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When you think you've seen it all: Man wants to fund space travel by taxing SF. (1 Viewer)

Leo Hinze

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Jan 15, 1999
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Sometimes, I am so amazed at how differently other people think compared to me that I am totally flabbergasted and at a loss for words.

I thought of many witty quips about this guy. But when it comes down to being serious, my rusty debating skills have absolutely no defense for an idea as ludicrous as this one.

Not only is this idea foolish, the guy didn't even think it out totally. To think that people who think like this are the people who we elect to make our laws....
 

Bill Catherall

Screenwriter
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Aug 1, 1997
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Hmmm... a guy with a masters degree in political science, is running for office, and is "a supermarket bagger by day"...
'Nuff said.
"Williams conceded that he hadn't done any calculations on the matter. When he gets into office, he will have the General Services Administration do the math. But he said he was sure the amount the tax would raise would be substantial."
In other words, "I really didn't give it much thought. I just make it up as I go along." :rolleyes
 

Rachael B

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;) I'm running on the platform of taxing idocy and I'm sure my plan will result in a huge surplus. The crazy in Alabama dude is gonna owe alot....
 

KyleS

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Jul 24, 2000
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It may sound idiotic but not too far fetched since we do already do this, as the article states with Alcohol, Cigs, etc. Right or wrong it happens. We as a society need to stand up and get our representatives more involved in space funding. Who knows that may be our only future a few hundred years from now.

KyleS
 

Julie K

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Dec 1, 2000
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It is idiotic and farfecthed. Taxes on alcohol and cigarettes are punitive taxes. The idea of punishing science fiction fans with higher costs is just mindboggling. While big dumb summer blockbusters will always be popular, print sales are languishing and I'm violently against anything that might turn even more people away from reading.

Further, the guy is totally screwed up in his math (in a rather amusing coincidence with my latest .sig change). He also ignores the fact that "science fiction" is not a well defined subject. There is no clear division between science fiction and fantasy or horror. About the best anyone has done is give up and call the whole mess speculative fiction. There is also nothing that dictates that science fiction be about space travel, or if it is, that space travel is a good thing (see "A Colder War" by Charlie Stross - one author mentioned in the article. It might seem strange for me to be suggesting an anti-space story, but the reasons are internally consistent and well thought-out in this alternate history story. It also neatly answers the question of 'if there's life out there, why haven't they visited?')

Look, I'm all for a huge NASA budget. I think it needs to be much larger and I think we should be exploring every part of the solar system in an aggressive manner. However, taxing science fiction is not the way.
 

RobertR

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The idea is counterproductive and stupid in many ways. As discussed, even defining science fiction is very difficult. I could just see a panel of bureaucrats sitting around trying to decide what fits and what doesn't. I could also see stories about space travel drying up.

A true visionary would figure out a way to make money from space travel, NOT dream up new taxes.
 

Hakan Powers

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Mar 13, 1999
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On page two of the article Sci-Fi writer Cory Doctorow suggests creating a tax-deductible fund that people could donate money to. The goal of the fund would be to help finance a manned mission to mars.

Not a bad idea actually, especially if, as Cory Doctorow said, there was a lottery among the donors and one lucky SOB got to come along for the mission!

RobertR,

exactly! Why doesn't Bill Gates or someone like him spend money on space exploration? Imagine spending a couple billion to devise a system to send garbage into the sun. The person who could finanse a company to do this on a global scale would both do good for the environment and make a load of money.
 

Bhagi Katbamna

Supporting Actor
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Jun 1, 2000
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870
We already have death taxes. This same money that is taxed twice(once when the person earned it and once they died). The SF tax makes more sense than the death tax.
 

Jack Briggs

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As a sidenote, Walter M. Miller Jr.'s Hugo Award-winning A Canticle for Leibowitz is almost universally recognized among SF critics as the greatest novel the genre has produced. I agree. And the point is, the story's main thrust has nothing to do with space travel at all. Rather, it is a somber yet darkly humorous post-nuclear holocaust meditation on the human condition set against the backdrop of Catholic theology as interpreted by latter-day monks who have no way of understanding the religion's roots. Hence, a canticle for a "saint" named Leibowitz whose grocery-shopping list happened to be stumbled upon centuries after the nukes fell--and a man who happened also to be very much not a Catholic.

The novel is literate and literary, able even to transcend the limitations of a genre. And spaceflight is only a sidenote in the story.

Similarly, another highly esteemed novel is the late Theodore Sturgeon's masterful More Than Human--which posits the notion of a single "person" being formed from the collective abilities of individual persons (i.e., homo gestalt).

Again, no space travel themes in that novel.

I,too, would increase NASA's budget by at least four times its present level if I could. Since that will never happen, the future of manned space exploration increasingly points to the private sector (keep your eyes on the "X Prize"). Increasingly, I believe a human return to the Moon and a human expedition to Mars might originate from industry, not government.

Then there are the Chinese: They are about a year away from launching the first manned Shenzou spacecraft. The Chinese have stated openly they want to send astronauts to the Moon and to Mars within twenty years. Well, that economy of theirs might pose a problem. But I hope they succeed.

And, yes, our friend from Alabama doesn't seem to grasp what science fiction truly is.
 

Hakan Powers

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The Chinese have stated openly they want to send astronauts to the Moon and to Mars within twenty years. Well, that economy of theirs might pose a problem. But I hope they succeed.
Perhaps that is just what NASA needs. A goverment funded and mandated Space Race not unlike the Apollo program.

The Chinese are the guys to look at (or look out for depending on your political views) and if the US doesn't catch on they might just win this race if they can sort out some of their own problems.
 

Max Leung

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We already have an idiot tax. It's called Windows! Hmm, alcohol and cigarette tax could be considered another variant on the idiot tax, but calling it that would piss off a lot of people. :)
This SF tax is stupid. And who are the idiots that voted this guy in? Tax them, dammit!
Didn't Bill Gates donate 750 million dollars to a cancer foundation? And that's just this year alone. I believe he has donated more money to worthwhile causes (he fanatically searches out the most promising organisations) than every country in the world, combined. Probably in all of history, too.
What a guy. *sniffle*
 

Deane Johnson

Supporting Actor
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Jan 27, 1999
Messages
524
How about a tax on politicians stupid ideas? That should provide enough revenue for all sorts of things.

Deane
 

Todd Hochard

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Jan 24, 1999
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A true visionary would figure out a way to make money from space travel, NOT dream up new taxes.
The Russians have figured this out. They've got a good idea with N'Sync's Lance Bass- I'd bet there are many people who would pay extra to leave him up there.:D
Why is sending garbage into space a good idea? The long-term ramifications of taking natural resources off the planet seem bad to me.
Todd
 

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