Dennis Tito: Space Hero

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We all know that Leftists like to force people to part with their money. What has been really confusing of late, however, is the whining coming from the Left over Dennis Tito’s space tourism. It seems that the Left, while really big on coercing money out of people, doesn’t like to see people part with their money voluntarily. Here at my third-rate graduate school, the socialist professors have been complaining that they too, would like to travel to outer space, and how dare that rich boy Tito get to go to space while they are paying taxes to support NASA.

The obvious answer, of course, is that as soon as they pay $20 million in taxes, they may have a case, but the real issue at hand is that this attitude is ignorant class envy at its worst. Since Tito parted with his money of his own free will, the statists naturally assume that it is an “inefficient” allocation of resources. Nonsense.

If they really knew what they were talking about, though, they would be encouraging every millionaire and billionaire out there to be paying out large sums of money to travel into outer space. The inevitable effect of such a trend would be to make space travel quite affordable for the rest of us. This has always been the case.

We all remember when VCR’s cost many hundreds of dollars and were barely affordable for ordinary people. DVD players are still out of range for most thrifty people. Eventually though, enough people with expendable income will purchase enough DVD players to lower their marginal costs, and the rest of us will be able to buy them.

This is exactly what Dennis Tito is doing by buying a ticket into outer space. He’s lowering the marginal costs of space travel without making the taxpayers foot the bill. NASA should be working right now to secure an eccentric millionaire for every space flight they plan. Eccentric millionaires should be like oxygen tanks: don’t leave earth without them. How am I hurt in any way if Bill Gates decides to take his family on a space trip? In fact, if he’s shelling out the cash to cover the full costs of the venture, I actually benefit. Taxpayers should be a little tired of taxes being used to see if some old man like John Glenn can handle the rigors of space. Dennis Tito looks pretty old. If we had just waited a while, we would have known how old people handle space without spending a dime.

NASA and the space socialists were quick to act aghast that a private citizen would dare buy a ticket into space. Not surprisingly, though, they have the entirely wrong attitude. Space tourists are no different than those crazy rich folks who made airplane and automobile travel affordable for the rest of us. Why are the taxpayers still paying to see how potatoes grow in space? Rich, old guys should be hurtling through outer space on a daily basis. It only makes it cheaper and safer for the rest of us.

May 7, 2001

Ryan McMaken [send him mail] lives in Denver, Colorado. He edits the Western Mercury.

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