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"NASA was an exception not a rule." No, NASA was the rule. NASA was a big, expensive, bureaucratic program that chewed through money like theater-goers through popcorn. It accomplished big, high-visibility projects. It never did anything that paid for itself though. Government has always been good at pooling our resources to do big expensive things. What it can't do is create sustainable, cost-effective, market-ready projects. It's not good at efficiency either. Government investment in solar power is stupid not because government can't get stuff done, but because what we need in energy technology IS cost-effectiveness and efficiency.
Is it any wonder that manufacturing has declined as a fraction of GDP? Technology has developed entire new non-manufacturing industries that didn't exist in the fifties. And some industries that did exist, like graphic design, have greatly expanded representation in the digital age. None of this has anything to do with free trade. Even more significant, manufacturing jobs declined even during periods of production increases. Line worker jobs would have died out from mechanization, free trade or no.
In response to:

The Tyranny of a Pure Democracy

Vva70 Wrote: Jul 15, 2012 8:47 AM
I was trending conservative at age nine. The way it was first explained to me, it basically amounted to "conservatives believe you should decide what you want to do and keep your money, while liberals believe the government should decide what you should do and take your money." There was probably more nuance in the explanation than that, but again, nine. I couldn't figure why anyone would ever vote for the latter. And honestly, the individual freedom aspect is what has always driven me ideologically. Having that as a basic principle gives the conservative argument a great edge. I think we too often let the left drive the argument away from principle and into practical minutiae, where their argument is simpler (though still wrong).
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