The government has decided to stop doing something that it does badly.

That’s a rare occurrence, so pause to savor it.

That is how Katherine Mangu-Ward opens her piece on Obama’s revision of the NASA budget. Delicious. The piece itself is more focused on the confused logic of government’s role in “job creation,” but there is one excellent paragraph that can stand on its own. A rep from Utah worried that the loss of NASA jobs would mean the skills of those workers would be lost to the country; Mangu-Ward rebuts him:

Luckily, we are not living in the 17th century Mughal empire of Shah Jahan, of whom it is rumored that to protect the secrets of the Taj Mahal and guarantee that it remain unique he cut off the hands of the architect who designed it. For good measure, he killed, maimed, or blinded the builders as well. Nor are we in the second century B.C. under the reign of Qin Shi Huang, who had his now-famous tomb stocked with thousands of life-sized terra cotta warriors—and then proceeded to kill all of the workers on the project.

The point being those expert workers will likely go on to work for a private company and/or start their own, not sit around moping that they lost their NASA job. If their expertise is truly unique – remember, these people are literally rocket scientists – they should have no trouble at all.

Tagged with: