Isn’t the response of President Bush and other Washington officials to the NASA tragedy so very typical? Amidst charges that NASA officials have knowingly and intentionally ignored safety warnings for years, the knee-jerk response of Washington’s big spenders is: Increase the NASA budget immediately! Only in Washington do failure, neglect, and negligence result in immediate financial success.
Of course, we saw the same phenomenon in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The FBI’s ignoring of critical evidence in advance of the attacks, including its almost obsessive focus on bordellos in New Orleans, bordered on gross negligence. Yet the knee-jerk response of Bush and his congressional cohorts was, again: Increase the FBI’s budget immediately!
Unfortunately, almost everyone in Washington is missing the most important point in the NASA tragedy: Government has no more business engaging in space exploration than it has operating trains or mail delivery. Ownership of such enterprises properly belongs in the private sector, not the government sector.
“Omigosh! Couldn’t that might mean that we might not have space shuttles, trains, or mail delivery?” That’s possible, but it would also mean that people’s resources were being diverted into what they, rather than government officials, considered to be their most urgent needs.
Aren’t the owners of resources — including income, savings, and capital — better suited to determine their needs than the politicians and bureaucrats who rule over them? Aren’t private ownership and free enterprise, rather than public ownership and socialistic central planning, what Americans are supposed to be standing for?