Crony Capitalism and the Space Program

Over at The Weekly Standard today, I describe how the desire of politicians to steer pork to their constituents is undermining actual progress in space, damaging our balance of payments with respect to Russia, and harming our national security. It’s worth noting that yesterday, because of such feckless policies, we just sent our astronauts up to International Space Station on a Russian vehicle for the first time since the Shuttle retired last summer (the flight was actually supposed to happen in September, but Russian launch failures a couple of months ago had delayed it). It is now our only way to get there, yet Congress refuses to appropriate adequate funding to solve the problem quickly, while pouring billions into a rocket with no mission and that will have ghastly costs to operate, if it ever does, no sooner than a decade from now. And all because “jobs” are apparently more important than actually accomplishing anything useful with the taxpayer money that NASA is forced to spend.