The Dangers of Space Pork

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It was hidden deep inside a ten-page statement, but Senate testimony from NASA administrator Michael Griffin made it clear that earmarks – the practice (better known as “pork”) of congresspersons’ adding “special projects” that benefit their districts or donors – actually harm NASA’s ability to do its job rather than bring in extra money: “The growth of these congressional directions is eroding NASA’s ability to carry out its mission of space exploration.”

To be sure, what is really eroding NASA’s ability is probably its status as a government agency rather than a private enterprise. But most government agencies (one or two of which may have a legitimate purpose) probably feel the same way about the micromanaging”earmarks” from Congress. If they all said so and if the media reported on their complaints, perhaps the honorables in Congress would at least be a bit embarrassed – assuming they are capable of embarrassment.

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