I got an e-mail recently from someone bent out of shape over President Obama's NASA budget cuts. I wrote him back to explain the following:
I'm afraid you've lost me here. America's technological prowess and innovating spirit are chief among her assets- but those blessings don't come to us from her government programs. They are a result of her enterprising people and private businesses.
NASA will waste millions of tax payer dollars to send a robot to Mars to see if it has water. While that may be interesting to NASA scientists, it hardly creates value for the American people- especially when the robot breaks. Your tax payer dollars at work.
Private investors on the other hand, like Mike Markkula will find two hippies in a garage in California putting together desktop computers for a small business they started called Apple. Mike invested $250,000 of his money in their vision and these two hippies, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak ended up revolutionizing how we view information, creating billions of dollars of value for Americans, and untold thousands of jobs. That's technological progress.
Meanwhile, private startups funded with private money are even conquering the frontiers of space, promising to deliver commercial space flights for the recreation of wealthy customers. As with the private development of any new technology throughout history, wealthy patrons will pioneer its use with their abundance of surplus wealth, funding the discovery of cheaper methods, allowing the technology to become more widely available. This happened with the plane, the car, the computer, and the television.
We don't need NASA or any other government program to help us succeed. Small business, not big government is the fountainhead of American prosperity. The only thing we need the government to do is to stay the hell out of our way. I agree with you whole-heartedly that Mr. Obama's policies are detrimental to our country's development, but not because of this one exception to his usual rule of expanding government.
Instead, it is his runaway spending, unchecked expansion of executive power, and effort to socialize every major industry in the country that is destroying American greatness. Why then should we complain that he will grant us one exception and dismantle our socialized space industry and pave the way for private expansion into the void? I wish he'd take that attitude about all of America's state-run and regulated industries.
Thanks for hearing me out,
Editor of HumbleLibertarian.com