LOL ok buddy
Your dudgeon is getting in the way of your dudgeon
Giant telescopes are "megaprojects." Megaprojects exist for the dispensation of largess and graft; they get built whether they're needed or not, and they get billed whether they get built. This is relevant to my interests because a buddy of mine's dad has been a head administrator on three science megaprojects: the Superconducting Supercollider, LIGO and the Thirty Meter Telescope. The SSC burned through 8-odd billion before the Democrats decided to punish Tom DeLay by skunking it ("how can we pay for a space station and a telescope? We've got bombers to build!"), thereby creating the world's most expensive mushroom farm. LIGO was comparatively cheap at $1.1b but recently underwent a $600m refurb; that one did just fine because it's spread across three sites, two domestic one foreign. The TMT would be built by now except that pork barrel moved it from Atacama to Mauna Kea because of course it did; so the EELT used TMT's site survey at the exact same site and will see first light in 2025 while the TMT is being protested by Jason Momoa because frickin' wypepo can't unfuck the blatant colonialism of all large science projects in Hawaii and has already cost a couple hundred million in lawsuits alone.
You're responding to a quote about how China's already got a big dumb scope. Adjusting for inflation, Arecibo was a $54m project in 1963.
Look. Democrats are in office. Puerto Rico was screwed by the last administration (the last five or six administrations, frankly). Arecibo is loved by nerds the world over. From a PR standpoint Arecibo is the closest thing to a teddy bear you can buy even if we don't f'n need it.
I am in no position to evaluate whether we truly need Arecibo for science. But I've had 30 years of behind-the-scenes experience to know that "need" has fuckall to do with it. I will be positively gobsmacked if the Dems don't throw sops at Puerto Rico just to buttress their flagging support from Florida hispanics. The most obvious, marquee democrat bait is big stupid science projects in democratically-leaning districts.