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Democrat proposes new tax on private manned spaceflight

That didn’t take long! Mere hours after New Shepard completed its first suborbital manned commercial flight, a Democrat in the House of Representatives introduced a bill in Congress to impose a tax on private manned spaceflight.

Oregon Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, on Tuesday introduced what he is calling the Securing Protections Against Carbon Emissions (SPACE) Tax Act, which would create excise taxes on commercial space flights carrying human passengers for purposes other than scientific research.

“Space travel isn’t a tax free holiday for the wealthy,” Blumenauer wrote on Twitter. “We pay taxes on plane tickets. Billionaires flying into space—producing no scientific value—should do the same, and then some.”

The measure would include a per-passenger tax on the price of a commercial flight to space and a two-tiered excise tax for each launch into space. The first tier would apply to flights between 50 miles and 80 miles above Earth’s surface, while the second “significantly higher” rate would apply to flights more than 80 miles above Earth’s surface.

This typical Democratic Party response to the acheivement of others reminds me of a pertinent quote from Ronald Reagan:

Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

While Reagan was describing many of the actions of politicans from both parties, the Democratic Party is today particularly abusive. Private enterprise has in the past decade done things in space the government and NASA spent years trying to accomplish, with zero success, while wasting billions of taxpayer dollars. The Democrats resent that success, and are very eager to squelch it. Rather than have any American achievement in space, created by the citizens of the nation and independent of their interference, they would rather destroy it. Even as they extort as much money as they can from it.


Conscious Choice cover

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  • NavyNuke

    “Exemptions would be made available for NASA spaceflights for scientific research purposes. In the case of flights where some passengers are working on behalf of NASA for scientific research purposes and others are not, the launch excise tax shall be the pro rata share of the non-NASA researchers.”

    Apparently Mother Nature loves government research and researchers. Not only does their [deleted] not stink but their carbon emissions will not contribute to a global climate catastrophe, or whatever.

  • Buying offshore oil platforms is looking smarter and smarter.

    It took Mr. Musk a bit of time to realize that he needed to get out of California. I wonder if the “unapproved” launch (and landing) tower will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s certainly cheaper to build things on land, so it would be nice to at least test it before having to move offshore.

    Less than a month and I’ll be out of the city and signing up for Starlink. I hope I don’t hate them; I’d really prefer to like my ISP and sending the profits to space appeals to me.

  • NavyNuke: Have deleted the very obvious obscenity from your post.

    Please, let’s not play games to get around my rules. You’ve been here long enough to know them. You are warned.

  • I’d wager there a number of countries that would like a turn-key launch operation.

  • jburn

    Oregon Politics is a mess and unfortunately this guy is my representative in Congress. Years ago when he was a lowly city council member, he gained a name from a local radio host — “Comrade Prince Blue Manure”. He used to harass property developers who were trying to make alterations to increase housing density. It’s now the standard approach in Portland. He also went after direct mailing companies for creating mail pollution – later to send a news letter extolling his accomplishments as a Congressman.
    He has worked for the government his entire life and will likely fill the role of Senator when Wyden retires. (Wyden, his family, their business and friends, all have resided in New York for decades thus making him the third Senator for New York.)

  • mkent

    Buying offshore oil platforms is looking smarter and smarter.

    How does the extra expense of operating an offshore oil platform make the tax easier to pay?

  • Col Beausabre

    Gladstone – “But, Mr Farraday, of what use is your electricity?”

    Farraday – “I do not know, my lord, but predict that someday you will tax it”

  • Tom Billings

    mkent said, on July 21, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    “”Buying offshore oil platforms is looking smarter and smarter.”

    How does the extra expense of operating an offshore oil platform make the tax easier to pay?”

    The point is not the tax alone. The point is the class bigotry of our own “Earl the Pearl”, as he likes to be called. The exploitative nature of taxing those richer than oneself, just because they are richer than oneself, is hidden from all class bigots, even if not the rest of us. However, the next step, of being treated as a target by regulators who are told by members of Congress that your activity is “disturbing the stability of society”, which Earl’s staff once used in my presence, is a much easier thing to twist into whatever the “succeeding ideology” agrees with.

    These people agree with Oregon’s oligarchy (1000 Friends of Oregon), that currently Oregon can only be improved in a world that strengthens their own status, which does *not* include letting others acquire more leverage than their own political selves.

  • @ Col Beausabre:

    Right on time, sir.

  • mkent

    Tom Billings: What does any of that have to do with offshore oil platforms?

  • Tom Billings, this reminds me of the phrase attributed to Robert Goodloe Harper …

    “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.”

    If going offshore into international waters means thwarting envious political busybodies imposing a politically-targeted excise tax, while still not running afoul of ITAR (which is what moving operations to another nation would risk), I wholeheartedly approve.

    And what’s this “tax-free holiday” garbage? These flights are already being paid for from funds already subjected to taxation during the process to earn them. The labor and materials to make the hardware available and operate it, are all taxed.

    And the only service provider who I see here that is tax-exempt, is NASA itself.

    Another example of one of the basic fallacies in our society … like so many, Rep. Earl Blumenauer apparently puts “non-profit” status on a pedestal of worship and trust … while treating those honest enough to state their intent to profit with perpetual suspicion and the application of restraints, in a manner reminiscent of Gulliver.

  • mkent: They WERE oil platforms. They WILL BE launch/recovery platforms. Right now, they’re in limbo because the launch/recovery system has not been tested, yet. Although one assumes there is some stuff that can be refurbished. I have no idea where they are, right now, but there doesn’t seem to be a Boca Chica Girl equivalent there to keep us informed.

    It helps with the tax because a passenger just gets on a ship and sails away with a duffle bag of cash. This avoids the tax because the money transfer takes place outside the US jurisdiction. I don’t really see a need to provide an ID. Does it really matter who you are if you show up at the launch site with $10M?

    Heck, speak only Spanish on the platform and Space X can reasonably say they had no idea the passenger was American. “Muchos Gracias, eh?” “He must be a Canadian, but we won’t ask.” If I can come up with the ticket price, I’m sure I can spend some time with my maid, gardener, and nanny to learn how to perform a simple transaction in Spanish.

    This works, now: To avoid Denver’s insane sales tax, just buy anything expensive with cash in a neighboring city (it’s all one metro area – driving to Arvada or Aurora is not an inconvenience). Speaking Spanish is optional, but it will work. Of course, _I_ would never do such a thing.

  • Andrew R

    There isn’t a Democrat alive who has ever met a tax they didn’t like.

  • mkent

    This avoids the tax because the money transfer takes place outside the US jurisdiction.

    No, it does not. The launch is still under U. S. jurisdiction.

  • Patrick Underwood

    mkent, I agree that taking launch operations offshore will be insufficient to avoid supercilious interference from the government, in all sorts of ways. But unlike you, I’m not happy about it.

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