I didn't say shuttle was a bad idea and I couldn't give a damn whether it was Nixon.
The promise didn't live up to the reality, each shuttle was supposed to be capable of launching once a month with minimal repairs but the reality was you were lucky to get one a year from each orbiter. The safety record was dreadful, for half it's life it was restricted to solely visiting the ISS and they needed a second shuttle on standby because they couldn't guarantee the heat tiles would stay on the leading edges during launch.
The shuttle literally ate NASAs budget, costing $1.5bn per launch. In hindsight this huge cost prevented development of something that could get us out of low earth orbit.
I've just shown you this isnt the case.
NASA spent $8bn on constellation which was cancelled because it was going nowhere, now it's in the process of spending $27Bn on SLS which will be obsolete before it gets off the ground. If you add up all the money spent on launch systems to enable human exploration beyond LEO it's $50Bn plus in todays money, for zero return. Almost exclusively to companies involved in shuttle. NASA became a cash cow for these companies.
There is a better way. Backend the contracts so that the contractor doesn't receive the money without delivering the product, NASA has rewarded failure.
I'll give you another example.
NASA have been developing the Orion Space capsule since 2006. They've paid out $21Bn to contractors, so far it's taken zero people into space.
Spacex designed and built Crew dragon for $1.75Bn, they now have three successful crewed launches into space.
How can you possibly say money is the issue when NASA is spending 10-15 times more money than a commercial operator and still do not have an operating product?
Like I said, the shuttle was Nixon. He wanted it to look like we were saving money by building what he thought would be like a van. You want to say it sucked, you'll get no argument from me.
At the same time the budget was being cut (again and again) they kept getting new jobs, like R&D projects to transfer tech to the private sector.
Let me give you an example. Nixon cut funding for Hubble. The guys working on Hubble started working almost 24/7 to get it assembled before the doors were locked. They got there; they knew if it was a bunch of parts, the parts would get sold, and that if it was done, it might one day get launched. There was no time or money for testing. Which we found out about when it got into orbit.
Bush told NASA do more with less. That worked as well as you would expect.
Does NASA have problems? Hell, yes, I've been bitching about it almost exactly 50 years.
But more budget cuts will lead to screw ups just as they have done in the past.
This is all academic, as things heat up, people will want NASA to help, and no one but Rand Paul will be whining about the cost.