Co-blogger Ryan McMaken is quite right to give President Obama credit for cutting the space program.
Sadly, however, it looks like Obama is already backing down on those cuts.
No surprise there. If Obama thinks it’s okay to spend trillions on everything else, how can he justify cutting this? It’s not like budget constraints have meant anything to him otherwise. In Obama’s world, if something is important, then you spend government money on it without regard for the budget (much less the impropriety of spending other people’s money). So when he comes under fire, what can he do? Say that he doesn’t think space travel (or science) is important? Of course not.
Under a new proposed compromise, the government will still build the Orion rocket that it had intended to use for new moon missions — it just won’t send it to the moon. Instead, the Orion will go to the space station and then just sit there in case we ever need it as an “escape pod.” (Really.) That way we can still show our commitment to space and science and stuff, and the military-industrial complex and NASA employees will still get paid.
But what about all the expense? Not to worry. The WSJ informs us that by not scrapping the Orion program, Obama “will help Lockheed and the government avoid significant termination costs associated with shutting the Orion project down.”
Phew! Glad we taxpayers (and especially Lockheed Martin!) will now avoid all those costs of… not spending anymore.
(Cross-posted at LRC.)