It’s been all over the news, so I’m sure I needn’t give an extensive background: President Obama announced he would cancel the over-budget, under-funded and behind schedule Constellation program instituted by President Bush to get America back to the Moon. (Let’s set aside that we’ve landed there six times before.) His plan would also look to private corporations to launch rockets to take American astronauts to space.
Say you believe in the free market to the point of religion, and you think small government is absolutely crucial to the future of the U.S., when you hear that a large government program is being canceled, what would your reaction be?
Apparently the common response is outrage. I don’t know if hypocrisy is quite the right word to describe this situation. I think it’s just plain illogical. How can you say you want small government and in the same breadth decry the reduction of a Federal program?
I get that there is a aspect of patriotism involved in sending American men and women to space. Though I don’t know why there seems to be more patriotism tied to the space program than something crucial to all Americans, like improving the quality of our schools.
NPR has been playing interviews with people on Florida’s “Space Coast” who will be directly affected by the retirement of the shuttle fleet (a Bush decision) and the cancelation of the Constellation program. Many of them are rightly unhappy with the number of people who will lose their jobs. Certainly some of them will find jobs in the private sector (though one man said, “those aren’t real jobs, they’re virtual jobs; engineers and people like that,” which doesn’t make a ton of sense). But a certain number of those people were going to be out of jobs when the shuttle program ended anyway.
Obama has now modified his plan to address the criticisms. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. When someone disagrees with everything you say, I don’t think you should bend over backwards to accommodate them.