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Space Science

Why Space Exploration Is Worth the Cost 276

mlimber writes "The Freakonomics blog has a post in which they asked six knowledgeable people, Is space exploration is worth the public cost? Their answers are generally in the affirmative and illuminating. For example David M. Livingston, host of The Space Show, said: 'Businesses were started and are now meeting payrolls, paying taxes, and sustaining economic growth because the founder was inspired by the early days of the manned space program, often decades after the program ended! This type of inspiration and motivation seems unique to the manned space program and, of late, to some of our robotic space missions.'"
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Why Space Exploration Is Worth the Cost

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @02:59PM (#22016884) Journal
    When I was 15 or so (ten years ago), I read Carl Sagan's Billions & Billions [wikipedia.org] which was a book more about his thoughts than science ... or maybe I'm repeating myself.

    But anyway, at some point in that book, he talks about ordering this novel device that is a world in a globe. It's a nutrient mix in water with some sort of tiny aquatic animals. But the globe is sealed. The instructions are to leave it where sunlight can hit it and let nature do the rest. So Sagan puts it on his desk.

    The next day, the water is foggy. Soon after it is teaming with microscopic life.

    But after a short amount of time, the globe goes silent and there is a dark residue on the glass with nothing else in the water. Sagan pondered if the earth had a similar "maximum capacity." Now, there are differences, we can cite different natural processes that replace what we take making them a replenishable resource. But our numbers and pollution threaten them. He also discusses population control and ends up with the general conclusion that war, diseases, natural disasters and the like will cap us out somewhere around 2010. I, unfortunately, don't see our growth slowing as much as he projected.

    In fact, it made so much sense to me that, at the age of fifteen, I wrote a letter to my Minnesota senators urging them to push for more spending to NASA & even subsidizing the private sector--after all, how many billions go into defense? Surely some of that could be better spent to begin the lengthy process of insuring that we will not have a glass covering over the earth. My words fell on deaf ears as I received no response. I don't believe I've written a letter to a politician higher than the county level since then although I have received a letter from the vice president for completing the Eagle Scout Award ... but I digress.

    The point is that if we continue down the path we are taking with pollution, don't invest in space travel and continue to procreate, we are sitting in a glass casing. It's only a matter of time before we put ourselves in a near suicide contention with constrained resources. If we don't have peaceful space exploration and means of growing outwards, our only solutions are war, mass genocide, famine, disease and many horrible ugly scenarios.

    I still see the need for making extraterrestrial planets sustainable to human growth and development.
  • by stranger_to_himself ( 1132241 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:04PM (#22016944) Journal

    You're right. We shouldn't have to justify our ambitions economically, it's such a depressing way to see the world. Lets just do something because its awesome.

    We should be capable of deciding what are the goals for mankind, especially those we cannot realise as individuals. I suppose the economic benefits help to sugar the pill for those who are not inspired by exploration and understanding of the universe.

  • by bit trollent ( 824666 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:14PM (#22017056) Homepage
    Every time I hear that a tax cut will actually produce something I can't help but roll my eyes.

    Just imagine what would have happened if we had tried to go to the moon with tax breaks and encouragement. We would have been laughed out of the space race.
  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:16PM (#22017088) Homepage Journal
    ... is usually a very bad idea, knowing how much times the basket fell in the past. But space exploration is not just searching for a backup to save a sample of us. Just trying to do that, either in things we must develop for it, or things we find doing that, or things we discover out there, are short term benefits that must not be discarded (put the question before there were communication satellites and think in how much we could had lost).

    I loved the "Why do it now?" question of a senator... you can ask the same question every day, except the day that is already too late.
  • Define "Worth it" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yariv ( 1107831 ) <yariv DOT yaari AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:24PM (#22017188)
    It's the best way to ensure the survival of humanity, and in the long run it's a very good economical investment (as it's a n investment in science and technology). However, in the short run it brings nothing to the common man (except pride and owe, maybe). So the question is, what do you want.

    By the way, I've seen someone talking about private space exploration, but we must remember the amazingly high costs and the relatively high chances of failure in any specific operation. There is no way a private "for profit" organization will take such expenses with this odds against it, not until it's relatively safe and simple due to government-funded research. It is no coincidence that most modern inventions (computers, for example) were made by government-funded bodies or at least, by a company that it's main costumer is the government.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:24PM (#22017194) Journal

    Get out of your basement and do some traveling.
    Well, I know I'm not supposed to feed the trolls but ... I have been to the boundary waters canoe area twice. For two weeks, we went about 50 miles in towards Canada from Minnesota. Beautiful. Just unbelievably beautiful. Northern Minnesota soil used to have a higher moisture content than the everglades. Yeah, hard to believe, huh? Well, the settlers came along and cut drainage ditches into it so they could farm it. Used to just be switch grass and sorghum and the like, now they were growing beans and corn. Well, erosion slowly set in and now all that peat and top soil is being whipped around by the wind. Some places look pretty barren compared to the lush slough it used to be. So who cares, right?

    Well, at the boundary waters, I drank out of the lakes, ate the fish, it was paradise. Later I went to college at the University of Minnesota and thank god that you can't get into the BWCA except with a canoe or helicopter. You can't swim or fish in the lakes/rivers of Minneapolis. So what's my point? Well, everywhere man has touched that I've seen, things have just gone down hill. Those trees and resources that once covered North America? Gone. We bitch at Brazil to stop deforestation when we did the same damn thing when we settled this land.

    Go see the world? Go see Manilla? [www.vbs.tv] Go see West Virginia? [www.vbs.tv] Go see Brooklyn? [www.vbs.tv] The super stack nickel refinery in Canada? [www.vbs.tv]

    For every single place you tell me to go see, I'll show you a spot ravaged to hell by the human race.
  • by aelbric ( 145391 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:29PM (#22017242)
    The 16 Billion NASA gets is .01% of the 1.6 Trillion that goes into Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid every year. Funding space exploration at this bargain-basement budget level should be a no brainer
  • by 3.2.3 ( 541843 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:30PM (#22017254)
    Yes, the broken window fallacy is the correct assessment. Calling the inspiration of space exploration "unique" was an attempt to skirt the fallacy. The enonomics, though, is the correct basis to evaluate the decisions. Resources are limited to solve problems. There are more important problems than space beauty and fantasy, such as energy, environment, education, and poverty. Government spending on those problems are equal economic engines with more practical benefit. What is not spent on the broken window can have better benefit elsewhere and for would be space glaziers. It would be great for geeks to find inspiration in that. The principal benefactor of space exploration is the defense industry. Pretty pictures of distant galaxies distract geeks from that fact and provide a false inspiration.
  • Re:Mod parent up. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by yariv ( 1107831 ) <yariv DOT yaari AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:32PM (#22017270)
    You might ask the Slashdot community why should we support computers, they might give you some insightful/informative answers. Maybe even a funny one.
  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <ChristianHGrossNO@SPAMyahoo.ca> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:33PM (#22017286)
    Well here is a question why do anything? Most things like flying, driving, and so on did not seem useful. Let's take the car as an example. Look at the first model: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car [wikipedia.org]. In 1885 could you have seen that thing be more economical than say a horse? I doubt that the first model as proposed by Benz could even travel more than a couple of kilometers. And yet here we are with millions upon millions of cars.

    The problem with space is that humanity dropped the ball. We should have done more sooner. Of course part of the problem is that America had to keep footing the bill. But think about what space travel has brought:

    GPS, Satellite Media, The Ability to detect global warming, Satellite phones, etc, etc...

    I am even thinking if we had traveled and lived in space quicker we would have less of a global warming problem. After all to be able to live in space you better be efficient and learn how to recycle...
  • by FatSean ( 18753 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:37PM (#22017316) Homepage Journal
    We don't need to waste our money on an army that just inspires douchebag politicians to start shit. Put 10% of the military welfare towards space exploration, and tone down the aggressive rhetoric.

    I mean, why should my tax dollars finance an over-powered military which sucks hard at stopping current terroristic threats? Because you're pants-filling fear says so?

    (Hyperbole used for effect)
  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:43PM (#22017374) Journal
    The environment on this planet is completely capable of changing all on its own.

    It has changed before and it will change again, homo sapiens or no.

    In my opinion, the capricious nature of Nature is an even better argument for extra-terrestrial human colonization.

    In other words, saying we need to develop space travel because we are screwing up this planet is pretty lame. A big rock can fall from the cosmos next month and kill us all. That should be motivation enough.

  • by Scotman ( 1126481 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:02PM (#22017552)
    As a friend of mine says "I would rather they spend this money on space then on rockets with warheads pointed at me." The fact is that welfare and is very nice but does not change the problem. Spend a billion on it today and you will be guaranteed one thing, you will need two billion the next year. There is something being mist by people that say we need to spend it on our internal troubles first. And that is that after the money is spent it buys tomorrow but what about the day after? People don't just stand around doing nothing, they need a place to go or they will come after you. This planet is just about maxed out, we need a place to go or war will be the only future we have.
  • by Planesdragon ( 210349 ) <slashdot@castlesteelst o n e .us> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:02PM (#22017554) Homepage Journal

    UbuntuDupe hit the nail on the head; this is a prime example of the Broken Window Fallacy.
    No, it isn't.

    Space Exploration serves economically as an impetus for invention and innovation, and as general inspiration for the nation at large. It is a national contest, and national contests have positive economic impact. Space Exploration isn't a broken window -- it's the game of baseball.

    The most common form of national contest is war -- if you're having a hard time understanding it, think of it this way. Space Exploration is a way to have the economic benefits of a nation-at-war state, without the significant economic drains from the actual war.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:03PM (#22017564)

    And you have experimental evidence to back all this up, or is everyone still just pretending that economics is a science and therefore provably correct?

    The problem with repeating the broken window fallacy over and over like some sort of mantra is that it assumes that the benefit from breaking the window can never be greater than the opportunity cost. What if the glazier, in a hurry for a dinner date, slaps some goo on the glass and in the process discovers $25 windshield repairs while-u-wait? That outcome is never discussed by economists.

    In context, who knows whether investing the money that went into NASA into energy production would have caused someone to invent a commercially viable fusion power system, is it reasonable to stand around and assert that it (or some other energy-saving advance) would have been?
  • by stranger_to_himself ( 1132241 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:08PM (#22017616) Journal

    In a world of competing uses for scarce resources economics provides a non-normative way to analyze and balance those interests. Space exploration is great; so would be a cure to childhood leukemia. Don't look at it as depressing, rather as illuminating.

    The problem is that economics provides no real way to quantify the relative benefits of either space exploration or curing childhood leukemia, apart from the obvious jobs created, non-stick pans, boring etc. How do you economically measure the magnificence of space travel or the fulfillment of human ambition? Can you put a value on knowing how the Earth looks from space?

    By the way I am a medical researcher, and although I think my work is valuable, I often wish my job was more about achieving something positive for mankind, rather than just preventing bad things from happening. I also sometimes am involved in health economic assessments, and to see a year of healthy life expressed in its worth in $$ is also quite depressing.

  • by calcapt ( 975466 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:10PM (#22017640)

    Baloney. Complete and utter baloney. If you don't believe that the earth has limited resources and finite carrying capacity, get some common sense, read some Malthus, or take a look in a biology book. We might be fine for the nearby future, but an unsustainable earth appears to be an inevitability. The earth cannot, will not sustain human life forever. The birth of this planet only provided it with so many resources, and our unregulated consumption paints a very bleak future for us. The problem is further compounded by the fact that our consumption is not just unregulated, but also has the tendency to destroy other resources through unsustainable practices.

    Furthermore, humanity should have hit carrying capacity already; were it not for the UNSUSTAINABLE breakthroughs brought by the Green Revolution in the 40's-60's, that brought us increased crop yields, we all would likely have experienced famine (in some shape or form) sometime in our lives. We currently face reaching a new carrying capacity with our ever increasing population. Now that many Green Revolution agricultural advances have been deemed unsustainable (environmentally unfriendly, rendering farmland useless), this future becomes exceedingly dire; we have yet to find a way to increase agricultural production that will compensate for our increased population and replace Green Revolution techniques.

  • by globaljustin ( 574257 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:11PM (#22017646) Journal

    Without private spaceflight, we cannot explore the space in an economically efficient way.

    parent is a troll...doesn't provide even the most basic support for his contention

    please mod down

    on topic, i think private space exploration is great...too bad no one is really doing it. right now, the only active presence of private industry in space is for SPACE TOURISM, not exploration...it's all about some rich guy doing a sub-orbital shot and going 'whooopppeee!' during his 10 minutes of 0g

    space tourism is not the same as true exploration, no private industry has any legit plans/funding to actually DO any exploration...all they have is a power point presentation and a sales pitch...slashdot has discussed this thoroughly...can't we accept this and move on now?

  • by kodiakbri ( 1081957 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:15PM (#22017704)
    I feel somewhat worried that people feel we have to get human life to other planets. It's kind of like an escape pod idea. We've got to solve the problems here. Let's make this place sustainable. A dark way to look at this is that humans are an invasive species on this planet and it might be better for the universe if we just stayed put. Are we going to do to others like we did to the Native Americans, or wipe out species like we did in Hawaii? Kind of dark yes, but it is a reasonable argument.
  • Because it is hard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:24PM (#22017802) Journal

    We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

    John F. Kennedy, 9/12/1962 [virginia.edu]

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:27PM (#22017848) Journal
    Before I get started: I actually quite like the space program, and I do think that some advances were made for it. But the "it created jobs!!!" argument is IMHO still a fallacy.

    There's a more subtle version or relative of the broken window there. The fallacy is assuming that those jobs wouldn't have been created by someone else, for another purpose.

    The thing is, since we've been Keynesian [wikipedia.org] all along, all the governments have known about the Phillips curve [wikipedia.org] too. In fact, applied it.

    The short and skinny is that there's an interdependency between inflation and unemployment. So for more than half a century what all governments did was try to stay at a point of their choosing on that curve. That's the reason the Federal Reserve tries to keep inflation at a given point, for example. Because too much inflation is bad by itself, but too little creates unemployment.

    So in doing so, it fixes the employment where it wants it too.

    Basically if those jobs hadn't been created by the space program, then they would have been created somewhere else. Not the same jobs, mind you, but a roughly equal number anyway.

    The even more insidious part of the "but it created jobs!!!" sophistry is that it tries to imply that something was gained where nothing would have been created instead otherwise. People already nod and imagine that all the things those people achieved in those jobs, are surely better than nothing at all, because they wouldn't even be employed without a space program. Which just isn't so. Those people would have been employed, and would have produced _something_ in all this time, with or without a space program. Each job there, came at the expense of exactly one job somewhere else. Every 8 hours day spent reviewing why the shuttle's heat tiles broke, are 8 hours that weren't spent (by that guy or someone else) on some other project.

    A point could still be made whether we benefited more from those jobs, than from the alternate history version without a space program. Unfortunately, none of us knows what would have really happened in an alternate history. Maybe all those jobs would have been cabbie and McDonalds jobs instead. In that case, sure, we're better off with them working (directly or indirectly) for NASA instead. But at least theoretically it's equally possible that they would have worked on some better project instead. Maybe in that parallel universe without a space program, all those smart people worked on fusion power instead and now have cheap energy everywhere and a bunch of innovative electronics trickled to other domains from _that_ research. We don't know.
  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @05:25PM (#22018370)
    The question posed was "is manned space exploration worth the cost?"

    Most of the answers and justifications include manned and unmanned exploration. If you take the benefits from unmanned exploration out of the responses from the selected pundits, the answers are much less emphatic.

    (not my view, just an observation that the question wasn't properly answered)

  • by canuck57 ( 662392 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @05:50PM (#22018596)

    The 16 Billion NASA gets is .01% of the 1.6 Trillion that goes into Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid every year. Funding space exploration at this bargain-basement budget level should be a no brainer

    So if I did my math right, and Iraq is up to about a trillion, NASA could have been funded some 55+ year (not including interest). Or double NASA's funding 27 1/2 years. What a waste.

  • sloppy thinking (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @05:50PM (#22018598) Homepage

    Space exploration will eventually allow us to establish a human civilization on another world (e.g., Mars) as a hedge against the type of catastrophe that wiped out the dinosaurs.
    This is a good argument for accomplishing crewed space travel in the next few centuries. It's not a good argument for short-term boondoggles like the space shutte (whose only purpose is to go to the ISS) anf the ISS (whose only purpose is to give the space shuttle somewhere to go).

    We explore space and create important new technologies to advance our economy. It is true that, for every dollar we spend on the space program, the U.S. economy receives about $8 of economic benefit.
    Lots of other types of spending by the U.S. federal government could have payoffs like this. Maybe the money should be spend on proteinomics. If this was going to be a valid argument, economists would have to have a magic wand that would allow them to predict the long-term economic result of taxing and spending to support crewed space programs, taxing and spending to do other things, or refraining from taxing and spending.

    Space exploration can also serve as a stimulus for children to enter the fields of science and engineering.
    Children enter those fields because they're fun, and they find they have a talent for it. This also seems to be assuming in advance the validity of all the bogus doomsday statements in the media about how we're not producing enough scientists and engineers. I teach engineering majors, and the painful truth is that many of them just aren't good enough at math and science to be engineers. They're being steered into the field by their parents, who tell them they can make a lot of money. If there are "not enough" scientists and engineers, what is that "not enough" based on? Is it not enough because employers are upset at the quality of applicants they get when they offer x dollars per year? Maybe the answer is that employers should offer more money and see if they get a better applicant pool. That's how supply and demand work.

    Space exploration in an international context offers a peaceful cooperative venue that is a valuable alternative to nation state hostilities.
    Last time I checked, the cold war had been over for decades, and the ISS was not a joint project of Iran, North Korea, and the U.S. In any case, there are plenty of big projects we could cooperate on with other countries. The political impetus for cooperation with the Russians on the ISS was in fact one of the reasons the ISS ended up being useless (highly inclined orbit).

    National prestige requires that the U.S. continue to be a leader in space, and that includes human exploration.
    National prestige requires that we end the USA Patriot act, close down Guantanamo, apologize to the world for Abu Ghraib, and end the U.S. military's practice of kidnapping the families of Iraqi insurgents (see Fiasco : The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks). Funny how this national prestige thing seems to be a matter of individual opinion.

    Exploration of space will provide humanity with an answer to the most fundamental questions: Are we alone? Are there other forms of life beside those on Earth?
    If that's what we want, then SETI would be a better investment than crewed spaceflight.
  • by gnuman99 ( 746007 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:19PM (#22019508)
    Spread or fail. If humans don't spread beyond this planet, we fail. Plain and simple.

    The purpose of life is to survive. Being stuck on this planet will lead to your extinction either caused by ourselves or external forces (aka. asteroid). It is just a matter of time. All the talk about military in this discussion (see other threads) just underscores that we are still thinking small. We'll kill each other for the tiny resources on this small planet instead of taking what is freely available elsewhere.

    We should be at war with universe*, not ourselves. We must shed our stone age mentality, now.

    * - this means in terms of "conquering" new places that are deemed inhabitable and making them habitable. Like Moon or Mars or Ganymede or Titan.
  • by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:29PM (#22020054) Journal
    More like 20 years out of date, not 50.

    Also, one should realize that many pyramids were constructed over a period of a thousand years, so who's to say that in every period that pyramids were constructed with societal labor. We don't know ancient Egyptian culture that well, even with pictographs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @08:30PM (#22020082)
    Right, because there's a cornucopia of rainforests filled with biodiversity in space for us to ruin.
  • Disincentives. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @09:14PM (#22020384)
    All true. --But since it is well known by the power brokers of the world just how easy it is to manipulate the public, one might wonder, (one being 'me'), if these disincentives were random nuggets in the bag of feed, or sprinkled deliberately into the trough. They say nothing in politics happens by accident, and the more I learn about the world, the more evident this appears to be. NASA is politics.

    Heck, if the American beef and wheat industries can invert the food pyramid, and if the CIA and military can have such close ties with the film and television industries, then if the people with the pull (Rothschildes and similar; people with gobs of power and no public personas to protect), really wanted Americans living in big vacuum cleaner attachments on other worlds, then they could sell it incredibly easily. Heck, I don't think it would even need selling; all it would need is a very little bit of money, (comparatively speaking), and an open casting call to the Slashdot types of the world. --Which leads me to think that space exploration is simply not on the agenda. I have to wonder what their disincentives are.

    Actually, I know the answer to that. . .

    Space exploration leads to excitement and creation for the joy it rather than for that bone-headed 'competition' thing they keep selling kids in ass-hat colleges. Learning, and opening and growing. These kinds of activities which are the heart and soul of exploration lead to states of mind in entire populations which Empower. --Empowered people cannot be controlled so easily, and the rich psychotic bastards of the world know this and fear this with gothic morbidity.

    Is it any wonder that the space program blossomed under Kennedy? We have to remember the rich psychopathic bastards who ordered his death did so exactly because he was all about empowering the people. After all is said and done, that's the core reason those bullets flew. Everything ever since has been a stage production to trick us all into thinking that Bad Things Happen For No Reason. Bullshit. The slavemasters of the world want us stupid and fighting against each other in the mud so that nobody ever gets the idea of perhaps fighting them.


  • by Buran ( 150348 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @09:53PM (#22020628)
    It's that kind of BS attitude that is screwing over our environment as we speak because we're too lazy to clean up our own messes and "we can leave it for our kids to deal with". Well, that never got done because it kept getting put off.

    News flash: the future matters.

    Are you really that oblivious that you have to post arrogant, rude, and profanity-laden troll responses on message forums when people dare to think beyond their own tiny little world?
  • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @10:11PM (#22020750) Homepage Journal
    At the very least, developing the technology needed to live in another planet (or space stations) will be very useful here if this planet becomes not so hospitable as it is now. And being able to do that out of this planet will make things safer against more complicated disasters.

    Even if things dont go very wrong in the short/middle term, will be side effects, developing bombs that travel further we got worldwide communication after all.

    About diverting money, investing here dont mean to stop worrying about things on earth. And (flamebait analogy :) people dont question investing large sums in something that could take 10-20 years to start to "pay" back, like educating children, why you object to another investment in our not so far future?
  • by SlappyBastard ( 961143 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @10:44PM (#22020978) Homepage
    Ponder that, and your argument about the billionaires will become even bigger. Financial success in space would be the biggest game changer since the Spanish conquests of Mexico and Peru ruined the silver market in the 1500s.
  • by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @12:15AM (#22021528) Homepage
    To get a trillion dollars, you'd have to use nearly all of the individual income tax revenue collected in a single year.

    And what are these conservative investments that you'd put a trillion dollars into? Government bonds?

    You do realize that taking a trillion dollars out of circulation just might have some effect on the overall economy and the value of a dollar, no?

    You talk about a trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon it starts to add up to real money.
  • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @02:12AM (#22022286) Homepage
    There are no net benefits of a nation-at-war state. That is a common myth. Please stop perpetuating it. The more this belief is spread, the more likely we are to allow our lives and fortunes to be squandered on destruction in the future.

User hostile.