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What percentage of your tax money should go to a government space agency?

Displaying poll results.
  3225 votes / 11%
Between 0% and 0.5%
  3556 votes / 13%
Between 0.5% and 1%
  3348 votes / 12%
Between 1% and 2%
  3893 votes / 14%
Between 2% and 5%
  3284 votes / 12%
Between 5% and 10%
  2403 votes / 8%
More than 10%
  4225 votes / 15%
  3164 votes / 11%
27098 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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What percentage of your tax money should go to a government space agency?

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  • by gus goose (306978) on Friday March 16, 2012 @09:15AM (#39376151) Journal

    Sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, etc.

    Also, given that I think most of those taxes are far too high, I should answer 95% ... on the condition that 0% of my taxes go to military budgets...

    The question is not 'how much of what I already pay should go to space exploration?', but rather: 'how much is wasted elsewhere....?'

    And, % measures are worse than useless.


    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday March 16, 2012 @09:26AM (#39376257) Homepage

      Federal, not state taxes. Historically, the budget of NASA has been anywhere from 0.5 to 1% of the overall Federal budget. Not bad at all. Of course, it could be more but that's what this debate in polling is all about. So there you have it.

      • by zill (1690130) on Friday March 16, 2012 @09:33AM (#39376295)

        Historically, the budget of NASA has been anywhere from 0.5 to 1% of the overall Federal budget.

        Actually it went as high as 4.41% during the Apollo years.

        • Which is when the derivative technologies were also extraordinarily useful. Lightweight materials, vital signs monitoring, computing, etc. all were pushed forward by the early space program. Once we were just going to back to LEO the advancements didn't seem as (comparatively) grand.
          • by Sir_Sri (199544)

            Right but some of that has been transitioned to war department research that does the same thing. Whether it's a civilian agency or a military one the work is being done, and eventually those benefits spin off to the civilian world (and of course, it's paying the same companies to do the work either way).

            Though i agree with the general premise, which is that more research into solving complex problems will lead to more elegant solutions to everyday problems, and that's nothing but good for everyone.

          • by rgbrenner (317308) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:29AM (#39387037)

            Once we were just going to back to LEO the advancements didn't seem as (comparatively) grand.

            The advancements from NASA didn't seem as grand.

            If you spend money on any type of research, there will be some advancements that will be useful to others. That program could be NASA, the military, NSF, etc.

            If you're real goal is technological progress, then we need to ask: where will research money result in the greatest advancements?

            And the answer to that question might not be NASA.

            • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday March 18, 2012 @05:02PM (#39397879) Journal
              To put NASA's funding in perspective, my PhD was as part of a research project that, over three years, employed 4 PhD students, 3 research assistance, and some percentage of 4 lecturers' time. For the cost of one shuttle launch, you could fund somewhere between 500 and 1000 projects of a similar scope. As a side effect, you then have a few thousand PhDs entering the workforce. It's pretty hard to justify NASA's budget in terms of engineering R&D. It's a bit different when it comes to hard science, but precious little of that actually happens at NASA anymore.
        • Historically, the budget of NASA has been anywhere from 0.5 to 1% of the overall Federal budget.

          Actually it went as high as 4.41% during the Apollo years.

          That's when they were still the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, rather than the current and ongoing Notions About Space Adventures.

      • The interesting thing at this stage (approximately 14000 votes) is how evenly spread this poll is, I don't think I've seen that before.
  • All of it. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Walterk (124748) <dublet.acm@org> on Friday March 16, 2012 @09:23AM (#39376217) Homepage Journal

    Get me off this dirty stinking rock!

  • FYI (Score:5, Informative)

    by zill (1690130) on Friday March 16, 2012 @09:23AM (#39376229)
    The actual number is 0.48% [] for 2012.

    I think there should be a way to donate to individual government agencies. Here's already a way to donate to the US treasury [], but no way to specify how much goes to your favorite program.
    • by Zocalo (252965)
      I did wonder what the actual figure was - that it would be the US is a given, this being Slashdot and all. I'd have guessed about 1%, but given all the recent NASA cuts to help fund other areas maybe this isn't all that low after all. Of course, it'll vary from country to country quite significantly depending on the size of their space programme. I wouldn't be at all surpised if 0.48% would be a couple of orders of magnitude larger than what percentage of its tax revenue the UK currently contributes towa
    • Re:FYI (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bigby (659157) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:02PM (#39380411)

      If I gift the US Treasury, do I have to pay taxes on that earned income?

    • Re:FYI (Score:5, Informative)

      by NEDHead (1651195) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:06PM (#39380447)

      Donating to specific agencies won't work -if there were a significant such donation to NASA, the legislators would just defund the agency the corresponding amount, and then in future years without a donation, the actual budget would tend towards the lower level.

    • Re:FYI (Score:5, Interesting)

      by war4peace (1628283) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:33PM (#39380765)

      In my country we are allowed by law to give away 2% of our taxes to whichever piece-o'-the-pie we feel like it. NGOs, research funds, the Military, Health, Space Research, you name it.

      If you express no option, it all goes to the Government.

      So you get to choose and donate that tiny amount to whatever you feel is good. I am donating to Health because Health sucks around here, it's so fucked up you'd faint by just being shown a glimpse of it.

      I would honestly make that as much as 50%. 2% is a joke, but better than zero.

  • I would even pay more tax to fund it, so healthcare or education don't have to suffer. It would of course mean that I spend less on the least important thing I waste money on right now: entertainment. So, that would probably mean that the RIAA would sue NASA for lost revenue. And that would mean that NASA would spend 5% of all tax money on lawsuits. It seems a bit of a catch22.

    -- yes, going off-topic in just 5 short sentences.

  • by mikael_j (106439) on Friday March 16, 2012 @09:46AM (#39376467)

    Maybe I'm delusional but as far as I'm concerned space exploration is very important even if it's primarily a long-term thing (meaning a lot of private interests and politicians see no value in it).

  • by Zocalo (252965) on Friday March 16, 2012 @10:15AM (#39376905) Homepage
    Several posts have touched on this, but I think this would be a brilliant idea. From a practical point of view Government would still need to fund the essentials that people probably wouldn't elect to donate funds too, but if you could allocate say 20%, or even 10%, of an individual's total tax bill to discretionary funding of specifc agencies that could work out very well for some agencies, and also help government understand where the voters actually want their money spent. NASA is the obvious example here, given the nature of the poll.

    Let's say recipients of federal taxes get to chose whether they want their funding allocated from the fixed federal pot, or the discretionary pot - yes, you could have a split, but let's keep it simple. Those that chose the discretionary pot go onto a list on the tax return and people get to select, and possibly allocate percentages, which agencies they want their discretionary taxes to be allocated to. How many US taxpayers are going to tick the NASA box over, say, the TSA box?

    Of course, it would never work get through congress. NASA and the like would end up with a larger budget than the DoD, and we couldn't possibly have the US putting the benefit of all mankind ahead of national self interest, could we?
    • by Bigby (659157)

      I would imagine that only a portion of the taxes would be allocated for the discretionary spending. The DoD would already get a big well as the welfare programs.

      The discretionary spending could still list the DoD and welfare programs for those that want even more in that direction. But it would list others, like NASA.

      I've thought of this solution myself. The problem sits on how you determine how much non-discretionary spending goes to each place. Politics will still drive it. Unless you make

    • by ensignyu (417022)

      It's a nice idea in principle but I suspect it'd have some nasty side effects.

      For one, people aren't entirely rational (they want lower taxes but more government services). As much as I distrust Congress they at least have to discuss it before doing something monumentally stupid with the budget, and there's a certain amount of inertia against screwing with funding critical services.

      California, where every other year there's some spending initiative on the ballot, is a good example of why letting people dire

    • by k6mfw (1182893)
      This is a fun exercise but as you pointed out, never will happen. Taking money away from DoD and put into NASA will have bigger bang for the buck. However, there is issue of how the money is spent. Will it go to R&D (other means to getting out of this 1 g gravity well, aeronautics, robot submarine under Europa ice)? Will it go to simply mass producing SLS rockets that use existing technologies and used only once?
  • Because roughly 80% or more of taxes should fund the military, which the space program would fall under. The rest should fund the basic infrastructure for the government to fulfill it's constitutional functions. (Operate the court system, post roads, maintain the buildings needed to house the main branches of government, etc)

    Note this does not include the vast majority of what the government currently does, which falls well outside the limits of the constitution.

    • by StevisF (218566)

      Note this does not include the vast majority of what the government currently does, which falls well outside the limits of the constitution.

      Please read this post as sung, thanks.

      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      The preamble, at the very least, sets the tone of what the founders expected government to do.

      • Re:The vast majority (Score:5, Informative)

        by yourlord (473099) on Friday March 16, 2012 @07:07PM (#39384485) Homepage

        insure domestic tranquility

        This means to prevent wars between the states.

        promote the general Welfare

        This means to promote the welfare of the Union by maintaining the governmental infrastructure required by the constitution.

        This does not mean relieving individuals of the responsibility for their own lives as to do so would make the following an impossible goal.

        secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

        This can not be achieved under a government that wields total authority over your every action, including how you provide for yourself and family. The more power you place in the hands of a ruling authority, the less liberty you will have. Today we have only an illusion of liberty, revocable at the whim of the government at any time. It's being usurped a little more virtually every day.

        • Re:The vast majority (Score:5, Interesting)

          by artor3 (1344997) on Friday March 16, 2012 @08:40PM (#39385423)

          That's your reading.

          Mine is:

          insure domestic tranquility

          Prevent wars between states, but also keep crime to a minimum. Basically, ensure that people are not threatened by any domestic source (the next line deals with external sources).

          promote the general Welfare

          Work to make life as good as possible for the average citizen. That would include affordable healthcare, the interstate highway system, food and housing for the poor, etc. Basically, work to raise the standard of living.

          secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Progeny

          Make sure that the United States remains a free democracy. Fight against corruption, make sure people have a say in their governance. It does not mean "every man for himself, fuck the poor!". It does not mean that the government can't collect taxes or enforce laws and regulations. It means that such laws must be created by the people.

          So you see, I read the same words, but come to a much different conclusion. One in which the government has a much more expansive role. One in which the government exists to benefit the people by working to raise the standard of living, and protecting us from threats (both external and domestic; violent and corrupting) that might undo that progress. Unless you have some sort of papal infallibility going on, I don't see why your reading is the one that we all must follow.

          I think we can agree, however, that regardless of expansive or restrictive interpretation, the government isn't really living up to its goals.

  • Of course, I'm biased because I don't want to live on this planet anymore... and NASA needs to hurry the fuck up with giving us some options!
  • If the current number is around 1/2%, then 1/2% is insufficient.

    I used to dream of going to the moon as a I wonder if my great-grandchildren will ever go.
  • by Nationless (2123580) on Friday March 16, 2012 @11:58AM (#39378579)

    Maybe NASA should start a Kickstarter project...

    • by RichMan (8097) on Friday March 16, 2012 @01:44PM (#39380193)

      $10 (unlimited) our thanks and we apply to name a start in the andromeda galaxy after you.
      $20 (unlimited) standing room only admission for 1 at a launch. Includes your name read in sponsor list during the prelaunch countdown starting at T-2days.
      $100 (unlimited) as $20 with access to the buffet table. And a copy of a signed poster by an astronaut.
      $200 (unlimited) as $100 and your name gets engraved on hardware that will get to the moon.

      $10k (90 of 90 available) 10 sports available per launch in Ground Station Mission Control for each launch after the first.
      $20k (10 of 10 available) 10 spots at mission control for the first launch.
      $10M (3 of 3 available) seat on launch vehicle. Will be seat #3 and not one of first 3 launches. Must pass physical, money not refunded, but seat may be passed to another.

  • The US space agency NASA and pretty much all government R&D in general, is nothing but a front for corporate welfare. They can't get us to just pay for the R&D and take all of the risk outright, so they've cleverly hidden it by making neat spaceships that do nothing useful. Here's how ti works; We pay taxes, the government funnels the money into R&D at NASA, NASA hands the technology over to the private sector, the private sector patents the inventions and profits. No risk required on the par
    • It's too bad the government doesn't use their research and patent it. Then have these companies to pay for the license for the patent. Then, we wouldn't have to pay taxes.
    • by jedidiah (1196)

      "Subsidized" research and development that employs chemists, physicists, and rocket scientists?

      I can get behind pork like that!

  • The reason the answers are all over the board is nobody has any background on what the budget is for NASA, and what it's been in the past. To get the massive Apollo program advances the numbers were between 2-5% of the federal budget. They're now .5%.

    The Wikipedia article [] is actually very good.

    • The question doesn't reference NASA - it could be any space programme, for any government, not just an american one. Lots of (maybe most?) slashdotters aren't american, so the question would refer to their country's taxes and their government's space programme.
  • by treeves (963993) on Friday March 16, 2012 @02:27PM (#39380687) Homepage Journal

    The partitioning of the poll options has resulted in the most uniform distribution of results I've ever seen. Interesting.

  • I don't remember a poll that was so even. OK I'm off to get a haircut, an unrelated event.

  • by booyoh (2511204)
    LOL! I thought 9-9-9 meant "nein nein nein" at first. After "googling" it I found out it was one of Herman Cain's proposed tax plans... Can I get my vote back?
  • So yeah, 0% (you insensitive clod)

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors


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