I was curious about the price of this so I did some monster math (FYI complete arms layman, serious errors are likely).
Raw materials: Volume is 15.7 cu ft = 444,574.5 cm3. Density is 19.3g/cm3 = 8,580 kg. Estimated price of $30.3k per metric ton  = $260k in tungsten. Cheap.
Now for launch price. SpaceX advertises $90 million for 8 metric tons launched into low-earth orbit . Yowza.
A single Trident submarine based missile is in the order of $65-$100 million depending on various sources. So cost-wise these seem within the same order of magnitude as nukes.
You can also sinter it, it doesn't need to be especially strong, just hold itself together while falling, and sintering can make it strong enough.
The strength plays no part at all when it impacts. At the energy involved it might as well be a noodle. It just needs to handle the heat and resistance of reentry. Mainly heat.
So why tungsten, rather than a tungsten skin on a lead bar?
Also, the density of tungsten is about 75% larger than that of lead. Iridium and osmium are about 15% heavier still, at about twice the density of lead (osmium is heavier, but by only 0.12%)
To hit one target on the ground you are going to need thousands of rods in orbit to ensure that one is available to use on the target. This is necessary because things in orbit will only be able to de-orbit on top of things that are close to their orbital plane.
In other words, it's a complexity problem. It's easy to take money, throw it at a defense contractor, and get weapons out the other end. But to change healthcare, thousands of laws would have to be changed, and hundreds of government agencies would have to change their daily operations. And politicians would use the change to polarize their voter base.
What we need is to educate the younger generations on the benefits of universal healthcare, show them how it's the inevitable way of the future, and eventually they'll get into office and do the hard work of making the necessary changes. It may take generations.
That's just my intuition. I don't think these would actually be as effective as the raw energy values might suggest.
You're right, it wouldn't. See below.
> the tungsten rod, I would expect, is dumping a lot of it's energy into shattering bedrock as it burrows half a kilometer deep into the earth's crust
Yes, that's the point: the expected use for these weapons is to hit hardened targets underground, so you want the energy to be concentrated, not dispersed like in a nuclear blast.
If the tungsten rod is able to borrow through hundreds of meters of bedrock, it seems to me that's a sufficiently efficient penetrator that it might 'ice pick' straight through the target bunker dumping only a small fraction of it's energy into the bunker, as it then goes deeper through more bedrock.
What matters is whether enough money flows in to buy elsewhere what you can’t produce.
If (a big if, but an assumption in Heinlein’s novel) a moon base can be made profitable, and kids get born there, so that people end up thinking of themselves as citizens of them moon, would it be fair if most of those profits keep ending up on earth?
In Heinlein’s novel, the idea is not that those living permanently on the moon bomb those on earth (even though that does happen), but that they use the threat of bombing them to get a fairer deal.
Lets say we learn to mine asteroids, wouldnt the extra weight added to earth affect its orbital mechanics in anyway?
A quick bit of match says the space shuttle energy is about 1 kiloton of TNT equivalent. That's a pretty small bomb.
Maybe the new launch systems are more powerful.
Although it seems simpler to just fly a rocket full of fuel at the target.
Here’s a clip of the weapon being used in the movie: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jOKf5r_JMAo
Sure, they got the idea from the GI Joe movies /s
It’s a symbiotic relationship at times. Eg Computers became a thing, fiction ran with it and made up hand held tablet computers, Tricorders, universal translators etc, which materially (not always exclusively) influence future technology designs and directions. Today we have real tablet computers, universal translators etc which were inspired by fiction.
Edit: I missed the specific point being made that the Vietnam War was well, well before the GI Joe movies in question. Apologies!
How can you make a $200M shot free up trillions in liquidity?
You target the bunkers of billionaires and wipe out all of the blackmail they store. That'll justify the high cost per shot eaaily.