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China's recent successful manned mission has started a space race debate

Now that China has successfully completed its first manned mission, the United States is worried that it may be left behind when it comes to space-related endeavors.

China initially launched its Tiangong 1 prototype space station module in September 2011 and linked its Shenzhou 8 spacecraft to it in November. Earlier this month, China completed its first manned mission to Tiangong 1 using its Shenzhou 9 spacecraft, which contained the country's first female astronaut.

With so many firsts under China's belt, the U.S. is getting a little worried. Some scientists, such as lunar geologist Paul Spudis say that China could renounce the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which states that no one can claim national sovereignty in space. Spudis believes that potential resources on the moon, such as water, could tempt the country into renouncing the treaty.

There are also worries about the U.S. government's space program. While the U.S. has the private sector (SpaceX) taking care of space-related business for now, there are concerns regarding the private sector's ability to uphold the American space effort without the government's support. The U.S.' funding for the space program has been quite low, even to the point where NASA urged Congress to provide the full $850 million for commercial crew vehicle development last October.

However, the private sector has made strong contributions so far with SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule making its first successful trip to the International Space Station (ISS) last month.

Others aren't quite as worried about China's position in the space race. According to Jeff Foust, an aerospace analyst, journalist and publisher, China's space program could potentially face some issues with coordination because it is ran by many different government agencies instead of just one.

Regardless, China is now a member of the space race and the U.S. may be taking the new potential competitor into consideration.

Source: Yahoo News

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RE: The problem is leadership?
By JPForums on 6/21/2012 11:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
I hate to point out the obvious, but playing this game requires money...


Congress has shown zero interest in ever raising US taxes.

And your point is?
If you are suggesting that hiking taxes increases revenue, you are thinking too short term and ignoring the stifling effect is has on the economy. Historical precedence in the Harding/Coolidge era, Reagan era, and even the Bush era (something he actually did right) shows that massive tax drops (>70% down to Mid 35-40% at the upper end) resulted in a few years decline followed by longer term large increases in total tax revenue. Point of interest: the rich payed a much larger percentage of the total tax revenue after the taxes were cut than before. John F. Kennedy, considered one of the greatest presidents of all time (multiple polls, pick one), had this to say:
“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, president’s news conference

He made several such comments during his tenure as President. High taxes, as seen before the aforementioned tax cuts, tend to raise short term revenue at the expense of mid and long term revenues. The implication is that we were well beyond the zenith of the Laffer curve and the economy was stifled before the above tax cuts.
Interestingly, while The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics estimates the highpoint of the Laffer curve to be around 70%, a brief look at the above points in history lead me to believe it could be quite a bit lower.

You don't get to spend four years complaining about the expanding federal debt AND refusing to ever raise taxes, and then propose a brand new MASSIVELY expensive government program.

Sure you can. Even if you assume no change in revenue, you can still reallocate funds from whatever current expenditures you deem to be of less worth. You just have to be willing to give something up. Of course, a good place to start is the plethora of government expenditures that no longer (or never did) effectively address the issues they were appropriated to address.

If you have so much faith in capitalism and libertarianism, why does the government have to be involved anyway?

Good point, though government funded exploration is no more at odds with capitalism than national defense. Sole source is becoming increasing rare leading to more competition. Of course, having few buyers do tend to give them more control over the market than is possible in traditional markets. The question is whether exploration (space or otherwise) is an area the government should be involved in at all. An argument can be made both ways. An individual can not, without government backing, claim national sovereignty of newly explored lands. On the other hand, it isn't our governments job to expand its territory and there's also the 1967 Outer Space Treaty to consider. The list goes on.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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