Why is NASA the only game in space?, Opinion, LA Times
Homer Hickam: "... did you know the Department of Labor (that this department exists at all deserves another ! from me) gets four times more money than NASA? Health and Human Services 26 times more? Housing and Urban Development (!!!) gets twice as much? You want to talk about waste? Just peruse a list of their programs! It will make you weep. And what do those outfits and most federal bureaucracies give back to the economy? Nada. NASA, on the other hand, is an organization that gives our economy a positive jolt with all its inventiveness. It's worth every penny. No, I take that back. It's worth more pennies than we give it and if we keep underfunding it, we're idiots."
Rand Simberg: "You contend that NASA's human spaceflight program is underfunded. I would argue that, given its paltry ambitions, it's vastly over-endowed because the results won't be worth the money. If NASA were to put forth a plan by which it enabled hundreds or thousands of people to go into space, I think that would be worth going back and asking the Congress and Office of Management and Budget to fund. Sadly, NASA isn't capable of that, by its nature as a federal agency, because it would mean too much relinquishing of control to what it perceives to be a frighteningly uncertain and unpredictable private sector, with too few opportunities for pork in specific districts."
Editor's note: Homer is honest about the fact that NASA sends him a retirement check on a regular basis as he gives NASA a nice dose of tough love. Yet what always amuses me about NASA haters such as Rand is that while he publicly rips into NASA, he is content to quietly feed off of this very same inefficiency he loathes as a consultant to NASA Exploration projects. If this work NASA does is so odious and counterproductive to human exploration, shouldn't he avoid taking any of it as a matter of principle? Just say no, Rand.