Promoted from the diaries.
“The budget should be balanced; the treasury should be refilled; public debt should be reduced; and the arrogance of public officials should be controlled.” - Cicero. 106-43 B.C.
Our nation is in economic turmoil, and American families are focused on what matters the most: putting food on the table and keeping the lights on.With economic growth stagnating and over 13 million Americans still jobless, it is clear that our priorities now, more than ever, cannot be frivolous. Our government spending cannot grow further out of control, and our politicians cannot lose sight of what is most important to the hardworking American people.
Knowing this, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich chose to blatantly pander to a Florida crowd on the space coast (known for its support for NASA) when he told them that as President, he would use taxpayer dollars to expand the role of the federal government in manned space exploration, with the goal of building a colony on the moon by the end of his second term.
After this announcement, many Americans were left scratching their heads especially since Newt is more prone to quoting George Washington rather than George Jetson. And when you factor in that our free enterprise system is at stake, how can we afford for anyone to lose sight of what matters most to the American people and heedlessly pursue more wasteful government programs?
Building a federally-funded moon colony would inevitably cost—at the very least—billions of dollars. In addition to our current overspending, this would ultimately saddle our children with the price tag for another one of Speaker Gingrich’s grandiose ideas.
The idea of a moon colony is purely pandering to a crowd for a few votes. And it takes away from the more immediate, important, and realistic goals of the space program; encouraging partnerships between the space program and private businesses to grow the technology, engineering, and manufacturing sectors of our economy.
We can and should embrace the value of science and space exploration but we must maintain fiscal sanity by using tax dollars more strategically and leveraging them more effectively. The pioneers of flight and space exploration are inspiring to millions and the advancements that result are beneficial to our quality of life and also critical to our national security – particularly as China ramps up aggressively in this area. But I am less concerned about creating a government program to build a colony on the moon and more concerned about reducing government to build a strong economy here on earth.
Encouraging these private sectors to partner with the space program puts the focus on where we need it now, stimulating our economy and putting people back to work. Quite frankly, it’s hard to take the Speaker seriously as a fiscal conservative when he puts these extravagant expensive ideas over the economic well being of the next generation.
Already, the debt of the U.S. federal government threatens to engulf the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Each American citizen’s share of the United States’ public debt is over $48,000, but let’s be honest for a minute. This burden won’t fall on our shoulders: it will fall on our children’s. There is over $200,000 in government debt for every American child. My goal is to shrink this number, and we can if we pursue policies that make life better for American households — unlike Speaker Gingrich’s moon colony.
Our children are far too precious to be saddled with growing debt for a government that doesn't keep its promises. This money is better spent on earth – or kept in the pockets of American families, where it truly belongs.
Mr. Gingrich has a history and habit of pandering with hope of gaining instant inspiration – and not just on intergalactic relations either. In a debate last month, he touted his plan for personal savings accounts for social security. I’m a strong supporter of that when our nation can afford it, but Speaker Gingrich couldn’t give a credible answer as to how he could actually accomplish this. The American people know better – and they realize our country has reached record deficits.
Remember, we heard the same type of over-the-top costly promises from President Obama two speeches ago when he pledged a nation-wide train system. A good sounding idea, but with where our finances are right now, not a practical one. At least the President’s idea dealt with infrastructure on earth and not the moon.
As president, I would have my priorities in order and focus on the things that matter most for American households: creating jobs, economic growth, protecting the family, and ensuring a prosperous and free future for our most precious assets, our children.
I will work to ensure that every American has the chance to build his or her own dream – and that starts with fiscal sanity from the White House.
Our top priority should be ensuring the economic freedom and well being of all Americans, who already live in the greatest nation, on the greatest planet, Earth.
Rick Santorum, a former representative and senator from Pennsylvania, is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president.