Not a "latte" for NASA…

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What about bucks for the stars? (just venti-ing)

What about bucks for the stars? (just venti-ing)

NASA seal

Image via Wikipedia

I get pretty tired of people who say we cannot afford to sustain our space program (hard times, big bailouts, what’s the point?, blah blah blah…). But this is all half-baked poppycock. The truth is, at $18 billion, NASA gets a fraction of one per cent of the US budget. Chump change. I used to tell people it is about what we spend, collectively, on coffee each year. And you can check my numbers here if you like. Lately though, I have updated my analogy by reminding folks that Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was bigger than NASA’s annual war chest. Well, this inspired Nancy Atkinson at The Universe Today to write this:

Miles O’Brien recently brought it to our attention that the amount of money Bernie Madoff scammed with his Ponzi scheme ($50 billion) is way bigger than NASA’s budget.

American’s spend a lot of money on some pretty ridiculous things. Returning to that oft-used phrase about spending the money used in to solve the problems on Earth, consider this:

Annually, Americans spend about $88.8 billion on tobacco products and another $97 billion on alcohol. $313 billion is spent each year in America for treatment of tobacco and alcohol related medical problems.

via 8 Ridiculous Things Bigger Than NASA’s Budget | Universe Today.

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One Response to “Not a "latte" for NASA…”

  1. davidbuchner Says:

    Gosh. You were more restrained and journalisty and detached and stuff when you were at CNN, weren’t you?

    Wonderful stuff; I’ll spread it around.
    Thanks for the links. (a different graph is here: http://thelaunchpad.xprize.org/2009/05/comparing-budgets-nasa-v-united-states.html )

    As good a shot of perspective as this is, I’d be remiss if I didn’t speak up for the point of view that “they spend lots more of your money on other stuff,” alone, is not a good enough argument. The government doesn’t make any money – it can only spend money taken from people who make money. We need to keep that in mind when we’re trying to convince them this is worth it.

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