Space: The Free-Market Frontier. Interview with Edward Hudgins

Michael and Edward Hudgins (of the Atlas Society) get together to talk about SPACE and his book, Space: The Free-Market Frontier.  Hudgins explains government boondoggles related to space stations, space regulation, rocketry, and rocket manufacturing supply chain issues … like depending on Russian manufacturers for all sorts of equipment. He’s even done stuff with Buzz Aldrinwho walked on the moon (and memorably shouted at it with Liz Lemon).


Photo Credit (Atlas Society)

Hudgins, who spent his childhood fascinated with Space and Astronomy, interned at Goddard Space Flight Center and got to follow the first moon landing from a major space center.  Since then, Space has been a passion for him.

Hudgins put together his book with the Cato Institute after a conference he designed on the Free Market and Space.  Hudgins has been working on the free market in space and space travel for some time now.

He points to the deregulation of the air lines that lead to lower prices for consumers.  Despite the deregulation of many industries and sectors, the government maintained a monopoly on space.  However, persistent and innovative entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk of SpaceX, have challenged government monopoly on a practical scale and have revealed commercially available solutions, like a manned capsule to put humans into space.

Hudgins applauds entrepreneurs, innovators, and organizations, like Musk, Robert Bigelow (Bigelow Aerospace), Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin), Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), Orbital,  and individuals and organizations promoting innovation and development like Peter Diamandis and his X Prize Foundation.

He advocates for allowing human innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish without government regulation and restriction. He encourages free, open-market solutions to space travel to make it more affordable and practical for everybody.

Hudgins has books available at and other retailers.

Chris Preble on Overseas Contingency Operations, Budget Control Act, American Military Alliances and Pentagon Pork

Michael and Chris Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, discuss the military and the troop draw-down, implications for the budget and military expenditures, the OCO Budget, and many more things!

Preble opines, “[t]he first mission of any country’s military should be defense.  And, I think our military is … eminently capable of defending the United States from direct threats.  Of course, they’re aided by geography, which still matters, and we, here, our fortunate to be separated from the east and west by wide oceans, and the north and south by relatively friendly and peaceful neighbors.  That’s always been the case.”  (9:43)

“So much of our military now is geared to defending other countries that could defend themselves.”  (10:27)  Preble advocates alliances and diplomatic relationships based not on the premise that we defend them, but that they defend themselves.  He preaches deterrence, including nuclear deterrence, but a scaling back of the nuclear arsenal.  He mentions some prior work on deterrence and the work of his colleague, Ben Friedman, on the Nuclear Triad, and also a collaboration between Preble, Friedman, and Matt Fay called “The End of Overkill, Reassessing U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy.”

The two discuss cyber, militarization of space, the Navy’s Littoral combat ship program, his disappointment with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and hopeful paper he wrote in 2002 when the program seemed as though it would be promising.  He concedes, that “t]he end result [of the F-35 project] is, we’re going to buy, still, probably a few thousand of these aircraft … They are very costly.  There are still some very serious concerns about their performance … “ (21:59)  He cites issues with the version for air craft carriers with launching and landing, avionics concerns, problems short takeoff and vertical landing, carrier restrictions of allies.  He concludes, there are “just a lot of problems with this … this whole program.  It is the … most expensive expensive procurement line item in the budget and likely will continue to be.  … One of the real problems is because our allies have a much smaller procurement budget, it means that they will be buying fewer aircraft — or none at all — and that means that the costs will be borne disproportionately by American taxpayers and we don’t to the economies of scale that we hope for.  So, it’s an unhappy story.  I’d like to believe that we willll get out of this an learn something from it.  But, I’m afraid … I think this is one of those situations .. I fear, that’s it’s a too big to fail sorta thing.  And, I hate that phrase … as it’s applied to the nation’s banks, but I also hate it as applied to the nation’s aircraft.  (22:57).

You can buy Chris’s book published by Cornell University PressThe Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free, which Chris bemoans is still a relevant subject today.

Veronique de Rugy on Defense Spending and the Economy

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her primary research interests include the U.S. economy, federal budget, homeland security, taxation, tax competition, and financial privacy issues. Her popular weekly charts, published by the Mercatus Center, address economic issues ranging from lessons on creating sustainable economic growth to the implications of government tax and fiscal policies.

She has testified numerous times in front of Congress on the effects of fiscal stimulus, debt and deficits, and regulation on the economy.

de Rugy writes regular columns for Reason magazine, the Washington Examiner, and blogs about economics at National Review Online’s The Corner and at Big Government. Her charts, articles, and commentary have been featured in a wide range of media outlets including the Reality Check segment on Bloomberg Television’s Street SmartNew York Times’ Room for DebateWashington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN International, Stossel, 20/20, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and Fox News.

She is a former resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and research fellow at theAtlas Economic Research Foundation. Before moving to the United States, de Rugy directed academic programs in France for the Institute for Humane Studies-Europe.

Dr. de Rugy received her MA in economics from the University of Paris IX-Dauphine and her PhD in economics from the University of Paris 1Pantheon-Sorbonne and did post-doctorate work on tax revolt at George Mason University. 

On the show we cover:
-Republican Keynesianism 
– Defense Spending and the Economy  report by de Rugy and Barro
from Report: 

Aggregate Effects from Cutbacks in Defense Spending

Treating sequestration as a cut of five percent in defense outlays, defense spending would fall $34 billion in 2013 from its 2012 level of $677 billion. For given taxes and other federal spending, the defense-spending cut reduces the federal deficit. Hence, the public debt is lower than it would be otherwise and requires correspondingly lower taxes in the long run when compared to a benchmark path (if other federal spending does not change).

  • Using a defense-spending multiplier of 0.4 within a year and 0.6 over two years and assuming that taxes have a multiplier effect on GDP of -1.1 with a one-year lag, real GDP falls compared to the benchmark path by $13.6 billion in 2013 (because of the spending multiplier) but rises by $17 billion in 2014 (because the effect from the tax multiplier more than offsets the spending effect). 
  • Private-sector portions of GDP rise by $20.4 billion in 2013 (60 cents on the dollar compared to the spending cut) and $51 billion in 2014 (because GDP is now above its benchmark).
  • The effect of +$17 billion on real GDP continues into the future. 
  • Relative to the benchmark path, defense spending falls by $170 billion, taxes are cut also by $170 billion, private sector portions of GDP rise by $224 billion, and real GDP increases by $54 billion by 2017. 
  • In other words, over five years, we get roughly $1.30 of extra private spending for each $1.00 reduction in defense spending. 
Other reports by de Rugy
de Rugy;  Reason and National Review 
on twitter- @veroderugy