Loot Rising

So the Science Channel has a show now called Mars Rising.  It’s shot in high-definition, with good production values, and William Shatner narrating.  It’s very well done, and it makes the mission to Mars look exciting and important.  There is only one problem.

Only a child (or an irrational fool) can seriously talk about a benefit while ignoring the cost.  In this case, estimates are all over the map, ranging from $55B to $120B.  As past experience has shown, the actual cost will exceed these early sales promises by an order of magnitude or more.  Let’s assume $300B (which I think is very generous).  That is $1000 for every man, woman, and child in the USA!

Obviously, children don’t pay taxes.  Actually, as Coyote noted in a recent blog, 50% of the taxpayers pay 97% of the tax bill.  Assuming 33% of the population is children, this leaves 200M adults.  Assuming half of these pay the tax bill, that’s 100M.  A $300B Mars program costs each person who actually pays taxes $3000.

No doubt, to the people who don’t pay much taxes, it will be easy to say “We can afford this.  We should go to Mars.  The National Prestige is at stake, not to mention the Soul of Science!”

And I will be looted an additional $3000 on top of everything else.  Because NASA knows what’s good for me better than I do.  Never forget that the whole notion of massive taxation to support a massive state is based on the idea that it’s proper to take our money by force because they are wiser in spending it than we are.

Hey, what’s another $3000?  We’re rich!

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