Should we privatize NASA?
Side Score: 13
Side Score: 17
Note: this is from a previous similar debate.
NASA should be turned over to the private sector permanently. Sure, NASA has put man on the moon, but how long ago was that? There is a select few, and the government wants to keep it that way, so it can stand in glory, and people will continue to gaze into amazement when they hear or see NASA.
Why haven't there been any commercial spaceflights available for consumption? Because no government agency that runs with the efficiency of the Pentagon and Postal Service will ever realize the dream of commercially viable orbiting stations or moon bases. NASA
Note: This is also from a previous debate.
NASA is a vastly inefficient bureaucratic waste with a complex system of red tape and vested interests. Other countries and private companies can produce much cheaper and more cost-effective space missions. NASA also suffers from political interference, with the President and Congress both trying to micro-manage the agency. This forces it to focus on prestige projects, such as the International Space Station or President Bush’s New Vision for Space Exploration with its emphasis on manned flights to the moon and Mars.
Throughout history, it has been shown that privatized organizations have been far better off than public, or government owned organizations. A recent example is th Ford Motor company and Bailouts. Ford is the only car company that did not take a bailout of the Big Three, Ford, GM, and Chrysler, and as a result, Ford produces a higher GDP. GM is completely government controlled and regulated, causing it to lose money. Any company that requires government support to just stay afloat in the market, shouldn't exist at all. In a capitalist, consumer market, the consumers, not the government, decide which companies make it and which ones do not. An example of this is U.S. Steel, created by Andrew Carnegie. Had it not been for U.S. Steel, we would not have the Transcontinental Rail Road, a rail road stretching from New York, New York to L.A. California. U.S. Steel contracted with the Central Pacific R.R. bringing in a great amount of revenue to U.S. Steel. The point I am making here is that the government could never fund a rail road so vast and that a private company is able to sustain itself without government support. By privatization, NASA would be able to continue its work in space and the debt ceiling would drop dramatically.
If Conro's numbers are right on the other side, then shouldn't larger fish be pursued?
His numbers indicate that comparatively NASA doesn't cost much and it has resulted in a number of scientific advancements. Similar and better advancements may not be achieved by private institutions, due to the profit motive and the lack of charity to organizations which may be perceived as having little short term affects on society(ie, not many people are going to pay to see how a plant grows in space, when they could give to their local churches instead; even if it may lead to...pulling something out of my... powerful insights on a disease which affect agriculture or another such thing).
A larger fish should be the goal, such as the defense fund; which is a much more significant economic burden on tax payers and is something which will still be able to preform its function with a smaller fund.
Please attempt to quantify how much of "my money" it will save and what the cost of those savings will be in lost research opportunities that would potentially create technologies that are to my future benefit.
Or, you know, stick with the arguments that fit on a bumper sticker. Your call.
Privatizing NASA would result in the end of numerous projects that would not be completed by a private company, i.e. those projects that would not necessarily result in a profit. If we were to subject NASA to the whims of supply and demand, there may be plenty of investment in weather satellites, but there would be a stark lack of investment in long term climate prediction models, satellites monitoring the sun, and pure research aboard the ISS.
Additionally, NASA could hardly be portrayed as a drain on the economy. Currently, the NASA budget for 2011 is about $17.8 billion. This may appear to be quite a chunk of change, but compared to total federal spending, it is less than half of one percent. And compared to the US's GDP, NASA's budget is about a tenth of a percent. So if you are looking to cut funding in order to balance the budget, don't think cutting NASA would do you any good.
NASA's budget (www.guardian.co.uk)
Privatizing NASA would result in the end of numerous projects that would not be completed by a private company, i.e. those projects that would not necessarily result in a profit.
Prior to the exploits of SpaceShipOne, the standard justification for government involvement in space was that such undertakings were "too expensive" for the private sector. But what does this really mean? The Apollo moon program certainly didn’t create labor and other resources out of thin air. On the contrary, the scientists, unskilled workers, steel, fuel, computers, etc. that went into NASA in the 1960s were all diverted from other industries and potential uses. The government spent billions of dollars putting Neil Armstrong on the moon, and consequently the American taxpayers had billions fewer dollars to spend on other goods and services.
If we were to subject NASA to the whims of supply and demand, there may be plenty of investment in weather satellites, but there would be a stark lack of investment in long term climate prediction models, satellites monitoring the sun, and pure research aboard the ISS.
On October 4, 2004, the privately funded SpaceShip-One climbed to an altitude of over 70 miles, clinching the $10 million "X Prize." Many analysts were excited by the prospects for commercial space travel, and the day when orbital or even interplanetary flights would be affordable for the average person. As if to rebut the naysayers who dismissed SpaceShipOne as a mere tourist attraction for millionaires, Las Vegas hotel magnate Robert Bigelow capitalized on the event by announcing a $50 million prize for the first team to put a privately funded space station into orbit.
It should be obvious that government is not necessary for space exploration; engineers and pilots do not suddenly become smarter when they are hired by NASA. A free market in space industries would be open to all competitors, we have every reason to expect technological innovation to be much quicker than in a monopolized space program. The reason for the super slow advancement in space techongology is due to the monopolized space program of NASA.
Additionally, NASA could hardly be portrayed as a drain on the economy. Currently, the NASA budget for 2011 is about $17.8 billion.
What is your point? You are only looking at the seen rather the unseen. If space exploration was a free market, it may only cost $15 billion. Who knows? That is the unseen.
So if you are looking to cut funding in order to balance the budget, don't think cutting NASA would do you any good.
Not worried about cut funding to balance the budget with NASA, as long as the budget is controlled by politicians and bureaucrats, the budget will never be balanced. That is what government is. Expensive to all. I am looking for free markets.
Absolutely not, what a ridiculous idea.
Let me make one point. If NASA had been a private sector entity before this instead of a public sector one, we would have no space program. Period. Insufficient profit motive to undertake the research and development costs for and private sector entity to have pursued it.
Privatize orbital shuttle service now that NASA has proven and matured the technology? Sure, go ahead. But privatize NASA itself? Idiocy. Large public sector research entities like NASA exist to take on the kind of large scale pure science that can be used to advance society but which simply would not be tackled by any for-profit private sector entity.
so, get NASA out of the orbital chauffeur business and get them working on the next big thing (like propulsion systems that can get us to Mars maybe), but for cripes sake don't kill all their potential by making them private sector.
Give our space program privately to some greedy asshole(s)? Fuck no, and fuck whoever thought it should be done. I don't even care about the numbers. Privatization isn't a moral idea. The only huge power I trust something like NASA to is our government, not a single or group of rich, fat bastards.