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All the discussion about the future of NASA must be put in some fiscal context, and here it is: the Debt and Deficit Commission that the Obama administration created to review the spending problems of the federal government has some bad news: there literally is no money for anything but Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Key quote from the Washington Post article:
The commission leaders said that, at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans — the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries,” Simpson said.