QuoteSea, the life in a few words
This mission was supposed to be the beginning of the end for the shuttle, not the beginning of another round of upgrades. The history of the shuttle has, unfortunately, always been that the upgrades and operational costs have eaten up the money that was supposed to be the seed corn for new expeditions.
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What those Social Security cash flows are being used to do today is to pay down federal debt. If the government chooses to not use those trust fund dollars, if they do end up with a shortfall, then what they'll do is go into the public market, and sell debt to raise cash, and use the Social Security money to pay off other debt.