The Orlando Sentinel reports this week on a particularly blatant piece of government waste. The title sums it up:
NASA's Ares rocket dead, but Congress lets you pay $500 million more for it
The rocket is for a NASA mission that has been canceled -- and it uses outdated technology, to boot.
NASA and its contractors are required to keep building Ares I, even though Obama effectively killed it when he signed the new NASA plan that canceled the Constellation moon program begun under President George W. Bush... many in the agency say a liquid-fueled rocket would be cheaper, more powerful — and safer.
So why will taxpayers pay $500 million for a rocket that may never be used? Crony capitalism.
The language that keeps Constellation going was inserted into the 2010 budget last year by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican who sought to protect the program and Ares jobs at Marshall Space Flight Center in his home state.
His office confirmed that the language was still in effect but did not respond to e-mails seeking details.
Congress's usual habit for wasteful spending was aided by byzantine congressional rules.
T]he 2010 budget ... bars NASA from shutting down the program until Congress passed a new budget a year later.
It's time to privatize space flight.