Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two birds with one stone

Now every proposal for balancing the budget includes big cuts for both Medicare and NASA. Now here are two seemingly unrelated facts.

Fact one: 30% of Medicare expenditures are incurred by people in the last year of their lives.

Fact two: NASA spends billions a year on astronaut safety.

Maybe you see where I'm going.

Why not shoot the elderly into space? Stay with me. Because I'm not just thinking about the budget here. I'm talking about science. Just think how many more manned space operations NASA could undertake if they didn't have to worry about getting the astronauts back.
--Al Franken, 1996 White House Correspondents Dinner, on a way out of our budgetary problems

1 comment:

bchoi said...

Obvious and dangerous problem being, of course, that you don't know which 30% are in their last year of their life. You could imagine any statistic being abused that way -- e.g., X% of urban black males die before the age of 30, ergo, let's sacrifice them for science!