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NASA IG Paints Bleak Picture For Agency Projects 73

coondoggie writes "The bottom line for NASA as well as any number of government agencies in this new era of sequestration is money — and NASA in this case has too many programs chasing too few dollars. That is just one of a number of bleak conclusions NASA's Inspector General Paul Martin laid out to a Congressional hearing adding that 'declining budgets and fiscal uncertainties present the most significant external challenges to NASA's ability to successfully move forward on its many projects and programs. For the first 6 months of this year, NASA has operated under a continuing resolution that funds the Agency at last year's level of $17.8 billion. Moreover, NASA's share of the Government-wide sequestration cuts reduce that spending authority by $894 million.'"
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NASA IG Paints Bleak Picture For Agency Projects

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  • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @03:38AM (#43168547)

    Given NASA's constant funding problems for the last few decades

    During the last few decades (1990-) NASA has enjoyed consistent funding [wordpress.com] just north of 15 billion inflation adjusted dollars every year. That pattern has survived four presidents and almost six administrations.

    The "funding problem" you imagine is received bullshit. Given that NASA is just one of many 'discretionary' costs that must compete with the ever bloating welfare state and chronic $1E12+ annual deficits since 2008, a NASA spending authority loss of only 5% is a testament to our values and our wisdom.

    Our wisdom... sounds weird doesn't it? Taking the occasional break from self-flagellation is useful behavior.

  • by TheSeatOfMyPants ( 2645007 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @06:03AM (#43169081) Journal

    at the moment, nobody really gives a fuck about nasa or space since they're trying to focus on figuring out how to pay their bills, and rightly so...

    Exactly. A few decades ago, the old "we can't just keep throwing money at the poor" reaction made some sense, as things like homeless shelters, support for the elderly & disabled, public schools & universities (like the ones that created much of the original Internet) were relatively well-funded; unemployment wasn't out of hand, minimum wage wasn't being eclipsed by the cost of necessities but there was plenty of help for those that needed it. The situation wasn't remotely near perfect, but it was close enough to divert some funds into scientific endeavors that aren't devoted to saving & drastically improving lives.

    That's not true anymore. Most adults over 30 are under a hell of a lot of pressure between knowing job security is shit, their pay not mirroring how hard/long they work, the cost of necessities is eating most of their paycheck, plus have kids plus elderly/disabled relatives they will (or are) need to help out substantially because the programs that would've done so 30 years ago were cut to the bone. Some of the geeks on Slashdot are (or should be) worrying even if they do earn a good living, as the age bias could easily cause long-term havoc unless they can excel enough at a new career to be hired in middle age with zero work experience in the field. It's usually the inexperienced younger folk that haven't had to help others out yet that shrug the issue off and focus on their dreams & ideals...

    Personally, my thought is that we should return to the overall taxes & spending setup that helped spur the creation of the Internet and the space program, because it's all ultimately interconnected. Those of you whose reaction to the above is to resentfully think that a lack of dependents & current success means you shouldn't have to pitch in, that's what it will take if you want an America like the one that achieved great things several decades ago; if you want one like the stagnating, slowly failing one of the last 12 years where people focus on individually scrabbling for what they can grab for themselves rather than working together to achieve great things, keep pushing for the path we're on.

  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:32AM (#43169803)

    It's sad to see an Inspector General get on a politicized soap box and yell "the sky is falling!" The Obama administration has gone out of its way to have every cabinet member and in fact everybody down the food chain or should I say "feeding trough" also echo a bunch of FUD over the sequestration. Just like our retarded Homeland Security Chief Napolitano, a bigger political idiot I'd be challenged to find on this planet! [thegatewaypundit.com] Wasn't it her program of "If you see something, say something?" Hey Janet, "you're a retard and a hypocrite because on one hand you tell us that because of sequestration the TSA will have to cut back and we'll have longer waits at the airport and yet you spend another $50M you didn't need toright after announcing that!" Sorry for ranting.

    In the private sector, every manager usually has a few goals established that are boilerplate but still applicable.. One of them is "Reduce Costs by x%" usually x is 10. All of us in this economy has had to cut back and it's time for the US Government to stop spending every dollar they take in and a third more. $900B deficits are killing us now and will only get worse, it has to stop.

    If you look at the data for NASA the current budget while it is less than they've spent under Continuing Resolutions but in FY2009 [wikipedia.org] (The last year a budget was passed by Congress) Their budget was $17,782B. in 2010 and 2011 they were allowed to spend $18,724B and $18,448B respectively. That's pretty hefty in terms of spending increases and let's not forget they were still flying the Space Shuttles during those fiscal years! It was hella expensive to launch a shuttle and it has been a drain on NASA's budget for decades. By some estimates $192B over the life of the Shuttles.
    Now the IG is whining that the budget is going to cause problems? I'd submit that after the Shuttle program ended that the budget should have gone down. But no, it's now down by their latest projection for FY2012 (the current budget year) $17,770B roughly the same as in FY2009!?!? Assuming 4 launches launches per year (FY2010) [wikipedia.org] @ $1.5B/launch [forbes.com] that's $6B just for not flying the Shuttle, but yet the budget didn't go down. Granted only two shuttles flew in FY2011, I'd still submit that's $3B that went to something "else."
    What ever "else" is they need to just stop doing that because it came into fruition over the last year.

    This is a very very poor set of arguments from an official who is supposed to be independent and the watchdog for the American People and he's not doing his job by echoing the same BS and FUD that the administration has pushed out since February. They have eliminated the Shuttle, reducing expenses of $6B/year and they want more money? What every they're smoking they need to share it with the rest of us!

    This kind of attitude clearly points out why there's such a huge vacuum of leadership in DC. From Congress to the White House, it's time to vote them all out of office, but first fire this IG!

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll