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Starving Children for Space

Mark Whittington links to a flyer at, in which the old “Space starves children!” refrain is pulled out of the Sixties protest nostalgia box and dusted off for a new century.

Promise them the moon.
There are better places to boldly go.

Well, yeah, like Mars! (Oh, but that’s not what they meant…)

In a desperate search for a bold plan to galvanize the country, the White House recently floated the idea of sending a man to the moon. Again.

Yeah, I know what you mean…it doesn’t seem all that ambitious, does it? But at least when it was decided in the late Sixties to abandon the lunar program we already had we were able to redirect that money to end childhood poverty, illiteracy, and substandard preschool care and to provide kids with the free health insurance they enjoy today. Yeah, the money we might otherwise have spent on continuing the exploration and permanent occupation of the Moon was definitely better spent on solving those social problems once and for all.

What’s that? We didn’t manage to solve those social problems once and for all? We didn’t even make an appreciable dent in them? Even after spending a trillion dollars or more, far in excess of what the space program would have spent in total over the same period? Why, how can that be? How could the promises of solving these problems by redirecting space funding not have been fulfilled?

Why didn’t anyone act on behalf of our children when they had the chance?

But imagine how this country would be transformed if the president rallied the nation to truly accomplish what?s now just one of many unfulfilled promises: ?leave no child behind.?

Oh, now, suddenly it’s a huge issue? What about that other promise, the one that has gone unfulfilled for far longer: an end to poverty in exchange for giving up the Moon back in 1972?

Twelve million children live below the poverty line and the numbers are increasing even for those whose parents work. More than 9 million kids under the age of 19 have no health insurance.

Nineteen, eh? Convenient. How many of those are over eighteen, and therefore less likely to be covered as a dependent?

Thousands of the nation?s schools are doomed.

Tell me about it. We ought to do something about the teachers unions and the ridiculous PC/multiculti agendas that keep our kids ignorant.

Pediatric asthma rates are rising along with air pollution.

Unless it has something to do with an unhealthy fastidiousness, in which the little darlings are kept safe from exposure from absolutely everything and fail to develop natural immunities to everyday allergens as a result.

And massive federal debt looms over future generations.

Created in no small part by massive entitlements programs like those being demanded in this ad, which have thus far done squat to end the social problems being bemoaned in this ad.

A White House acting on behalf of our children would craft its policies to address these issues.

Right. It would do right by our children by closing their future frontiers. Again.

It would begin by abandoning its efforts to weaken Head Start and dismantle health insurance for poor children.

Is this another one of those “lower growth than desired is the same as a cut” thingies?

It would fully fund its own No Child Left Behind Act (the president has proposed spending billions less than he promised).

Tsk, tsk…”President” is used as a title here — capitalize that “P”! And weren’t you just bewailing huge deficits?

It would guarantee that every kid had access to pre-kindergarten education and comprehensive after-school care.

Why not just cut taxes even more, boosting economic activity and leaving more disposable income in the pockets of citizens? If only one parent had to work, the other could provide adequate preschool and after-school care, and an expensive government program to ameliorate the effects of other government programs (and the tax regime required to pay for them) might not be needed.

And the Clean Air Act would be strengthened, not gutted.

So, this money for a return to the Moon has the power to make changes to regulatory law? Huh? Last time I checked, money was just, well, money, and it was legislators (and, regrettably, the regulators themselves) who had the power to make changes to regulatory law.

Seriously, though, why is it assumed that a strengthened CAA is automatically a good thing? Or that the only alternative to strengthening the CAA is to gut it, rather than leaving it alone, as-is?

Our country has always risen to great leadership. We could send another man to the moon. But we?d be better served if President Bush had the vision to send millions of healthy, well-educated children into the future.

To what?

How will these millions of healthy, educated children be served by being sent into a future which is stagnant and bounded, the new frontier having been surrendered at the demand of myopic do-gooders in favor of yet another “incompletely successful” attempt to solve eternally intractable problems? Isn’t this exactly the sort of future the left is always warning against, a static future of college graduates flipping each other’s burgers? Wouldn’t it be better to invest a relatively small amount of money now to open a field of endeavor which will ultimately expand opportunities for these healthy, smart kids of the future to use their newly-aquired knowledge, and which will result in higher incomes and standards of living for themselves and their families (and their neighbors, and their communities, and their countrymen…)?

Whether the destination is the Moon or Mars, a push to develop a permanent manned presence in space, and to open space for commerce and private enterprise, will do more to achieve the results the authors of this ad appear to desire than a tiny increase in do-good-accomplish-nothing social programs.

4 comments to Starving Children for Space

  • Carl Carlsson

    Thanks for that much-needed fisking.

    Oh, and the lefty assertion that the CAA is being gutted is nonsense. As environmental engineer, I appreciate the clarity that the Administration is trying to bring to enforcement of our existing air regulations. This was muddled by the Clinton Administration, resulting in endless lawsuits rather than cleaner air.

  • Michael Puckett

    Binary think is the calling card of the weak minded.

    How dare those bleeding hart idiotarians associate themselves with the good name of Thomas Paine.

    There is no “Common Sense” in them.

  • You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Any space initiative, including private ventures with no public funding whatsoever, will ignite the full fury of the stasists. It’s the ultimate end-run around their mania for containment and Federalization of civil society. There are going to be some spectacular fireworks when this mentality collides with the actual interests of children (and their parents), among which space exploration ranks near the top.

    My only criticism of your Fisking is that “under 19” means, well, under 19, that is, 0-18.

    My only addition to it is that there is abundant evidence that an American family living at the poverty line today is distinctly better off than a family at the median income during the Apollo era — see This weakens the case for redirecting resources to alleviate the supposed dire straits of the underclass still further.

  • T.L. James

    Oh. “Under”. Right. ($#@%$4 ambiguous numerical terms…)