I mainly ignored current space quests — until the left recently went apoplectic.
I had to ascertain why several House Democrats from Seattle to Madison and Boston fulminated with contempt at wealthy, innovative men.
Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark: “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know it’s time for billionaires to pay their fair share.”
Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal: “Billionaires will try ANYTHING to avoid paying their fair shares in taxes. It’s time for a wealth tax.”
Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan: “2.2 billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water but, hooray! Another billionaire just made it to the edge of space.”
Perpetually stuck in 1930s class warfare, Sen. Bernie Sanders raged in predictable hyperbole and clichés.
“Space travel is an exciting idea, but right now we need to focus on Earth and create a progressive tax system so that children don’t go hungry, people are not homeless and all Americans have healthcare,” the Vermont socialist ranted. “It’s time to invest in working people here on Earth.”
Amazon has probably done more for “working people” than any company, Bernie, with high wages for nearly 1 million employees, and as the biggest hirer during the pandemic.
And to answer Jayapal, the self-made Bezos paid $1.4 billion in taxes from 2006-18. His ex-wife, now the third-wealthiest woman in the world, inherited over $100 billion and is doling it out to progressive causes. Any complaints from Democrats about that?
Despite space exploration’s pathbreaking history and future possibilities, these regressive views are increasingly common among social-justice warriors; but as usual, their math is flawed.
We could destroy NASA’s $20 billion budget — as Barack Obama tried — yet not make a dent in the “anti-poverty” budget Americans have funded for six decades.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist, Mrs. Clark, to calculate that liquidating everyone’s money would cover less than 0.01% of your dopey trillion-dollar proposals.
Left-wing opposition to space travel is also out of step with public opinion. Most people do not regard space exploration and social justice like oil and water. According to Pew, about three in four Americans think we should remain a world leader in space.
Ironically, under the profligate Obama, activists shifted money away from the functional parts of NASA, like its robotic-exploration program and technological-development programs, to areas that produce nothing tangible.
The space shuttle was retired in 2011. And until last year, the only option to get our astronauts to the International Space Station was essentially paying billions for seats on Russian spacecraft.
Things turned around under the Trump administration. Not only was the much-mocked yet vital U.S. Space Force created but NASA’s budget increased by about 20%; however, it’s easy to imagine Biden reverting to Obama’s anti-progress methods.
There is a movement among wokescolds to label any space exploration “racist,” and we know the president desperately seeks approval from the Twitter mobs.
“Just as dental care, car ownership, and airplane travel were once the sole province of the wealthy, so too is space tourism — for now, but probably not forever,” Liz Wolfe recently wrote at Reason. “But even if it doesn’t pan out that way, the technologies created by billionaires’ space fantasies will propel many of us, rich and poor alike, to better standards of living in ways we haven’t yet fully realized.”
Bezos and Musk — deemed “parasites” by the hard left — made enormous money selling services people want; now they are spending on things they want while revolutionizing the space industry. That’s how the system works.
Because Sanders has never created anything in his life, he won’t soon understand — but he and his envious acolytes will benefit from it.
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.