This month, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket blew up, destroying Facebook’s $195-million-dollar satellite.
This event eerily reminds us about the failed Falcon 9 launch just 15 months earlier, where SpaceX’s rocket blew up as it approached orbit and destroyed $118 million dollars of NASA cargo. This is the second failure in succession, reminding the public of the “risks of spaceflight.”
Except that “risk of spaceflight” is just rhetoric by the government – the other orbit launching company, United Launch Alliance (ULA), has experienced a 100 percent success rate in launches over a course of 10 years, compared to SpaceX’s reckless six years in business.
In this Thursday, May 29, 2014, file photo, Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, introduces the SpaceX Dragon V2 spaceship at the SpaceX headquarters on, in Hawthorne, Calif. Tesla Motors is opening access to its patents to accelerate electric vehicle development. Musk says the company will share several hundred patents and won't sue those who use them. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File
But why bother to sweep ULA’s successes under the rug and prop up SpaceX’s failure? The reason is simply because the government has a cozy relationship with Elon Musk, the brain behind SpaceX, and they want to continue pumping taxpayer dollars his way.
More than 85 percent of SpaceX’s contracts are from the government. Additionally, SpaceX has received neatly $5 billion in subsidies and tax credits. But more important than the money is simply that policymakers want to believe in Elon Musk’s “vision.”
They want to believe in a “vision” that claims to save us from the world by wrapping all future energy production in a nice package of vertical integration – or simply put: a monopoly. The government buys into Elon Musk’s companies because they want to believe that Elon Musk will produce clean energy through SolarCity’s solar panels and Tesla’s electric-powered vehicles, all while getting us off this “terrible planet” with SpaceX.
Progressive policy makers want to believe that Elon Musk will create an eco-friendly slew of businesses that would best serve to “symbolize” their party. They are willing to spend money -- really just waste it -- in order to make a political statement.
The only issue is that such policy making is not “progressive” at all. If anything, such outright blind policy spending on waste deters progress and keeps us stuck in the present. When policymakers “believe” rather than look at the cold hard facts (ie, Musk’s track record and cash-burn ratios), they risk the future of our country, and more importantly, the people that inhabit it.
But that’s okay, because when a politician passes a bill, they care about one thing only: votes. Politicians are not held accountable for dollars, but rather for idealism.
Although politicians crave to be liked, it is also sparkly eyed to believe that policymakers keep giving Musk contracts simply to “look cool and hip.” If we look simply at SolarCity and SpaceX, even some Republicans like John McCain support Elon Musk. How does this happen?
Simple: Elon Musk is a crafty businessman who spends his money in the right places. SpaceX, SolarCity, and Tesla, have been reported to have hundreds of lobbyists on Capitol Hill.
Currently John McCain is being investigated by the federal government for his cozy relationship with Musk. But the buck doesn’t stop with McCain. Elon Musk pumps money into other politicians’ pockets to get his government contracts, all at the expense of taxpayers and the mislead discretion of policymakers.
Elon Musk is playing a shell game that promises policy symbolism on the dime of your tax dollars. Every time a SpaceX rocket blows up, your money was spent on that failure.
Elon Musk has his hands in the pockets of the government and plays his game like a pro. It is time for politicians to take off their rose-colored glasses. American families should not be paying for Elon Musk’s failures.
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