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Added By: Carlos44ec
Added on: 02/24/2009 @ 9:16:56 AM
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NASA Rocket/Satellite fails, lands in the ocean

Here’s a great example of what‘s wrong with our country. Amidst all this talk of foreclosure, bailout, nationalization, economic hardship, recession, and worse, we’re launching (failing to launch) Global Warming Satellites, wasting billions in taxpayer money… for what, to “prove” global warming concepts?
Science is incredibly important- don’t get me wrong- but there is definitely a time and place for these things. It’s called Budgeting, and we seem to do a crap job at it. Nationally we have a debt the size of which none of us can truly fathom, and our sitting government leaks like a sieve and shows every indication of getting worse.
Here’s the question; if I owe the banks and credit agencies $100,000 in credit card debt but want to go to Disneyworld, what should I do? How about if I want a new flat screen TV and home theater system? The correct answer, of course, is to go out and buy it anyway. Why not add it to my tally? The kids and grandkids will pay for it, ultimately they’ll benefit from my spending!
Once upon a time ago there was a budget and people stuck to it. I’m glad our Government (the Self-Appointed Moral Authority) leads by such a great example. 150 years ago we’d all be running through the streets with hunting rifles, bandanas, and pitchforks screaming for someone’s head.

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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
02/24/2009 @ 10:27:08 AM
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I'm not sure how/why NASA was labeled the poster boy of wasted money. Seems to me discovering more about global warming is worth a paltry $280 million, seeing as this sattelite a) Served to replace existing equipment that is not free to operate and b) Could save just as much by helping us better (more economically) "fend off" global warming, or perhaps even find out that there's nothing to worry about, which would certainly save $280 million

Again, we've had this talk before, but your example fails woefully to address the scale we're talking about here. $280 million dollars is .0077% of the annual budget and .0028% of the national debt. You aren't pissing away money on another big screen with $100,000 of debt, you're spending $2.80 on a 3 pack of gum. Ultimately gum isn't essential to your survival, but it also serves some purpose, and no one would scold you for buying it. (There might indeed be a time and a place for your gum to go, but it would be pretty futile to start slashing your gum budget while you pay $1500 a month on fully loaded cable TV, the fastest internet possible, an unlimited cell phone plan, and hookers.)

Every little bit does indeed help contribute, but I think our (initial) focus should be trimming the 1.5 trillion we spend on the military, not the 20 billion NASA gets.
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Jeremy screwed with this 2 times, last at 02/24/2009 10:28:23 am
vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - 2078 Posts
02/24/2009 @ 10:32:45 AM
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I'm fairly sure that I mentioned (or meant to) that this was an example of some of the things we could reconsider. An example of where we should rethink spending and determine whether or not it's money well spent right now.

Of course, John and Jane Q Public might think that buying a house in the next few years is important, but can they afford it now, and should they stop paying the phone and electricity bill to pay the mortgage? Or should they stay in their apartment, pay their bills, and think about a house when it's more reasonable?
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
02/24/2009 @ 11:00:31 AM
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I certainly agree that everything should be subject to a cost/benefit analysis process, even (and perhaps especially*) environmental issues. Everyone, even the government, needs to live within their means, my point is simply that if a person lost their job and needed to live lean for a while it's pretty silly to start the cutting with your $2.80 annual gum budget while at the same time you're in the caviar of the month club.

*By which I mean as the current "hot thing" there's a lot of "Ahhhhhhhh, We have to do anything and everything we can! Damn the expense! Think of the children!!!!!!" Type of attitudes out there. Where saving 7 owls, who are plentiful in other areas, trumps 300 people having homes/jobs.
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vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - 2078 Posts
02/24/2009 @ 12:14:45 PM
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Then I suggest the government fear the loss of their job and start spending accordingly.
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reign_of_fire.jpgMicah - 584 Posts
02/24/2009 @ 12:20:33 PM
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I'm not a big fan of the NASA demonization either, although that wasn't really Carl's point. I always liked this quote from the West Wing, but it was much more meaningful when Rob Lowe said it instead of just reading it.

Sam : There are lots of hungry people in the world, Mall, and none of them are hungry because we went to the moon. None of them are colder and certainly none of them are dumber because we went to the moon.
Mallory: And we went to the moon. Do we really have to go to Mars?
Sam : Yes.
Mallory : Why?
Sam : Because it's next. Because we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill and we saw fire; and we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the west, and we took to the sky. The history of man is on a timeline of explorations and this is what's next.
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face.bmpCarlos44ec - Knuckle Sammich
02/24/2009 @ 12:44:50 PM
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In that context I agree- we should go to Mars- hell, after Mars is the Death Star!

I meant the NASA thing as an example, and because the article made me think of what un-necessary spending we have going on right now that we should't. How about two wars? funding other governments? training Pakistani troops? paying for Carl's education? List goes on and on, as we've discussed.
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reign_of_fire_150.jpgMicah - 584 Posts
02/24/2009 @ 12:55:36 PM
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Yeah maybe if some of us weren't scamming the government for more money than their education actually cost, we could save .00000000000001% of the federal budget.
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2887.gifAlex - I was too weak to give in Too strong to lose
02/24/2009 @ 01:30:16 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 11:00:31 AM
Everyone, even the government, needs to live within their means, my point is simply that if a person lost their job and needed to live lean for a while it's pretty silly to start the cutting with your $2.80 annual gum budget while at the same time you're in the caviar of the month club.


In a way, I disagree. If you prioritize caviar over gum, then it makes more sense to cut the gum first. And if you don't really even care about the gum, you just impulse buy it while waiting in the checkout line, that also makes it one of the easiest things you can cut so it's a good place to start. Cutting out 50 small things might be better than trying to cut out one large thing.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - No one's gay for Moleman
02/24/2009 @ 02:07:42 PM
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Honestly I think the #1 thing that needs to change about the budget is how budgets are done. As long as the status quo remains I think we're screwed. There's no incentive to save anything because all that means is you're screwed next year. It's really as backwards as could be. I know there's no quick answer, because when you're making a budget you need to have a good idea of what it will cost to run a dept, and the best data is what it cost to run last year, but still.

I think a better option would be to stop looking at everything as hard-and-fast numbers. There are only certain things that are "hard" numbers. Your office costs this much for heat/power/internet. The people in this office cost this amount. There is an amount where below this amount we would have to make cuts. There's routine costs that seem like they could be reletively regulated: Replacing old computers with new ones, etc. Then there's the "shit happens" money: a computer kicks the bucket, the ceiling collapses.

To me the only part of the budget that matters is the "this is the bare minimum amount." It seems to me there could then be a process by which other things are requested. Needing 3 new office chairs because they broke, for example could be decided on on a case-by-case basis. I know this sounds like it might be a lot of overhead, but someone already must be in charge of deciding that so-and-so's budget isn't out of line. The other advantage is that the "bare min" cost is easily verifyable, almost to the point where even that could be somewhat automated.

The routine stuff could just be regulated/automatic. The Dept of AG got computers 6 months ago, they don't need new ones.

In short, it seems to me that the whole notion of a budget is an antiquated idea that needs rethinking. Deciding up front based on numbers that have been purposefully inflated at every stop along the hierarchy just seems stupid. An expense is warranted, or not, if that means we spend $400 billion or $4 trillion in the end it is what it is.

If there's an initial overshot all it likely points to is that the budget system wasn't allowing for something that was needed, but never fully funded. Both systems can be jobbed, but at least my way you aren't rewarded for wasting money.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
02/24/2009 @ 02:12:16 PM
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In other words, I don't care about NASA spending $1 Billion on going to Mars, I'd be more concerned if NASA cost $500 million a year if everyone there sat on their hands. The focus should be cutting unnecessary overhead, not "necessary" expenses.
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vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - Knuckle Sammich
02/24/2009 @ 03:01:04 PM
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Perhaps I use some poor examples, but you also tend to take things too literally. That could be our problem.
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Carlos44ec messed with this at 02/24/2009 3:01:41 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - Super Chocolate Bear
02/24/2009 @ 03:03:07 PM
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Me? Take what literally?
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vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - 2078 Posts
02/25/2009 @ 09:15:27 AM
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Micah Wrote - Yesterday @ 12:55:36 PM
Yeah maybe if some of us weren't scamming the government for more money than their education actually cost, we could save .00000000000001% of the federal budget.


I'm getting As and ABs, man! That's around 95%, so eat it! Oh, and the laptop is awesome, I made some great graphs for Stats class, and my Professional Writing final project was bangin.
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Carlos44ec messed with this at 02/25/2009 9:15:45 am
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