Sunday, August 29, 2021

Let rich give humanity new frontier

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for July 28, 2021)

After Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos both went to space-- depending on how you define "space"-- within days of each other, in rockets built by their respective companies, outrage activists got upset.

Were people angry when Henry Ford first rode in a Ford automobile, or when Alexander Graham Bell made his first phone call?

It's not a matter of how wealthy Branson and Bezos are. It was their responsibility to ride their rockets.

When your company builds rockets, you, as the head of the company, need to put some skin in the game. How could you ask anyone else to ride if you're not willing?

I'm not envious of their wealth, anyway. Other things bother me more.

I'm not a fan when Elon Musk's SpaceX takes government payloads into space or seeks FAA permission to launch rockets or built a tower. When government hallucinates the authority to "allow" or "forbid" business, and backs it with threats of force, you do what you have to do. I still don't like it.

Don't suggest they pay more taxes, either. Only the economically ignorant want government to tax corporations more-- or at all. All corporate taxes are, and must be, paid by the customers, like every business expense. I can't afford to support government by paying more than necessary for things I want and need.

In space flight, as with anything else, the early users are going to be those who can afford the immense price. I'm not envious. Other people buy more expensive cars, bigger and better houses, and take nicer, longer vacations than I can afford. For me to envy anyone who can afford things I can't would be pointless.

In this case, they are also taking the greatest risks. By the time the cost of space travel has dropped to the point where people like me can afford a ride, most bugs should be worked out. I'm glad others are going first.

Building rockets to take people into space is essential for the future of our species, even if you don't want to go. NASA had its chance. Now others have stepped up to do what government failed to do.

The envious can't see that money spent on space travel is helping everyone on Earth. This money is better spent than most charitable donations, if you're looking at long-term benefits. Humanity needs a frontier more than most people realize. Let them give you one.

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  1. You are one of the first I have seen who understands that corporations don't pay taxes. Their customers pay the taxes. If Ford motor company gets hit with a corporate tax raise, they don't pay more in taxes, the cost of a new F150 goes up 350$, to pay the increased tax rate that the government put on the shoulders of the Ford motor company.
    I have tried to point this out to my leftist friends and relatives who "want the rich corporations to pay their fair share." I try to explain to them that all they are doing is placing more tax burden onto the backs of the middle and lower classes. But they seem to be either to blind or to willing to look the other way to see it. And the right wingers are getting just as dumb, they flog Biden for his policies, when they claim that Trump and the Republicans are God's gift to America, when the Republican party screwed over Trump and most of his policies that he tried to implement, like reform of the whole Obamacare program, less gun control, etc. So both political parties can go screw themselves as far as I am concerned. Unless they get their shit together, I will vote for the person who most closely represents my point of view and the party and election be damned.

    1. I've also seen people (often on the "right") argue that renters pay no property taxes-- even claiming that landlords just eat that expense. Economic ignorance is rampant.