Debate Right, 8/14

How to Waste $2.5 Billion

by Mark Luedtke

The U.S. is suffering the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The official unemployment rate is 8.3 percent. The actual rate, which includes the long-term unemployed who were removed from the official statistics in 1994, tops 22 percent. The on-budget federal debt tops $15 trillion. The real federal debt, which counts unfunded entitlement liabilities, topped $200 trillion in 2010.

Given that, what would you do if Uncle Sam gave you $2.5 billion to play with? The most socially beneficial thing you could do is start 5,000 small businesses with $500,000 a piece. Small businesses typically create more wealth and therefore more jobs than large ones, providing the maximum benefit to your fellow Americans. Another valuable option would be to save it, enabling other entrepreneurs to borrow it and invest in new businesses. You could give it away, creating temporary comfort but no lasting benefit. But all these benefits are forever lost to us because government stole that money out of our economy, destroying businesses and jobs by doing so.

The worst thing you could do would be to build some complex machine, then send it to another planet where it would benefit nobody but you. That’s what NASA chose to do.

Some people, mainly NASA employees and government propagandists, claim the Curiosity rover mission inspires, but both NASA and the Russians have been doing it for decades. It’s old hat. And you can’t measure the economic benefit of inspiration.

The American people also seem to be seeing through NASA propaganda. When’s the last time you read an article about NASA exploring Mars that didn’t include the words water and life? These are the magic buzzwords NASA uses to justify stealing our money for their boondoggles, but the most interesting thing about this mission is how much criticism it’s received. In the midst of this economic crisis, which will get much worse before it gets better, the American people are waking up to the cost of government’s theft and depraved indifference to our lives.

One reason for the criticism is, despite NASA’s propaganda, there are no instruments on Curiosity for detecting either water or life. The same was true of the Spirit, Opportunity and Sojourner rovers. NASA’s Viking landers had detectors for water and for life back in the 1970s, and Viking reportedly discovered both, but NASA refuted its own findings for political reasons. According to Viking’s mission project manager, “[Life detection engineer Dr. Gilbert Levin] is a sanitary engineer, he’s not a biologist. I’ve often wondered if one of his problems was that he wasn’t a member of the club.” But even if the findings were ambiguous, if missions to Mars were really about finding water and life, follow-up missions would certainly have contained upgraded tests for both. None did. For some reason, NASA is intentionally avoiding discovering either.

Back in 2000, NASA’s director informed the country that the government’s chief spy, Admiral Inman, was overseeing the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the agency which oversees NASA’s space missions. Mike Malin, head of Malin Space Science Systems, withheld photographs of Mars. Malin is in charge of photographs for the Curiosity rover too. Why should spooks oversee and censor NASA missions?

The engineers who lost two Mars spacecraft a decade ago are ecstatic they didn’t fail again, but that’s hardly inspiring. NASA’s phony science doesn’t inspire either. NASA theories have been disproved by observations again and again, but to stay on the gravy train, NASA’s powerful scientists cut the funding and isolate those who expose them. NASA will go down in history as the greatest suppressor of science since the medieval church. Like all NASA missions, the Curiosity mission is a socialist jobs program for a bunch of Ph.D.s and a looting program for our rulers. It also promotes the false glory of the state.

I’m all for space exploration, but in order to guarantee honest science and cost-effective missions, we have to get government out of it and pay for it voluntarily.

Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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