NASA: An $18.9 Billion Self-Esteem Program
I will leave it to other staffers to denounce NASA as a wasteful boondoggle, a budget-chewing vestige of the Cold War (I trust this is the case, though admit to having little interest in the celestial). What limited knowledge of space exploration I possess, sadly, comes from David Bowie and The Only Ones. But I do know this: the United States space program now exists to assuage the hurt feelings of nations and cultures that have lagged behind the United States in scientific development. This, according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, is the organization's "foremost" mission.
"When I became the NASA administrator—or before I became the NASA administrator—[President Obama] charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering."
Poor dears, feeling bad about their underappreciated contributions to science, math, and engineering. Seems to me an entirely reasonable way to fritter away tax dollars, on the mental health of Yemeni undergraduates.
You can watch the whole interview here. But I don't know why you would.