they take in more social security payroll taxes than they pay out in benefits, they put the surplus into T-bills. Those T-bills are then counted as part of the National Debt.

In other words,

1. We owe this chunk of the National Debt to ourselves - to old people and sick people

2. The Social Security Payroll Tax is not really used for Social Security - it just goes right back into the general fund, and even worse, the general fund has to pay interest to Social Security, which means we're even more screwed than you thought.

The other reason the national debt keeps going up is due to the trade deficit.

We buy Chinese goods in Dollars. We pay them in Dollars. They can't use dollars in their domestic economy for anything - worthless paper to them. They'd have to plow the dollars into American goods to make use of them, but they don't do that. They don't buy enough of our stuff, so instead of stuffing that cash in a vault somewhere, they buy a bunch of T-bills so they can collect interest. That accounts for the largest chunk of the national debt, over 5 Trillion.

Important to note that, no matter what happens with spending, the national debt will continue to grow because of these two things. Blaming the national debt on spending alone is not accurate.

More reading and sources for my numbers are here. [about.com]

Re:Not gonna happen (4, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | about a year ago | (#42916719)

You can't spend your way out of debt, it's ludicrous

Isn't this what every start-up company that accepts venture capital is trying to do?

This article isn't talking about spending on food stamps or fallacious broken windows. It's talking about spending on fundamental research - the kind chase-the-quarter capitalism doesn't do very well - so as to yield a return in new industries to create employment years and decades from now. This isn't that much different than what start-ups are trying to do, except the government can think on a much longer scale - something that I'm glad a government can take time to do.

Re:Not gonna happen (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#42916191)

Huh. My reasoning was more along the lines that this president has betrayed every promise he has made (remember being open and transparent and no revolving doors and taking it to the bank that the first thing we'd do is get out of Iraq?) He's every bit the scum the prior administration was. Saying something in a SOTU speech means jack shit as far as results. Or, shit, for intention, even.

Re:Not gonna happen (2)

SydShamino (547793) | about a year ago | (#42916753)

It's hard to say if, under the previous administration, we would still be in Iraq, since that was never a possible outcome. However, compared to the alternative (McCain's "100 more years!" explanation, Obama getting our troops out in his first term earns him a solid B+ from me on that promise.

Moon Base (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42915971)

Tell the GOP the terrorists have a nukular moon base and they will pump trillions into the space race. Just you watch.

Re:Moon Base (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916079)

operation freedom moon pies,
i am sure they have wmd's

Re:Moon Base (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916111)

obviously the moon is too big to fail.

By your logic... (0)

tiqui (1024021) | about a year ago | (#42916621)

if we tell Obama the moon's packed with "undocumented immigrants" or people whose votes he can buy by giving them food stamps, he'll fully fund moon missions that will put Apollo to shame.

See how dumb that is? Just plain dumb.

I presume you do not like the idea that the GOP is willing to spend money on national defense (something the constitution specifically requires the Federal govt to do) but you're fine with the trillions we spend every year on social spending (which the constitution not only does not require, but arguably forbids (the constitution lists a few duties of the Federal govt and then says everything else is in the hands of the states and the citizens) ). Your comment makes a cartoon of the idea that one party is at least trying to follow the basic idea of our founding document.

Unicorns and lollipops for everybody (0)

3nails4aFalseProphet (248128) | about a year ago | (#42916001)

We'll just magically pull the funding out of our ass, then watch as we go 3x over budget and Red Bull still gets a man to Mars before us.

But I'm not bitter.

I am totes optimistic about this. (4, Funny)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about a year ago | (#42916017)

I am hella certain this will actually change something and is not just something he said so he could keep being "the cool president." He most def won't take actions in the future that are directly counter to this goal. Also, we should have cold fusion in about a month.

Re:I am totes optimistic about this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916241)

That was my thought too.

"Despite an ominous history, it now seems that Obama is back on the space objective..."

Or just lying. Which seems more likely?

Re:I am totes optimistic about this. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#42916651)


Has he been dishonest about other things?

Re:I am totes optimistic about this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916759)

He's a politician.

Re:I am totes optimistic about this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916811)

Has he been dishonest about other things?

About being the "most transparent Administration in history", for starters.

Re:I am totes optimistic about this. (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about a year ago | (#42916863)

Well, his administration transparently tells people to pound sand when they ask inconvenient questions. That's a little more honest than we usually get.

Mr. President (1, Insightful)

iamwhoiamtoday (1177507) | about a year ago | (#42916023)

With all due respect, where will we get the money for this? Money is being bled so much from the DOD that we can barely maintain standards. If the men and women who serve are being asked to "do more with less", then how can you insist on spending so much money left and right? Can we at least attempt to pay off the debts our country has racked up over the years? If you want to spend money on such projects, then by all means, do it after we don't owe other countries insane amounts of money. Cut back on Government spending, Balance the budget, bring the Troops home.

Re:Mr. President (3, Insightful)

Lendrick (314723) | about a year ago | (#42916095)

And raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires.

Re:Mr. President (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916127)

Forgetting the evasion that would result, 100% tax on their income wouldn't close the deficit...

Re:Mr. President (5, Insightful)

Lendrick (314723) | about a year ago | (#42916521)

That sounded suspect, so I thought I'd take a quick look at some real numbers, which probably aren't of interest to you, but should be seen by other people so they don't take your statement at face value.

  • The combined income of everyone in America is roughly 13 trillion dollars (http://bber.unm.edu/econ/us-tpi.htm)
  • This year's projected deficit is about $850 billion (http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/12/3230392/growth-in-us-budget-deficit-slows.html)
  • The top 10% of earners account for about 22% of the total income (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/30/nyregion/where-the-one-percent-fit-in-the-hierarchy-of-income.html), or just under 3 trillion dollars per year.

A 100% tax on their income would close the deficit twice over, even if no spending cuts were made, and that's assuming that they're already paying the maximum marginal tax rate of 39 percent (hint: many extremely wealthy people are making money from capital gains, and are taxed at 15% on that income).

Your statement is demonstrably false.

Re:Mr. President (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916675)

what you ignore is that if you take all their money, they no longer can run their companies or hire their maids or buy their food. All the while the government will not cut spending because they never do. This would have a catastrophic affect on the american and world economy.

Re:Mr. President (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#42916205)

And cut all of the tax loopholes for big companies. E.g. if a company makes more than a certain amount (subsidiaries and parent combined), things can't get written off anymore.

Re:Mr. President (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916487)

Let's tax companies and anyone making over 100k at 100%. Think of all the money that will bring in. It can't fail!

Re:Mr. President (2)

Lendrick (314723) | about a year ago | (#42916575)

I've got an even better idea!

Let's close some corporate tax loopholes, pull out of our foreign wars, stop giving tax credits to companies that outsource, make some common sense spending cuts, tax capital gains as income, and raise taxes on the wealthy by 5 to 10 percent!

Re:Mr. President (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916201)

What's bleeding money?


Re:Mr. President (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42916249)

With North Korea in space and soon to have the capability to send nukes over to the US, followed by Iran, and with China putting up a space station and heading to the moon, you can be sure that the money will be found from somewhere.

Re:Mr. President (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#42916289)

pushing congress to increase non-defensive R&D spending to 3% of the U.S. GDP

3% of GDP sounds like a hell of a lot. It works out to 452 billion. I hope TFS misplaced a decimal point or something because otherwise the president is a stranger to reason.

Re:Mr. President (4, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#42916309)

We spend more money on the military than every other country on earth combined. This with an existing nuclear arsenal that could destroy any country 10 times over. We should be slashing military spending to the bone- its just not needed. How about reducing military spending to even just say triple what China (the number 2 country) spends? We're fucking ridiculous.

Re:Mr. President (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916833)

You're right. Our military spending is absurd. But when comparing us to other countries, consider that all of our allies more or less outsource their peacekeeping to us in the form of the United States having military bases all across the world. Peace has value to the US (as long as there's some war to feed the military-industrial complex) because it makes trade a lot easier. Of course, that also makes a lot of people not like the US very much because that doesn't look very different from the US considering most of the world its military empire, but the geopolitical implications of the US having a much smaller military might not actually be good for the US in the long term.

Re:Mr. President (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | about a year ago | (#42916415)

Collect appropriate taxes on people like Mitt Romney, who paid a 14.1% tax rate on income of $13 million.

Collect appropriate taxes on corporations like Apple, which paid well less then 10% taxes on it's overseas profits, and now has $120+ billion in cash.

End special tax breaks for oil companies. It's so complicated that you can't even get a vague figure on how much they do or don't pay. Some of their big breaks go back to 1915 and 1926. These are some of the most profitable companies in the world. Why do they get these direct subsidies.

This is just a tiny fragment of the number of corporate leaches who are making vast profit while the rest of the nation crumbles under debt. Just go where the real money is hiding from the tax man.

Re:Mr. President (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916443)

Redirect funds from the military (say dock a carrier group for a year). After all, there's always been a close relationship between the Air Force and NASA

Re:Mr. President (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916589)

If the men and women who serve are being asked to "do more with less",

No, the "men and women who serve" are actually being asked to do less. We're stopping two wars. Congratulations, you can come home. You won. A long time ago. The goals were met. The enemy slain. And now you've earned some rest. Come home and be a civilian for a while.

Now, that DOES mean that a lot of industry that we've been pouring money into to support your ass over there is going to dry up. That's a lot of manufacturing and engineering that is essentially out of a job. If only we had something more productive for them to do... hmmm....

Re:Mr. President (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about a year ago | (#42916635)

Could you "where's the money" people please, please, please stop? If you actually care about the budget that much, you should already be aware that the amount needed for a good space program is minuscule compaed to the problem you're trying to fix by not spending it. You should also be aware that no matter what we use all the fake money for, our government is hell-bent on "solving" that problem by kicking it down the road until it becomes a hyperinflation spiral in about 2030, and they decided they were going to do that decades ago. It will happen regardless of whether or not we have a space program. The budget is a huge problem, and we all wish on our uncaring little stars it could ever be fixed, but for the love of god, Montressor, let this country go out with a bang! We need to go to space before it all turns to shit!

unreasonable gambit (1, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42916075)

The only sensible way to approach this, other than decrying obscene levels of politicial incompetence, is to imagine that obaminator wants to invest in space R&D to re-prime the science and consumer tech boom windfalls of the previous space race, that gave rise to the information era.

However, those windfalls were the result of brand new technologies, and old technologies being miniaturized to fit in the limited space and energy budgets of spacecraft. Those problems have now been satisfactorily solved, and additional funding will only fund refinements of existing technologies. No big windfall can come from a tree that has already been shaken.

As such, space investment must be a gambit that some valuable commodity that cannot be obtained on earth will be discovered, and a market opened up by space funding. We have sent many dozens of unmanned probes armed with a wide array of sensory aparatus. We have not found anything that would suggest such a gambit is reasonable.

As such, the president's suggestion that space funding should be expanded, while the nation teeters on the brink of bankruptcy and loss of confidence with foriegn investors, is woefully irresponsible.

Mr Obama, "Austerity', do you speak it?

Re:unreasonable gambit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916345)

Austerity is working great for Europe. They are growing at a slower rate than the US which used a half-assed attempt to spur growth, but don't worry, those austerity plans will pay off any day now.

You do government austerity when the economy is good not when it's bad. Keynes was right. The problem is, we don't actually follow Keynes. We spend in bad and spend in good when he said we should spend in bad and save in good. You want us to cut in bad times which would surely help demand! If no one has money they'll spend a crap load! Except the rich. If they don't get huge tax cuts, huge government subsidies, and hugely beneficial corporate laws shielding personal assets they won't spend. But poor people. Watch out! Take all their money and they'll spend like gangbusters.

Your logic and republican logic (the same thing) sucks. Your extreme shortsightedness will doom us all. But that's what you and your republican buddies want right? Ruin America then blame it on the black guy.

Re:unreasonable gambit (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#42916861)

What is the point of the Keynesian strategy of increased government spending during a recession? From what I see, it's merely to lessen the extent of recessions and such. That looks to me to be a strategy for oh, saving votes of people who might otherwise lose something, say a job, rather than a strategy for building a better society.

For example, a common complaint about the private world is lack of foresight. Well, how much foresight do you really need in the presence of Keynesian spending? When things go bad, say due to your actions, then you can switch over to consuming a piece of Keynesian spending until the economy improves..

Keynesian spending also has the problem that when you stop spending, it stops working. That's not a problem in a lot of recessions of the past where the recession and its ill effects were over with rather quickly. But in a prolonged recession, one needs a lot of stimulus over long periods of time. That leads to big public debt increases and commitment to an ongoing economically inefficient churning of wealth. If it's a big enough churn, you might actually be holding back economic growth by a significant amount. That's an ugly trap to get caught in.

Whether "austerity" works or not, depends in large part on whether you want what it does. It's not a tool for getting out temporarily of a recession, but rather for a long term restructuring and improvement in an economy. If you don't really want a better economy in the long term, then you probably wouldn't consider austerity to work.

It's also worth considering why bubbles of the sort that led to the current bout of recessions happen over and over again.

You want us to cut in bad times which would surely help demand!

And why is that considered a good idea?

. Your extreme shortsightedness will doom us all. But that's what you and your republican buddies want right? Ruin America then blame it on the black guy.

I've noticed a number of pro-Keynesian people blaming it on the rich guy and those who are somewhat more responsible fiscally. But there are many countries who have gone where the EU and the US are going now. It doesn't work. You end up with high debt and crippled ability to provide anything, be it basic services or Keynesian spending.

Re:unreasonable gambit (2)

RazzleFrog (537054) | about a year ago | (#42916429)

So you are saying that we are basically done with inventing and discovering new technologies and should just stop?

And every economist in the world will tell you that austerity is the absolute worst way to get yourself out of a recession.

Re:unreasonable gambit (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#42916645)

No, I am saying a "space race" is not an appropriate investment infrastructure.

Something like biotech, or nuclear energy research are more likely to produce significant gains than another space race.

At no place did I say we shouldn't be spending on research and development. I said we need to cut back on our spending, (austerity), and not spend money foolishly.

I am curious to know how you got such hyperbole from what I wrote....

Re:unreasonable gambit (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#42916503)

We are spending far more per person than we did in 1943, the height of World War II spending. And we aren't even in a major war.

A cutback to 2008 levels is politically infeasible, and would not even qualify as austerity in any reasonable sense of the word.

It's too easy to barf out the meme politicians wanna take gas masks away from firefighters.

You get what The People will buy into, memewise, which is akin to letting them decide what TV shows to watch.

Re:unreasonable gambit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916691)

You know what would be awesome? A space elevator.
You know what we need to make one? Quality carbon nano-tubes.
Mystical magical stuff that. All sorts of fascinating properties that are useful for a wide variety of applications. Imagine if the golden gate bridge only needed something the thickness of piece of string to keep up that roadbed, instead of massive steel cables the size of your torso.

Oh, yeah, and you can get to space on the cheap.

Did you notice how that science and consumer tech boom from the previous space race didn't actually depend on them bringing back anything from space? That it was largely a matter of convincing people to spend a buck on science and technology rather than mining the moon?

Re:unreasonable gambit (1)

thoth (7907) | about a year ago | (#42916715)

As such, the president's suggestion that space funding should be expanded, while the nation teeters on the brink of bankruptcy and loss of confidence with foriegn investors, is woefully irresponsible

No, what was woefully irresponsible was 2 bogus wars and tax cuts, e.g. Bush 43.

Infrastructure spending, creating the demand for STEM careers and so on - that's investing in the future. If there isn't money for it, raise it through taxes on fraud artists like Wall Street, close loopholes so corporations actually pax taxes or can't outsource their incomes overseas for low rates, etc.

finances (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916077)

Like America isn't broke enough yet. Please, what money do they have to invest if they dont even have the money for their museums and libraries

Wait, past cold war space race levels? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#42916189)

So, Obama wants to get NASA's budget higher than it was at the height of the space race? Presuming we're talking in inflation-adjusted dollars here (and not percentage of federal budget, because that would be nuts), that's an increase to about 2.1x the current budget.

It seems to me that doubling NASA's budget is not terribly likely. America's chances of comprehensive space travel seem like they have little chance except through the dramatically lower cost of commercial spaceflight.

No (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year ago | (#42916243)

Should the U.S. go back to its 'Let's put a man on the moon' ideology?

No they shouldn't. People seem to easily forget that the Apollo missions, at least up until Apollo 11, were exactly that - ideology. The ideology that the American way was better than the Soviet way, replete with the American Hero striding out where no man has gone before - albeit that last part was probably largely accidental, as the idea of sending a black man, or (God forbid) a woman probably never occurred to anyone and the career path to being an astronaut didn't allow for it anyway.

The whole construct of the lingering notions of colonising near earth objects (like the Moon or Mars) is based upon the frontier myth - a combination of misremembered American history and a version of the future shaped by movies. In reality, the frontier is not what you remember from grade school lessons, spaghetti westerns and Little House on the Prairie. In reality, space travel and exploration will never be like Star Trek or Avatar. At best, we might get as far as (the original) Planet of the Apes - without the apes. No amount of effort will shape reality into the myth.

Oh, the embarassment (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#42916271)

At some point China will probably do a moon landing. It won't benefit them any more than it did the US, but it will be so embarrassing. Especially if they send the remains of the US flag back.

A matter of priorities (1)

mill3d (1647417) | about a year ago | (#42916273)

What is more important, in the LONG haul? The space 'race' will be more like a long drawn out marathon punctuated with the occasional leap forward, which would be better news than what we're hearing on a daily basis...

Some will argue that the science or the technology isn't there yet. Well, we still need to get started somewhere. Look at the discovery and settlement of the american continent: from the day of first setting foot in 1492 to having an independent government established, how much time has passed? Using 1789 as a reference, that's nearly 300 years. Look at the numerous innovations that happened in between ; not to mention the numerous failures, human or otherwise. But all things considered, it was a worthwhile fight and we're all much better off today thanks to the efforts of our predecessors.

Achieving the conquest of space is the greatest challenge of humanity has yet to face. It will take a change of perspective as the planning timescales will shift from years to decades, if not centuries. But look at it this way, will we all not be better off in the end? Won't the effort bring many new discoveries and economic stability in the mean time..?

It is said that the first step in any endeavor is the most difficult. I, for one, vote to take it. Enough with the political bickering already! We've got better things to do as an intelligent species.

If you want to help, Mr. President (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916281)

Get out of NASA's way!
Every administration uses the space program as a token to look all sciency and stuff. Every administration, in this attempt, derails NASA by pushing them in a new direction. NASA loses tons of money when this happens just by shelving old plans. Let NASA move in their own direction. They know better than any president and all of their advisors. Let NASA work something from blue prints to launch without some presidential doofus trying to look forward thinking by dismissing the old administrations plans and moving in a new direction.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916287)

I wonder if funding would be easier to get if that Russian meteor had exploded over DC instead of Siberia.

Well.... (3)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | about a year ago | (#42916297)

He managed to time it with the whole asteroid and russian meteor thing... maybe THIS will gather some public attention.

Grab monetary policy from the private bank system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916373)

Start using money creation for funding government instead of giving private banks exclusive use of it, and limit government spending based on hitting the inflation target; you can pay for this and much more beyond it.

I know neoliberals/neoclassicists/libertarians will skewer me for even suggesting this (and will probably get downmodded to hell), and I know 'conventional knowledge' says using money creation for funding is an unspeakable evil, but when you break this taboo and purposely limit spending by the inflation target, it transforms much of what people think they know about economics.

Post Keynesian's, like Steve Keen [debtdeflation.com] (the only person to both predict and model the current economic crisis before it developed), Stephanie Kelton [neweconomi...ctives.org], and Bill Mitchell [economicoutlook.net] (among many others), are going a long way towards dragging economics out of the dark ages, and towards developing it into a proper science.

It's quite hard to believe that economics, in its current neoclassical form, has survived the economic crisis and is still taken credibly; virtually the entire field outside of heterodox schools, failed to spot something as blindingly obvious as private-debt vs GDP, as a massive indicator of an upcoming crisis.

Obama calls for more spending? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916385)

You don't say?

I am sceptical (1, Interesting)

e3m4n (947977) | about a year ago | (#42916391)

after reviewing report after report of the BILLIONS of rounds of ammunition purchased in the last year (more than the entire amount of ammunition spent in 6yrs of conflict in Iraq) for agencies like the NOAA and Social Security Administration, I would not be in the least surprised to hear that this proposed spending increase was yet another way to buy and arm more federal branches of the government while doing nothing to the status quot of the functionality of the departments themselves. Increasing spending to a branch of government isnt the same thing as actually doing something productive, not anymore it seems. Ever wonder how, after having 3x the amount of IRS employees we did in 2008, for the first time in my living history the federal government has failed to get all the tax forms approved by jan 31st? Now all federal refunds depending on some of these forms are delayed until mid march. Included in this group is the amortization of mortgage interest.. thats no small percentage of population getting affected.

The IRS is growing to (1, Interesting)

tiqui (1024021) | about a year ago | (#42916831)

become the enforcer of Obamacare. In just 12 months, all Americans will be required to buy health insurance that meets Obama's specs. The IRS estimates that these policies will cost $20,000.00 per year per Adult (and $10,000.00 per year per child). If you do not buy this insurance for yourself, your spouse and your kids, you will be penalized by the IRS.... unless you are an illegal alien (they are specifically exempt from the penalty (it's right in the plain text of the law)). Oh, they do get the same care you get though if you and they show up at any hospital ER with equivalent injuries/illnesses; that's required by an earlier law that's still in force.

As for the many millions (billions now? could be I suppose) of rounds Obama has been having all the non-military agencies buy... I have heard no explanation... but it certainly dovetails interestingly with his desire to disarm the public; perhaps he is preparing to face a few million very angry people in the next couple of years and will need all the federal agents to be armed and assisting in the effort to disarm the public? (it's interesting to see so many elected democrats taking their masks off now and pushing legislation to grab guns) I do not know and I'm not one to prefer a foil hat, but there are questions that should be being asked, and would be asked if we still had any real journalists.

austerity for the poor, subsidies for the rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916475)

Perhaps Obama's proposals will lead to benefits, perhaps they won't. However, calls for austerity and budget tightening show either an ignorance of how our economy works, or a crippling indoctrination by those that would profit from the mindless parroting of Washington think tank talking points.

New technology doesn't just magically happen, it gets discovered and developed. That requires research and researchers. Research happens because of grants and investment. Researchers come from a developed and functional educational system.

All of these things require expenditures. Practically speaking, the only thing with big enough pockets for all of that is the government.

When Obama was elected, I had hope (4, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#42916567)

but then it changed.

How about we stop the stupid war in the middle east, spend that money on some good old space programs? How about we stop bullying other nations and instead work with them with a common goal, like space travel/colonies?

Why back to the Moon? (1)

wronkiew (529338) | about a year ago | (#42916579)

"Should the U.S. go back to its 'Let's put a man on the moon' ideology, or is the federal government fighting an uphill battle against newly emerging private space expeditions?"

Why is that the only choice? Why can't we do something useful in space, like build power plants or prospect for valuable minerals or, most pressingly, deflect asteroids? Those are worthy goals of a new space race. They are achievable with the resources we have.

Oh, right, because none of those involve sending humans to plant American flags on the rocks and planets of space. None of those provide a pretense for NASA to spend billions building a monster rocket that they can't finish and couldn't afford to fly if they did.

How about doing what Hitler did.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916695)

And fund the master race.

As others have said... (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | about a year ago | (#42916745)

I personally want more research and development specially in the area of space research! But how to pay for it? we are already borrowing as much as taxes bring in to the Federal Government. That unsustainable.

Won't Ever Happen (5, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | about a year ago | (#42916761)

I've been saying this for a while. The last space race we had allowed 440,000 engineers to make advances in almost every sector of industry. From materials that could withstand the cold of space and the heat of re-entry to the computer and hardware that controlled the spacecraft, that decade was one of the most productive periods of technical advancement in human history. And we don't stand a chance of doing it again, not because there's a shortage of big technological problems, but because of the fact that there is a large segment of the population that believes that the government should not be involved in such technological advancements - the private sector should do it alone. And here we stand, at the sunset of the American empire, and many Americans are too ideological to see the value in having the government work in cooperation with the private sector to make another technological push that will propel us further out into the lead. We've already reduced government's role in technology quite a bit and yet we seem to be losing ground to the Chinese who are using a combination of the public and private sector to push forward. I know many people are rightly concerned about our national debt, but you have to spend money to make money. We just have to be a LOT better at taking the money we make and actually paying off our debt for once.

Forget space (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42916807)

Let's have a standard of living race.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account