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People Believe NASA Funded As Well As US Military

Zonk posted more than 5 years ago | from the nasa-engineers-crying-into-their-keyboards-right-now dept.

Space 320

QuantumG writes "An essay on the Space Review site is reporting that a just-completed study indicates the average citizen has no idea how much funding NASA gets. Respondents generally estimated NASA's allocation of the national budget to be approximately 24% (it's actually closer to 0.58%) and the Department of Defense budget to be approximately 33% (it's actually closer to 21%). In other words, respondents believed NASA's budget approaches that of the Department of Defense, which receives almost 38 times more money. Once informed of the actual allocations, they were almost uniformly surprised. One of the more vocal participants exclaimed, 'No wonder we haven't gone anywhere!'"

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I boldly post (4, Funny)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388367)

where no one posted before.

Re:I boldly post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21388389)

Troll?!? Oh, Come on! that was funny, and on topic.

Re:I boldly post (2, Funny)

dgun (1056422) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388433)

That's not a troll. A troll for Slashdot would be something like:

OMG!1!@ Vista is awesome! I'm so glad Bill Gates invented computerz.

Or would that be flamebait?

Re:I boldly post (2, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389119)

Or would that be flamebait?
No, that would be the best argument ever for a "-10, Completely Moronic" moderation option :)

Increasing wouldn't necessarily be good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21388375)

If NASA's budget was increased, it would probably be at the expense of education, or something else, but not the military, so increasing their budget may lead to even bigger problems elsewhere and would not benefit humanity significantly.

At this point, you are correct (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388613)

We desperately need to balance the budget. reagan and now W. LOVED deficit spending, and it is killing us. As much as I love NASA, I think that USA would be better served keeping NASA budget the same, and balancing the budget. Once we get back to where Poppa Bush/Clinton took us, then we can talk about increasing NASA.

As it is, NASA is asking for another 2 billion to build constellation faster. But if they spent that on private rockets, USA would be better served. In particular, trips to the ISS SHOULD be by spacex/space dev/Scaled/etc. They will be capable of doing this in 2-3 years. I would also rather see NASA kill Ares I, and do just Ares IV/Ares V. VERY large rockets will be needed for the moon. Heck, as it is, Bigelow is a much better way to travel to and from the moon.

Re:At this point, you are correct (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21388697)

I think you mean every president and congress in the last 3 decades has loved deficit spending.

Also, the budget deficit has decreased dramatically under GWB. If you're going to make an argument you should at least get the facts straight first (assuming you care about facts...)

Re:At this point, you are correct (4, Interesting)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388859)

There is no desperate need to balance the budget, and the deficit is certainly not "killing" America. America's debt is about 65% of its GDP right now - how does your debt compare to your income, and what does the bank think of you as a credit risk? - and federal receipts are currently growing faster than federal outlays, leading to a budget balance some time by late 2009. America has practically infinite credit, and millions of people are willing to lend to us at a very reasonable rate. At the height of our debt-to-GDP ratio, after World War II, the federal debt was over 200% of our GDP, yet we survived.

Don't trust anyone forecasting the imminent doom of America. As Adam Smith said when told the loss of the states would ruin Britain, "there is much ruin in a nation." People have been predicting disaster for America and the world forever, and it is easy to find many examples. So far, all of these people whose predictions are not still in the future (I'm looking at you, 2012 cranks) have shown to be cranks.

Re:At this point, you are correct (4, Insightful)

mc moss (1163007) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389071)

Although we will be fine for the near future, anything can happen. Don't believe America is an empire that can last forever.

Re:At this point, you are correct (1)

pavel_987 (839726) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389263)

You may be right, but that doesn't change the fact that someone will be screwed over. I'm 20 years old right now and I don't want to be in the working class that has to suffer in order to change the federal debt. I guess I'll have to start looking for a job in Canada.

Re:At this point, you are correct (5, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389385)

There is no desperate need to balance the budget, and the deficit is certainly not "killing" America....At the height of our debt-to-GDP ratio, after World War II, the federal debt was over 200% of our GDP, yet we survived.

Actually, the reason that worked out is that the US was the only industrialized nation that didn't have her infrastructure hosed by war or owed another nation (looking at you UK which did just finally pay off their WWII debt to the US just recently) and the only other nation that was comparable industrial capacity wise was the USSR which was in its Stalinist era which didn't need a real GDP to get things done (Need a public project done? Thats what millions of German Pows and Russian prisioners for! No need to pay anyone)

Anyways, the point being is that the reason the US could afford to have such big debts is that there was no other player in town when it came to currency. You might as well be trading in gold because the US dollar pretty much was the life blood of Marshall Plan postwar Germany and Japan.

Secondly, the US produced more oil than it consumed and exported more products than any other nation (actually back then the US was a major exporter in oil) so it could deal with such large debts.

The problem now is that we don't produce much in our factories, import massive amounts of energy from overseas, and our currency isn't valued as much on the international market.

I'm not predicting doom and gloom, but unless we actually do something about our foreign energy addiction, debt, and weakened dollar we will have problems economically. Big energy exporters like Russia and cheap goods manufacturers like China will be the winners of the 21st century.

I'm sure some of you are saying "But with a weakened dollar, it will make US goods more desirable on the foreign market!". Even if China completely floated the Yuan to a fair and free market value against the dollar their goods would still be cheaper. Secondly, America has burned a lot of its goodwill overseas and most foreigners are currently frowning on US good due to political reasons.

Again this of course leads to the issue with energy imports. If Chinese goods were more expensive and it pushed for more manufacturing in the US it would still be at weakened pace due to the fact that energy costs of production, transportation, and wage inflation due to the fact it now costs more to ship and have people drive to get to the stores will mean the economy will be up the creek with a paddle of a while.

Again, we'll live and it won't be a place of anarchy but until we do something about the strength of the dollar and energy costs then things will be rather troublesome for a while.

Re:At this point, you are correct (3, Informative)

transami (202700) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389487)

That depends on a lot of factors.

  • Are they counting the GDP in the same way as they used to? (No.)
  • What does the GDP consist of these days versus back then? (More financial services and less product manufacturing.)
  • Who owns the debt? (We're well over 40% foreign investment now.)


You can't just compare one time to another without considering the differences. And don't forget that we were paid back a good sum from WWII nations for our war efforts (In fact, the final payment was just two years ago or so).

Re:Increasing wouldn't necessarily be good (1, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389415)

If NASA's budget was increased, it would probably be at the expense of education, or something else, but not the military, so increasing their budget may lead to even bigger problems elsewhere and would not benefit humanity significantly.

99942 Apophis [wikipedia.org] would disagree.

Yeah... I know it will most likley miss in both 2029 and then again in 2036, but the point is that all of the threats to humanity impacts are the greatest threat. Imagine a Tunguska event happening today over even a sparsely populated area.

I mean what is the point of educated children and a nation protected from terrorists if we end up being blown to bits with an impact event.

It may not happen for another 100 to 100,000 years but what is the point of all we do today if our ancestors are going to be dead anyways. I certainly hope by 2030 we won't still be having the discussion on how NASA isn't that important in the scheme of things.

Re:Increasing wouldn't necessarily be good (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21389567)

If NASA's budget was increased, it would probably be at the expense of education

This statement is indicative of the same ignorance of government spending that the study was trying to highlight. The US Federal government spends almost nothing on education, that having been deemed an expense best borne at more local levels. Your state pays the lions share of government contributions to university education and your county/city pays the lions share of government contributions to primary and secondary education. Most of us think that's the way it should be: it allows the residents of the school district, who pay the bills, a great deal of flexibility in exactly how and how much money is spent. If you involve the Feds in primary education, they're going to set sweeping policies that have to be applied equally in rural schools of 50 students and inner-city schools of 5000, and those policies will suck at the extremes. If you think NASA should be a higher priority than defense, tell your congresscritter you think we should forego a flight of 6 F-22s ($137M each or $800M together), a single Aegis destroyer ($1B each), or a single B-2 ($2.2B), and give the savings to NASA. One destroyer is 10% of NASA's $10B budget and would be a huge boon.

Seriously: it's your money, find out how the guy/gal you elected is making you spend it. Odds are, you'll find the highly publicized programs that you like but receive a pittance in comparison with programs you're not crazy about.

Vocal Participant (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21388385)

One of the more vocal participants exclaimed, 'No wonder we haven't gone anywhere!'"

Must be talking about Iraq

Iraq War (4, Insightful)

mrbill1234 (715607) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388393)

With what has been spent on the Iraq war, the US could have funded a national health service.

Re:Iraq War (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388483)

the US could have funded a national health service.

It could have funded a a bit more than that.

There's a nice funding comparison chart that puts some perspective on it here [cosmicvariance.com]

Mod Parent Up (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388565)

Now that puts things into perspective....

Re:Iraq War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21388541)

Well, but that wouldn't make any of our usual cronies any richer, would it? "National health system".. - one can dream.

Not even close. (5, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388879)

Considering that medicare has cost us significantly more during the course of the war than the war has, the money we've spent on the war is probably not enough to pay for national health care. We spend about $300,000,000,000 on medicare each year, while the total budget for the iraq war has been less than $500,000,000,000. Then again, it depends what you mean when you say "national health care". Perhaps the program you had in mind is significantly smaller medicare?

What ever happened to calling it "universal health care" or "socialized medicine". Calling it "national health care" almost makes it sound noble and patriotic. If it's a social program, what's so wrong with calling it what it is? Once we have it, it's more likely that we will refer to it with swear words anyway, just as we would any other government program or agency. Maybe we should just call it "bitch care" or "fucking shit" right now and get it over with.

Fun times will be had by all.

Re:Not even close. (1)

mrbill1234 (715607) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388933)

Depending on who you ask, the total cost of the war could well be $2 trillion. If that money was spend for instance on giving every US citizen access to free primary care - where conditions can be caught early, and preventative steps taken for conditions which are likely to occur in a particular individual - I think it would be money better spent.

Re:Iraq War (1, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388917)

With what has been spent on the Iraq war, the US could have funded a national health service.
Are you sure about that? Considering that the British NHS costs about $200 million a year, and America having five times the population, it would cost at least a trillion dollars a year, over twice the budget of the entire US military.

Re:Iraq War (1)

mrbill1234 (715607) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388953)

You mean $200 billion - right?

I'm not sure an NHS type system would be right for the US - but there are steps which can be taken to improve healthcare in the US. For instance, introduce free primary care - i.e. you're sick, and want to see a doctor, and for yearly checkups.

Even in the UK where all services are essentially "free" (it gets paid via taxation) - there is still a large private healthcare market. I don't see why this could not continue in the US alongside some sort of state funded primary care.

Re:Iraq War (1)

cmat (152027) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389333)

Erm, 200 million x 5 = 1 billion or 1/1000th of what you said it would cost... did you get your units wrong?

Yes, but you forgot what is already spent on HC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21389405)

If you reduce by 20-30% spent on paperwork, billing, duplicated services where is the numbers?

If you also add even a portion of what is already spent on Healthcare, where are the numbers? Kaiser on web said 2 trillion in 2005.

We are talking about freeing up trillions by stopping the spending for just a few years, which I say we do until we return to some kind of fiscal balance.

Military budget (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388397)

I just can't believe USA people put up with spending 21% of their national budget on the military.

Re:Military budget (1)

beej (82035) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388459)

Believe it. We're willing to pay $260 billion a year on interest on the national debt.

Re:Military budget (3, Interesting)

dlevitan (132062) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388463)

I, as a US citizen, actually don't have that many complaints about this. I'll also state that I'm a PhD student, so I have a bias towards more science spending

1. A decent chunk of the military budget goes to science and technology development. And very often, the military does a pretty good job of giving money to promising projects that otherwise would not get any money. The computer and arpanet are only two of the very cool military funded projects. Take a look at DARPA sometime - some of the projects are rather amazing if they work out (there was an article about this some time ago).
2. The military provides a good place for many people to go after high school and keeps me out of the military. Personally, I'm opposed to mandatory military service, though I do see some of its benefits. I just know that for me, it would have interfered too much with school for me to be happy with it. In any case, joining the military gives people a chance to mature, learn skills, and make a decent living. Its not for everyone, but from what I've seen it helps a lot of people. And I have no problem paying those people to protect the US. I'd much rather that many of these people are given a good chance at a good life than roaming the streets homeless. You can claim here that its not fair that the poor are more likely to serve in the military. I'm not debating that point but am stating the benefits.
3. As a US citizen, I'm happy that the US has the best military in the world. And I recognize that this costs a lot of money. I'm also glad that we are a superpower. This does not mean I support our foreign policy, but I like the fact that the US maintains a military force like this.
4. While a large chunk of the federal budget, other countries spend more on the military as a percentage of GDP. Yes its a lot, but I personally support the spending that is in the actual budget (though, again, not the wars). Take a look at Wikipedia's [wikipedia.org] page on the US military budget. Most of the money is spent on maintenance, personnel, procurement (building new weapons), and R&D. That doesn't sound too bad to me.

Re:Military budget (4, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388819)

3. As a US citizen, I'm happy that the US has the best military in the world.

I take issue with this statement, because I know for a fact that the UK has the best military in the world.

More seriously though, everybody I know believes as a 'well known fact' that their own country's military is the worlds best. These are otherwise sensible and not particularly nationalisatic people usually capable of making objective judgements. That's a startlingly good piece of marketing however you look at it.

Re:Military budget (1)

kayditty (641006) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389281)

That looks like a provocation if I've ever seen one. Let's duel, Britain.

Re:Military budget (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389559)

We did. Twice. They burned our capitol, and we dumped their tea in a river. The heavy cost has made us unwilling to engage in any further hostilities.

Re:Military budget (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389211)

You're saying you don't mind the military budget since a significant part is spent on science. But if the military budget weren't so obscenely large, there would be more to spend on science (and not under the guise of the military). Wouldn't that be better?

Re:Military budget (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388475)

The fact that it's so low leads me to assume that they included Social Security as part of the national budget, but it's funded entirely from its own special tax rather than from general revenue, and is so different from the rest of the budget that it's usually worth mentioning it on its own. It's a program that's actually MAKING money right now, and the surplus, though it is used to finance debt (at interest) is not directly diverted to other programs, but is held out for future Social Security spending (which will, in fact, eventually exceed the program's income and deplete all of that banked-up money, if nothing is changed). It's essentially self-contained and untouchable.

The % of military spending gets worse if you just look at how much it eats from the general budget, i.e. money that could be spent on something else (or not at all). Sometimes Iraq and Afghanistan are left out of figures like this, too, as so much of the funding for them gets tacked on in "supplemental" bills.

Re:Military budget (1)

GrievousMistake (880829) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388501)

They generally know very little about how the money are allocated.
In a similar study about foreign aid, the majority of people believed the US gave over 1% of the national budget in foreign aid. (against an actual 0.17%) [source] [americans-world.org]
I'd like to decry their apathy and ignorance, but I myself know very little about my own country's budget allocations.

It's a pretty huge disparity, though. Did they really believe everything else had to manage with the remaining 43%? I'll bet a survey with more items would show the average citizen of USA believe the national budget allocations adds up to a lot more than 100%. Does anyone know the real/perceived numbers for other science/research?

Re:Military budget (0, Flamebait)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388505)

I just can't believe USA people put up with spending 21% of their national budget on the military.

First, before this morphs into yet another uninformed Education vs. Military spending flame-fest, I should mention that's only 21% of the Federal budget. If you included individual state taxes, you'd see it's a much smaller percentage overall.

Also, it's odd that people on slashdot are so quick to encourage massive funding for NASA, because of the technology they develop, yet disparage military spending, which includes a lot of advanced R&D.

And lastly, for better or worse, the US military has been the police force of the world for 60 years, and costs reflect that. The UN doesn't send troops anywhere unless the US volunteers to spend the vast majority of them. No other country has any intention of fielding a blue-water navy, so it's the US Navy that is protecting international trade, even though the vast majority is not going to or from the US. Since the rest of the world isn't paying anything for this service, it has to come out of US Federal taxes.

Strange that this remains the situation today, even though the EU is now economically as large as the US, and has a larger population. It seems only the US is willing to do the hard, thankless work, and the rest of the world is happy to enjoy the benefits, while criticizing everything the US does out the other side of their mouth.

Re:Military budget (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388537)

Also, it's odd that people on slashdot are so quick to encourage massive funding for NASA, because of the technology they develop, yet disparage military spending, which includes a lot of advanced R&D.
Also, NASA is a PR friendly way to fund ballistics research. Making a bomb is one thing, making somethign to deliver the bomb accurately 20,000 km away is a harder engineering problem.

Re:Military budget (2, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388895)

Also, NASA is a PR friendly way to fund ballistics research.


You might have made a very well reasoned argument along that line back in the 1950's when NASA was first created, and certainly there have been some refinements of launch technology that have been transfered from NASA to the U.S. Air Force (who runs the actual ballistic missile program in the USA).

But who needs a ballistic nuclear missile to make the journey to Saturn? Or Pluto?

I just don't buy this common argument, and it has very little to do with reality or what NASA actually gets involved with.

The bulk of NASA spending is currently on maintaining the current "army" of workers who service the Space Shuttle, and that is one of the many reasons for the current debacle that surrounds the Ares I & Ares V programs. NASA is more a pork barrel program (starting with Lyndon Johnson back in the 1960's) to "earmark" technical research centers throughout the USA, and a jobs program for PhDs in America.

Because these individuals with PhDs are pretty bright, and they do come up with some cool stuff from time to time, it can be argued in some ways that there is a huge benefit, both economically and politically to have people employed this way. It is also nice to know that somebody in the federal government is doing the way far out "what if?" thinking about what the future of the USA might be like 100 or 300 years from now.

I just don't see how Ares I development is going to help create a new generation of ballistic missiles for the Air Force.

Re:Military budget (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388571)

It seems only the US is willing to do the hard, thankless work, and the rest of the world is happy to enjoy the benefits, while criticizing everything the US does out the other side of their mouth.


Well, it's generally accepted that that's the state of affairs that tend to come around in a unipolar (one superpower, a global hegemon) world. That position is, in many ways, more precarious than a bipolar world, since there isn't as much of a necessity to rely on a superpower for protection from the other one, since there isn't another one. It's also relatively safe to piss off the hegemon, since any action that country takes to enforce its hegemony is likely to build antipathy globally.

Don't worry, before long we'll get a rival (or, more likely, coalition of rivals) that can go toe-to-toe with us, and then you can stop worrying about how everyone's so damned ungrateful.

Re:Military budget (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21388633)

Don't worry, before long we'll get a rival (or, more likely, coalition of rivals) that can go toe-to-toe with us, and then you can stop worrying about how everyone's so damned ungrateful.

Sadly, I think that you right correct on the "before long". The problem is that China is building as fast as possible. Combine that with Venezula, Cuba, Syria, Iran, North Korea, etc. and we are in for a rough time.

Re:Military budget (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388775)

Venezula

I never have quite got this. What on earth is America's big problem with Venezuela? Are they threatening to charge for their oil in euros or something?

Re:Military budget (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388885)

One word: Socialism.

The US attempts to eliminate socialism wherever it finds any. The real reason there were so many authoritarian socialist regimes in the 20th century is that those are the only ones that can survive the assaults of the US (and to be fair, plenty of other states including the USSR) are the highly militaristic ones.

Re:Military budget (3, Insightful)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388651)

As a Brit I will hold my hands up and publically state that I do, from time to time, engage in some playful anti-americanism. I don't offer any apologises for this however, as I happen to know that many Americans engage in some playful anti-britishness (we do, after all, receive many of your syndicated television programmes here, so get to see some of it first hand).

Having said that, I do appreciate certain benefits that the US provides and, I have visited the states on several occasions (not recently, as I am disturbed by stories I have heard on border policy) and I have found that most Americans that I actually meet to be generally quite nice folks (with some exceptions, but no more than anywhere else in the world).

What irks me, and you do this in your post, is when actions made by the US are made out to be uniquely selfless and benevolent. This simply *does not happen*. No government is a charity, every penny spent must be demonstrated to serve a self interest. What tends to happen is that an action is taken that has some kind of positive secondary effect and that secondary effect is made to look like the primary motivation, but this is nothing more than a bank robber bringing statistcs on how many innocent people that the bank he robbed happened to forclose on in the previous year.

Iraq is a case in point. Weapons of mass destruction, The oppresion of Saddam, or oil revenue/security. One of these things was a primary motivation, the other two were secondary effects spun to look like a primary motivation. Perhaps I am being arrogant myself here, but I am sure that anyone sensible understands that Iraq was a war for resources. Hell, I can even say I understand that motivation (although, the cost has been far too high).

If you are going to praise the US work that goes into protecting trade routes, at least be honest and say that this is done primary to protect the interests of US corporations (and this is true even if the actual goods move between two other states) and that the whole world benefits from the secondary effect of more secure trade routes. For that, I salute you and your culture, but please don't try to make it sound like it is done from the goodness of your hearts.

Re:Military budget (5, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388687)

The UN doesn't send troops anywhere unless the US volunteers to spend the vast majority of them.

Why must you turn Slashdot into a house of lies?

Current UN peacekeeping operations [wikipedia.org] .

MINURCAT: all European, half of them French.
MONUC: a wide variety of nationalities, none American; largest contingent is from Pakistan.
UNOCI: troops principally from Bangladesh, Bénin, France, Ghana, Jordan, Morocco, Niger, Pakistan, Sénégal and Togo.
UNMEE: 1,500 of 3,300 troops are from India.
UNMIL: various nationalities, none American.
UNMIS: again many nations, none American.
UNAMID: not in Darfur yet, but among the nations stating that they are likely to participate you will not find the USA.
MINURSO: many nations, none American.
MINUSTAH: principally Brazilian, with other South American nations providing the rest.
UNMOGIP: no Americans.
UNMIT: no Americans [un.org] though Wikipedia does list the US; maybe there was one guy who's since gone home.
UNFICYP: no Americans, troops from many nations led by Argentina.
UNOMIG: this is the first one I've found where there ARE Americans, though the bulk of the force seems to be Russian.
UNMIK: substantial American presence, 3,000 of the 16,000 troops in Kosovo. At the height of the operation the US provided 7,000 of 50,000, just ahead of Germany on 6,000 and equal to France, but well behind Britain's 19,000.
UNDOF: Austria, Canada, India, Japan, Nepal, Poland, and Slovakia.
UNIFIL: no Americans, largest contingents from France, Germany and Italy. UNTSO: has some Americans, can't find a breakdown by nationality, but the total strength of the force is 150.

So, er, yes. Thank you, America, for your great contribution to UN peacekeeping operations worldwide. Now we see why that colossal defence budget of yours is good and necessary.

Re:Military budget (1)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389595)

Most Americans have an artificial hatred for UN for some strange reason.

Re:Military budget (1)

hdparm (575302) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388555)

Study-respondents actually put up with 33%, which what they believed was a figure. America is very specific in military needs, though but 21% seems hell of a lot of money. Must be more than 500b.

Re:Military budget (1)

rubberchickenboy (1044950) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389253)

Study-respondents actually put up with 33%, which what they believed was a figure.

So, how long until the powers-that-be up that percentage to 33%, knowing that most people already believe it to be so?

Re:Military budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21388567)

Well we put up with $367 BILLION going to unemployment and welfare, and that's 2/3 of the military budget!

Re:Military budget (2, Informative)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388617)

Part of it is we provide protection for other countries. An example is Japan. Japan spends very little of their budget on defense but we provide military protection. It began over WW II and not wanting Japan to maintain a sizeable military but we inherited a lot of the expense, Japan provides part of the funding. Similar with the Panama Canal. There are lots of examples including bases in Europe. Then there are things like arms subsidies for countries like Israel, but I'm not sure which budget those fall under. Most of the money really doesn't go for defense of our shores so much as our involvement worldwide. And yes a large number of us would love to see the military come home and stay there but that's not likely to happen anytime soon. It's the downside of democracy there's always going to be a percentage that disagree with the majority. We just spent nearly a trillion dollars, and counting, fighting what started out as a few hundred to a few thousand people. It would have been cheaper and saved lives giving each terrorist ten million and send them to Vegas. A few months of gambling and brothel hopping would have taught them the error of their ways.

Re:Military budget (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388877)

A few months of gambling and brothel hopping would have taught them the error of their ways.

Except that it wouldn't. Not everyone thinks like Americans think, and not everyone considers hedonism a worthy pursuit. Some people just need killing.

Re:Military budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21389221)

tsotha (720379) said:

Some people just need killing.

What you said may not be politically correct but it is correct nonetheless.

yes "protection" (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389023)

much like Al Capone provided to Chicago in the 20s.

Re:Military budget (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389181)

It's the downside of democracy there's always going to be a percentage that disagree with the majority.
Really ?
I thought the downside of democracy (in the first past the post system anyway) was that the ruling party rarely constitutes the majority. Hence the majority don't get a say in the governing of their country. Besides which, is dissent with popular opinion properly described as a "downside" ? Perhaps you would prefer totalitarianism.

What do you mean (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21388399)

One of the more vocal participants exclaimed, 'No wonder we haven't gone anywhere!'"
We've gone to war, where you wanna be!

24% (it's actually closer to 0.58%) (4, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388405)

So, 12%?

Re:24% (it's actually closer to 0.58%) (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388439)

I'm sorry. What?

Re:24% (it's actually closer to 0.58%) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21388641)

Hehe, i chuckled. He made fun of the usage of "it's actually closer to" instead of "it's", as technically "it's actually closer to 0.58%)" would include all numbers (0.58%+24%)/2. So "12%" fits the bill as well ;)

Re:24% (it's actually closer to 0.58%) (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388679)

lol. Thanks for the play-by-play. I missed it the first time through.

Re:24% (it's actually closer to 0.58%) (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388729)

And they say mathematics never ruined anyone's life...

Priorities (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388413)

respondents believed NASA's budget approaches that of the Department of Defense, which receives almost 38 times more money.

Bombing stuff is important.

The even more surprising thing is (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388425)

that the Iraq and Afghanistan War aren't even part of that massive DoD budget!

Re:The even more surprising thing is (3, Funny)

dgun (1056422) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388449)

Well of course not. Those particular expenses are on the Visa. Thank God we can just print more money, huh?

Spacetravel does not make oil (1)

jointm1k (591234) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388429)

War does.

Re:Spacetravel does not make oil (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388543)

Actually, this war retains oil, which will otherwise be taken away from us, making the problem even worse.

Not that we didn't create the situation; If we hadn't started the war, we wouldn't be in this position in the first place. However, suggesting that the Iraq war was originally about profiting off of oil is ludicrous.

Re:Spacetravel does not make oil (0, Troll)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388881)

Not that we didn't create the situation; If we hadn't started the war, we wouldn't be in this position in the first place. However, suggesting that the Iraq war was originally about profiting off of oil is ludicrous.


No. It was about Halliburton and a thousand other no-bid contractors profiting off of everything else.

I do hope that Bush, Cheney, and their entire administration are put on trial after the next president takes oath.

Re:Spacetravel does not make oil (1)

hjo3 (890059) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389257)

Hey, Titan has lots of hydrocarbons.

Argh - study "in preparation" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21388453)

In a just-completed study [6], we asked respondents what percentage of the national budget is allocated to NASA and to the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Health and Human Services, among other agencies. NASAs allocation, on average, was estimated to be approximately 24% of the national budget (the NASA allocation in 2007 was approximately 0.58% of the budget.) The next highest over-estimate was for the Department of Defense, which received approximately 21% of the budget in 2007 and was estimated on average to receive approximately 33%.
Footnote 6 - Dittmar, M. L. (in preparation). Public perception and NASA: Are We Asking the Right Questions?


I really, really want to know how that was phrased and who was asked. That's just too jaw-dropping. A quarter of the national budget is believed to be spent on NASA?! Is it really that bad in the US now?

Re:Argh - study "in preparation" (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388525)

Worse are what people think we spend on "welfare", especially in "red" states.

Re:Argh - study "in preparation" (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388549)

And people who think illegal immigrants are getting welfare and other such benefits.

Silly Humans (-1, Troll)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388471)

Unless they are protecting me from a collision with an asteroid I could care less what NASA does. I know their effective results are centuries away. They should be researching innovative computer and material technologies (think space suits and rocket fuel), not attempting space travel with our primitive tools and knowledge. If you can't stop a piece of foam from knocking out a few critical heat sheilding tiles, you have no business attempting flight of any kind. jetting to Alpha Centari using our current technology is a joke. NASA is wasting money by shutting out fringe engineers with inovative ideas. Maybe they should spend their time integrating ideas between other countries space programs so earthlings stop reinventing the wheel. Oh shit, that would be communism.

Re:Silly Humans (2, Insightful)

dgun (1056422) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388485)

They should be researching innovative computer and material technologies

I think they do that.

US military spending (5, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388477)

The amount of resources the US spends on the military is obscene, IMHO.

As I referenced in my /. post earlier this month
( here: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=352789&cid=21263533 [slashdot.org] )

The US spends almost 60% of all global military spending, not counting the 2 undeclared wars, Iraq and Afganistan. That is $623 Billion out of a total of about $1.1 Trillion. The Iraq war is estimated to cost over 1.2 Trillion(ish), with about 500B spent so far. Those are direct costs - cash spent, and does not count indirect costs or opportunity costs or the human toll.

Some details can be found here:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/spending.htm [globalsecurity.org]

and here

For me, I'm done keeping quiet. I'm done being polite. I'm done hoping that these wrongs will be corrected, eventually. I bring up the reality of what is happening in the US in common discussions with people. It makes people uncomfortable, as it should. Criminals are running the show, and no one has or will step to stop them. Now that the US has installed a chief lawman that is covering up past crimes, there is no more room for polite waiting and hoping things get better legally.

Re:US military spending (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388643)

Criminals are running the show, and no one has or will step to stop them.
Psst. There's a presidential election next year. Bush & Co are out.

Re:US military spending (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389033)

And most of Bush's potential replacements are as bad or worse, it appears. Ron Paul excepted.

Re:US military spending (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21389265)

And most of Bush's potential replacements are as bad or worse, it appears. Ron Paul excepted.


Ron Paul is the exception of course because he is not a potential replacement.

He's just loony bait.

He's gathered quite a following among loonies, crackpots, conspiracy theorists, isolationists, and last but not least the anti-semites and white supremacists.

Re:US military spending (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21389389)

you forgot that he's popular among the asperger's addled overgrown adolescent Randroid libertarian wanna-be's populating Slashdot.

Re:US military spending (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389539)

Doesn't matter. They are all members of the same old boys club. You can change the figurehead, but not the body of incompetents behind it.

Re:US military spending (0)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388705)

As far as I can see, the war in Iraq is thoroughly justified, well-executed, and cheap in both material and human terms. Compared to pretty much any war of comparable scale, any way. Compared to a family picnic perhaps not so much, but you'd have to be insane to make that comparison.

Re:US military spending (2, Insightful)

nbritton (823086) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388937)

"As far as I can see, the war in Iraq is thoroughly justified, well-executed, and cheap in both material and human terms."
It would have been cheaper to buy Iraq outright. Every person in Iraq could have gotten $40,000 and the US a 51st state for a cool 1.07 trillion... George is an idiot.

Re:US military spending (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389479)

Yea, ummm, we already tried that. We put a guy named Saddam in charge. Didn't work out so good.

Re:US military spending (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388731)

Look at military spending as percentage of GDP. That's what makes a superpower these days. The US economy is so much larger than most others that a relatively small percentage of GDP adds up to a huge raw number.

Try Truth and Politics [truthandpolitics.org] for some interesting charts and numbers. Take a look at this PDF from the Library of Congress's Congressional Research Division [fas.org] for comparisons to other countries including charts to rank by total dollars and an alphabetical list.

The US spends far less of the country's total buying power on defense than many other countries, and much of that is spent helping defend allies around the globe. Those allies tend to be happy for the help, although the specific methods employed often come into question.

Re:US military spending (2, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388829)

The amount of resources the US spends on the military is obscene, IMHO.


If that is the case, what about the money that the USA spends on social programs?

Or worse yet, servicing federal debt?

Military spending in the USA isn't even the #2 item in the federal budget today, and if the Pentagon were to be demolished, every member of the armed forces discharged, all of the bases closed... or in effect the Department of Defense eliminated from the federal budget, there would be virtually no impact on overall federal spending.

I'm not saying that in many cases some huge mismanagement of funds spent toward the military is inappropriate, but comparisons in the way that you have made them are hugely inappropriate.

Furthermore, I would strongly question the figure of the USA spending 60% of all global military expenditures. While I have no doubt that you can find some source like some UN agency to proffer those numbers, there are so many things to account for actual defense spending that it is difficult at best to compare one country to another, much less every country in the world. Particularly when it comes to military spending, there are so many things that affect exchange rates, the amount of money spent on military pay, conscription rates, and more that have a huge influence on the actual "cost" of maintaining a military. The U.S. Department of Defense is pretty open (particularly in a democracy that requires public accountability for these expenditures), is staffed by an all-volunteer force, and has an exchange rate with other countries that is at best unfavorable. Compare that to China where there are conscripts, do not necessarily publish accurate figures about how much they spend on their military (and no real need to do so), and a deliberate manipulation of the exchange rates to encourage more trade imbalances going their way. Very few countries in the world even have a political climate to derive accurate figures for military spending that even attempting to generate those numbers is difficult at best, and for most a hopeless cause that is more of a pure guess.

America can easily afford military spending at its current levels, and by itself I don't think this is a reason to post such a "hate America" diatribe here. You can be critical of specific policies and perhaps of perceived political injustices due to being a political heavyweight in world politics. But otherwise you are being clueless about the topic you are writing about here. Far more countries have a much greater proportion of their economic capability getting dumped into military spending, and use their militaries not for fighting external aggressors but for oppression of their civilian populations.

Re:US military spending (1)

Mork29 (682855) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389109)

Although I can provide no links, I do remember seeing many breakdowns of how "war money" is spent. A good portion of that was on equipment and R&D. When I say equipment, I mean non-expendables. A know alot of money has been spent on converting all of our HMMWVs (Humvee) to be up-armored. It seems obvious that having a whole bunch of troops running around on a battlefield without armor was a bad thing. So, the Army added armor to any vehicle that can handle armor. As a Soldier (but not speaking on behalf of the Army or US Government), I'm glad that we learned this against an adversary which doesn't pose a threat to us domestically. Learning this against a large world power would have been probably been costly. Now, the Army has loads and loads of uparmored HMMWVs. Although it was a war expense, it should have been a peace time expense. However, people are treating these numbers like the money would have never been spent if we hadn't gone to war. It's possible that's true, but the money isn't going into "consumables" 100%. Yes, we now spend more money on feeding soldiers, because the food is shipped. However, the Soldiers would have been fed in the states anyway. Again, it's money that is attributed to the war budget, but a portion would have been spent in peace anyway.

Now, I'm not saying I think we should or shouldn't spend this much money on defense, I'm simply saying that you should take any numbers that are based around something so politically charged with a grain of salt. I think all government budgets, it could be shrunk by using the money better. That's a given though. Education, Health Care, Defense, and even NASA have huge amounts of monetary waste simply because of their size. There will be people who mismanage the money (either through mistakes or malice). I'd still like to see alot of that waste go away.

DISCLAIMER: I am a Soldier currently deployed in support of OIF. My above views in no way represent the views of the US Government or the US Army. The above is an indication only of my personal view points and observations.

Re:US military spending (2, Funny)

Gigiya (1022729) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389569)

I bring up the reality of what is happening in the US in common discussions with people.
You must be that guy at work.

The post may be wrong. (2, Insightful)

cuby (832037) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388493)

From CIA Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html [cia.gov] :
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 4.06% (2005 est.).
Does this 4.06% (~530 billion dollars) of GDP (2006 est.) correspond to 21% of the federal budget?

If this is true, the federal budget represents ~2.524 trillion dollars, or ~19.3% of GDP... It seems a lot.

Re:The post may be wrong. (2, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388557)

Does this 4.06% (~530 billion dollars) of GDP (2006 est.) correspond to 21% of the federal budget? If this is true, the federal budget represents ~2.524 trillion dollars, or ~19.3% of GDP... It seems a lot.

Seems pretty low, actually. The British government typically spends something like 40% of GDP. The US tends to be a lot further right, and so generally has lower taxes, but I don't think it's that much less. Possibly the individual state budgets are not counted in that figure?

Americans know lots of things. (4, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388509)

Americans might not know NASA versus Defense Department budgets and all that useless crap, but I bet the majority could pick Britney Spears' crotch out of a line-up.

Re:Americans know lots of things. (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388531)

Or could tell you who is winning Dancing with the Stars. That ought to use a little bit of that massive defense budget on the bozos that came up with that crap show.

Re:Americans know lots of things. (2, Funny)

xkillkillx (987532) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388801)

Leave Britney alone!

Federal budget vs. GDP (5, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388599)

Those are interesting figures, but I'd argue that the important figure (besides the straight-out money amounts) isn't NASA/defense spending as a portion of the federal budget, but rather how they compare as a percentage of GDP (gross domestic product). For FY 2006, the federal budget was 18.4% of total GDP, meaning that NASA was 0.107% of GDP and defense spending was 3.86% of GDP. Despite this, NASA still spends more on spaceflight and space science than the rest of the world combined.

That said, even though NASA could probably use more funding, misallocation of resources is still a huge problem. I agree heartily with this recent comment by Clark Lindsay over at RLV News:

http://hobbyspace.com/nucleus/?itemid=4926 [hobbyspace.com]

Keith Cowing responds to Mike Griffin's claim that he did not cause the VSE budget problems: Mike Griffin on VSE Woes: "I did not put us into this position" - NASA Watch - Nov.15.07

        You most certainly did get the agency into the predicament that it is in today. Instead of going off and reinventing the wheel (Ares 1) you could have bought EELVs off the shelf from a ULA catalog and focused only on CEV development. You forced a rigid and recycled architecture upon the agency - one that requires large monolithic launchers - when in fact you could have come up with one that used existing launchers or straightforward derivations thereof.

I can certainly support that scolding. I think Ares 1 is a disaster and Ares V is a bad dream. However, rather than NASA choosing an EELV outright, I would have preferred a Super-COTS competition in 2006 that went something like the following:
* A budget of two or three billion dollars for Phase 1
* As with COTS, the systems proposed should be capable of supplying a minimum amount cargo to the ISS per year but be upgradable to crew operations no later than 2011.
* The ULA firms would be invited to enter their proposals along with the entrepreneurial rocket firms
* Four commercial launcher proposals would be selected for Phase 1
* The entrants would decide for themselves whether a capsule or lifting body or whatever is the most cost effective system for cargo/crew delivery.
* Assuming at least two firms successfully fulfilled Phase 1, the two with the lowest cost/kg to the ISS would each be guaranteed half of all NASA launches to LEO in, say, the period 2010-2015.
* NASA would focus on lunar exploration systems that would work within the capabilities of the COTS transports. (This would no doubt involve a more modular approach than is currently envisioned.)

Too late now, of course, to run such a COTS competition. It's possible, though, that Lockheed-Martin has used the current studies with Bigelow and SpaceDev to prepare a proposal for NASA launch services just in case the next administration cancels Ares 1. On the other hand, if the Falcon 9 initial flights go well, there will be no need for such alternatives.

Re:Federal budget vs. GDP (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#21389117)

... but rather how they compare as a percentage of GDP

Why does it make sense to divide this statistic by GDP?

Dividing by GDP is statistical trick used in the US to make numbers look lower. Did you know that the USA has the lowest IQ per GDP on the planet? What does that prove?

The war against humanity (2, Interesting)

Ultimate Statement (1185123) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388717)

As many of you are already starting to realize, governments are not working for the total benefit of the public. They can be manipulated into making our lives harder than necessary, and they do it quite efficiently. Wars are invented, monetary systems hold a fierce grip on people making them their slaves, etc.
All this anxiety, hate, disillusion, and sorrow is one of their aims. Why? because an ignorant, weak and depressed humanity can be more easily manipulated into its own destruction, whether it be by itself, or by a treat from outer space, and this is the final goal.
What can we do? Wish for a change, spread the good, think positive, and motivate a change from within. The world is not as bad as they want us to believe, there is more good that anything else, but that doesn't make the news.
All I am saying: The darkest moment is right before the dawn.

Re:The war against humanity (1)

Terminus32 (968892) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388765)

So very true, I couldn't agree more! :-)

budget (1)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388875)

While the allocated military budget may be 21%, once you take into account all the related costs (i.e., costs you didn't have with so large a military), the military probably accounts for more than half of the federal budget.

What is truly scary, however, is not this little factoid about NASA, it's that people who are supposed to live in a democracy and keep whining about taxes have no idea where their money goes.

So, let me summarize it simply: if you want lower taxes, don't vote in a militaristic nut next time.

We have been to ... (2, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388967)

Typical uninformed citizen moans 'No wonder we haven't gone anywhere!'"

Not True! We have been to Iraq, Kuwait, Afganistan, Panama ... Soon we will be going to Iran, Pakistan... What rot these guys are talkin' 'bout?

I'm reminded of what Ike said: (5, Interesting)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 5 years ago | (#21388993)

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

A strong military is essential to safeguarding liberty and the Republic. But a strong military doesn't have to be one of excess. The military has become a tool for delivering profits to Lockheed Martin and Boeing and other conglomerates under the auspice of national security. It's a tool congressmen use to allocate military projects to their districts, whether or not such projects benefit the mission at hand.

Some examples of the Pentagon's famed waste and corruption:

The Crusader artillery project, finally canceled in 2002 after $11 billion was spent on it. Donald Rumsfeld said it wasn't mobile enough for the 21st century. What is so wrong with the current Paladin artillery platform that this project was required in the first place?

And what about the Coast Guard's troubled modernization efforts [reuters.com] , contracted out to Lockheed and Northrop? The project is $7 billion overbudget and nine years behind schedule, yet both of these companies still continue to work on it. And Lockheed and Northrop will continue working on projects for decades to come despite this.

The Air Force and Navy have F-15s, F-16s, and F-18s. But they're building the F-22 and some F-35 joint strike aircraft, too? At what point is enough enough? If the branches could afford dabbling in that stuff, then they should go for it. But it's a matter of prioritizing; money is not infinite, despite what the debt-ridden government believes. Maintain the systems we have, many of which are at the breaking point after years of service in Afghanistan and Iraq. Churning out more wonder weapons seems pointless when our current crop of fighters perform just fine.

There comes a point where we must see this game for what it is. The challenge is in creating a ready, able, and fearsome fighting force while not indulging the excesses of the military-industrial complex. And I know that many great things have come from Pentagon-sponsored R&D projects. But these programs can still exist without spending countless sums of money.

And this doesn't even take into account that such a fearsome military is all too often misused in wars of choice like Vietnam and Iraq. So we spend all of this money to build a huge military, then spend even more money to misuse it...without ever having declared war. Brilliant.

Re:I'm reminded of what Ike said: (4, Informative)

Mork29 (682855) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389247)

The military has become a tool for delivering profits to Lockheed Martin and Boeing and other conglomerates under the auspice of national security.
Is there another company better suited for designing aircraft and other military technolgies? If so, why aren't they bidding on more military contracts?

The Crusader artillery project, finally canceled in 2002 after $11 billion was spent on it. Donald Rumsfeld said it wasn't mobile enough for the 21st century.
Imagine the first pioneers in computing. To 99% of Americans, I'm sure it sounded impossible/stupid/wasteful/etc.. Guess who poured R&D money into computing? Guess who still does? Yes, several military projects have been nothing but giant sinks. They failed. The produced nothing. Can you show me a research institution that hasn't had a failed project? Yes, these failures have big dollar costs, but the successes that they have are immeasurably succesful.
Do you have any idea how much money the military has spent on developing medical technology and techniques? When we go to war, demand for this tech only increases...

The Air Force and Navy have F-15s, F-16s, and F-18s. But they're building the F-22 and some F-35 joint strike aircraft, too? At what point is enough enough?
The F-15 was designed in the 70s. Yes, it's time to replace it if we're going to stay #1. I firmly believe that if you don't have the best airforce in a major war, you loose. I like a my countries military setting itself up for success by being the best. I'm sure if you were the pilot in one of these aircraft, or a Soldier on the ground being supported by these aircraft, you'd agree. Oh, and did you here about just the other day when an F-15 fell out of the sky? Have you heard about the numerous times that "maximum flight hours" for these craft have been extended because nobody expected them to still be in service?

And this doesn't even take into account that such a fearsome military is all too often misused in wars of choice like Vietnam and Iraq. So we spend all of this money to build a huge military, then spend even more money to misuse it...without ever having declared war.
What the military is used for, and how big its budget is are to different subjects. Always try to emphasize one point when making an argument and don't throw in a random tangent.

Re:I'm reminded of what Ike said: (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389427)

Okay, the F15 is old, so why not build new F15's, which are STILL better than anyone else's shit, and not spend money to design a new aircraft, when we already have the ability to build one that is very much sufficient to defeat any foe.

NSF even worse (2, Informative)

belthize (990217) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389453)

NSF entire budget in FY07 was ~37% of NASA's budget (16B vs 5.9B). Of that 5.9B
$215M went to astronomy. ~56% of that $215M went to facilities like NRAO, NAIC, Gemini and NOAO.

      NSF has a much better track record than NASA in terms of ROI it's just not as sexy.

      While I'd love to see NASA's budget increased I'd prefer to see NSF's increase.

http://www.nsf.gov/about/budget/fy2007/tables.jsp#tables [nsf.gov]

Belthize

What about scale? (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389461)

seriously, this is the dumbest comparison I have ever read... how many people work for the military & how many vehicles do they have to maintain compared to NASA? Thats like bitching that the Oswego NY school system doesnt get as much as the NYC school system...

And? (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#21389579)

Hey, the US Constitution says to provide for the common defense, but nothing about sending up government bureaucrats on pointless joyrides. Oops?

Virgin Galactic et al will bring humanity into space, not central planners and their boondoggles.

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