So writes the Original Cyberpunk: With regard to President Bush’s Mars exploration proposal, R. J. Steiner asks in this morning’s Opinion section, “Can we not [use this money] to reduce the percentage of poor and homeless?”
The answer is no, apparently we cannot. In 1970, 12.6-percent of the U.S.population (25.4 million people) lived in poverty. In 1997, when PresidentClinton ended welfare as we know it in the midst of the best economy in 40years, 13.3-percent of the U.S. population (35.6 million people) lived inpoverty.It therefore appears that all the 30-year, $5.4 *trillion* dollar War on Poverty produced was a net gain 10 million more poor people at a cost of $540 per unit produced.
Given that result, I’d much rather spend a few billion to see photos of human footprints on Mars.