end the manned space program

I have as much of an imagination and as much hope for the possibilities of our species as the next person, and I believe in a space program. I just cannot understand how we can think that incurring the unnecessary expense of sending real bodies into orbit performing high school science projects, mostly to market voters, and corporate, military and Congressional interests for the support of other, serious NASA programs, is more important than securing health care for all of our people, something provided by every civilized nation on the planet.

How can we be proud as a nation of our efforts in space if we cannot give basic care to our people on earth? Once we ensure that everyone in the world's wealthiest country has health care, we might have the luxury of re-examining whether men and women are better astronauts than machines.

Paul Krugman has been thinking about this a lot.

But the shuttle program didn't suddenly go wrong last weekend; in terms of its original mission, it was a failure from the get-go. Indeed, manned space flight in general has turned out to be a bust.