I see where Utah’s congressional delegation is trying to expand government, impose undue regulation and legislate requirements on federal agencies that hamper their ability to do their jobs as efficiently as possible.
I assume the Tea Party will be up in arms about this, perhaps with a Saturday protest. The boss needs something to cover for Sunday’s paper, so call early, will you?
I refer, of course, to this story (click) where Hatch et al have put language into legislation that pretty much requires NASA to buy solid rocket motors made up at ATK Space Systems.
Needless to say, this is not a bad thing, if you look at it from the Utah point of view: ATK employs thousands of Utahns, those jobs are critical and the people who hold them vote. So even though it could be argued that NASA’s scientists and engineers, not a bunch of senators and representatives, should be the ones deciding what sort of rocket engine to build and buy, the business of protecting Utah jobs is a political one, not an engineering one.
This is an object lessen, which we always seem to need, on why the federal government gets so big: Local lawmakers defending their turf won’t let it shrink. Utah’s congresspeople argue that, by God, their defense of ATK IS in the best interest of the country, but there are others who would argue that visions for NASA’s future that don’t include Utah are what’s really best.
I have no idea who’s right, and probably none of Utah’s congresspeople do either. All they care about is who wins, and in this case winning means writing detailed legislation that requires NASA to buy Utah-built rocket motors. That means Utah’s congresspeople have to write some pretty specific language and lobby hard with other members of congress, trading horses and cutting deals, to protect that language.
That is ALL precisely the sort of “Inside the beltway Washington business as usual” game that the Tea Party has made a living denouncing. It will add to the budget, expand federal power, and increase the deficit because I don’t hear anyone talking about an increase in taxes to pay for this new series of rockets, whereas not buying rockets will sure as heck save money.
Why do we really need NASA anyway? All they do is build stuff and shoot it off into space or blow it up. One could argue – if one chooses to ignore the value of scientific exploration – that the space program is one giant jobs welfare program.
We are supposedly trying to cut back on spending.
Last week Sen. Hatch wrote an editorial in the Standard-Examiner specifically condemning the federal government’s wasteful ways. It will be a relief to ATK workers to learn that he was just grandstanding for the Tea Party crowd and not throwing Utah workers under the bus in his drive to cut federal spending.
And its ironic that Utah, home of such ardent Tea Party supporters and hard-core Republican “shrink the government” types is in the position of having to work so hard to keep federal spending alive to pay their wages even as they denounce it.