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Why NASA Isn't Big Government

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Great Falls, Virginia.  This is Ray.  Great to have you on the program, sir.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hey, Rush.  Just as an aside, Obama wrote a book where he said he did cocaine.  How much more disclosure do you want from the guy?  I mean, the least Romney could do is release his tax returns and prove that Harry Reid's a liar.

RUSH:  I'm not suggesting Obama divulge anything. I'm asking where's the media trying to find out for the rest of us?

CALLER:  Well, let me get to the point I called about, which is NASA, because you opened you up your show with it and you were talking about this wonderful miracle, just about, that they pulled off, how technically intricate it was and how they nailed it.  And I'm thinking to myself, well, NASA's populated with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of PhDs who went to federal schools on federal student loans and federal student aid. It's a government agency itself, and it got it right.  It seems like a premise of the show is the government doesn't get anything right.  Yet before the EPA you had rivers catching on fire --

RUSH:  In the first place, I've never said that government never gets anything right.  Secondly, throughout the course of this program, I have always heralded NASA for the contributions they have made to the advancement of science and the human standard of living, American standard of living.  Obama shut it down.  Some people told me, Ray, that they didn't know there were any Muslims on Mars because that's what Obama's turned NASA into after this, Muslim outreach.  I don't know how many of the people in the Jet Propulsion Labs got student loans or any of that. I don't care.  None of that matters.  They did great work.  It's a phenomenal thing. 

I've never said that government's totally worthless, but I can tell you the people running the government right now don't know what in the hell they're doing, and this program predates Obama and any of his people arriving on the scene, and we're just lucky they didn't shut it down.  We're just lucky that they didn't decide this trip was worthless, because they've pretty much said that everything else about NASA is.  They walked away from NASA, gave the money to Solyndra, gave the money to a bunch of worthless so-called green energy. This is an illustration of what government can do right, and I'll guarantee you, Ray, I'm gonna get some people calling me telling me that I'm a little bit confused, that they're not that great at NASA, that happens sometimes.  But NASA started and really is a Department of Defense program, is where you go to trace its roots, which of course people on the left don't dig at all.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: You know, one might say when speaking of NASA that the space flight realm of NASA, the vast majority of it is actually done by private aerospace companies bidding for the jobs.  Private aerospace companies bid for certain aspects.  Like the government didn't build the rover.  They got a contract for it.  A private sector firm -- yes, with Obama bucks -- I take it back.  The money was allocated before Obama came along.  That's probably why the money was still there.  But it was our taxpayer dollars that were rewarded to a private sector company, probably a bunch of 'em combined, built various aspects of the rover.  The rocket.  Somebody won a bid to build that parachute, for example.  The rockets to slow the rover down as it approached the Martian surface. 

What you've got at NASA is the flight engineers and these people that manage the actual mission on the computer side, you know, engineer managers and so forth.  And none of this stuff is cheap.  There's always been an argument, what's the reward here, the risk-reward, what are we as a society gaining?  Okay, what's the big deal, landing on Mars?  I had somebody ask me yesterday, I was marveling at the achievement here, and I was going on and on, somebody said, "What's the big deal about landing on Mars?" and there are a lot of people looking at it that way. 

When you compare what it costs to get there and pull this off and what we derive from it, benefit-wise, versus the age-old argument, "How many starving people could we have fed with the money spent on the mission to go to Mars."  Never-ending question.  "How much money could we spend on education, Mr. Limbaugh, and rebuild some crumbling inner-city schools for the money we spent?" You're always gonna have those questions.  We always have had.  And the people that want to argue the benefits of missions like this fall in some cases woefully short in trying to explain to society at large how everybody benefits from the technological advances to pull this off. 

It's always been part of the space program. There have always been the naysayers and there have always been people opposed to it who claim that the money -- and, of course, incumbent in this whole phony argument is the assumption that we're not spending enough.  We're already not spending any on education.  That we're not spending anything on feeding people.  If we weren't spending any money on poverty, and we weren't spending money on education, then they might have an argument.  But we are.  We're spending much more than we're getting any return on, in all of these social programs.  I would argue the return that we've gotten on the space program, in terms of advancing American lifestyles, technological advances, oh, the things... You know, back in the sixties and seventies there was a list, and it was a long list of all of the advances in everyday life that were outgrowths of the manned space program to the moon. 

Now, the Curiosity, not the mission, but the vehicle, the whole thing, two-and-a-half billion dollars, two-and-a-half billion dollars.  Two-and-a-half billion dollars is a drop in the bucket in education, but there are still people who make the argument that two-and-a-half billion dollars to build the Curiosity spacecraft was a total waste of money.  What are we doing going to Mars?  And those people are always gonna be there.  But the point is, that guy Ray called, "Look at what all government did."  Government did what they always do here.  Private sector aerospace companies built everything involved here.  Nobody in government built the rover, pure and simple.  This is not to put anybody down, just to be accurate about this. 

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