Exposing the Bionic Man, Part 3: The Unspoken Costs

In part one of this series, we discussed the financial costs of the bionic man program started by the US Government during the 1970s. In this, the third in our groundbreaking and daring expose, we look at the opportunity costs of Steve Austin. In other words, what did America have to do without because we not only purchased a bionic man, but also maxed out all the options, including the most suave mustache ever deployed in American history.

Just TRY to argue with us. Plus, look at that collar. Dang. If he had been wearing
that during his ill-fated crash, he could have simply bailed out and glided home.
The operating costs were explosive. For example, during one mission, many of the details of which remain highly classified, Mr. Austin was forced to confront a Soviet “probe” designed to survive the rigors of the planet Venus. In the ensuing conflict, Austin’s nuclear-powered arm was heavily damaged. NUCLEAR-POWERED ARM. And Dr. Rudy Wells had spare parts enough to repair it just lying around. Remember, the initial investment was $6 million dollars to build the bionics. That arm probably cost at least a third of that. Just how was maintaining these bionics robbing the rest of the federal budget?

This leads us to the question, what did the rest of the US national security establishment have to forego because of these clandestinely spent bionic dollars? Anecdotal evidence is disturbing. For instance, at a time when the US Air Force was in a pitched race against the Soviet Union in the skies and in space, you’d think they’d be provided with plenty of modern, cutting-edge resources. Well, these photos (acquired at great cost by sources we’ll simply call “Bothans”*) show otherwise:

Picture 1 - This is evidently NORAD, the military agency charged with defending the United States and Canada from air threats. Just look at this tiny, dark closet with purple lights. Purple lights? Does that somehow protect them from enemy eavesdropping?

"Mister President, we are at Condition Fuchsia."

Picture 2 - Oscar Goldman is the Director of the Office of Scientific Intelligence. Colonel Steve Austin is the nation’s premier special agent. And yet, the Air Force is so cash-strapped in the mid-1970s that the best vehicle they can loan the OSI director is a beat up station wagon:

C'mon man. A station wagon?

Picture 3:
US Government: “Let’s dump millions of dollars to build a cyborg.”
OSI: “Sounds great. Hey, can we give him a weapon too?”
USG: “Do we look like we’re made of money? Improvise.”
Steve Austin:
Colonel Austin launching a Standard Issue Mark 1 Mini-Boulder

And it goes on and on. When OSI needs to rig a helicopter to fly itself just so they could blow it up a few minutes later, they get it. But if the Air Force needs to send someone to check out a seedy motel that Russian spies might be using, they have to send a general officer. (That happened: Season 5 Episode 15). Why? We propose it’s because the military was doing the best they can while OSI was guzzling cash like an old station wagon.

Next: Your tax dollars at work: did OSI really investigate Big Foot?

*Nerd high-five!
 Note: All images are stills from The Six Million Dollar Man, Season 5 Episode 16. All rights NBCUniversal Television Distribution). 


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