Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fiscal Priorities

NASA announced the other day that they were going to initiate a $100 billion program to return to the moon. This comes on top of an enormously expensive foray into Iraq (hundreds of billions and counting), along with the clean-up of the mess Katrina left in the Gulf states (who even knows what that will cost). It seems we are deficit-spending our way into serious economic trouble, while 40 million Americans have no health care insurance. Why are we returning to the moon when there are a billion people in developing countries on the verge of starvation? Why we are proposing another expensive space project when we have all been recently made aware of the appalling poverty millions of Americans live in? Reading NASA's press release, it was difficult to discern any real justification for another moon landing. This will be just "Apollo II: The Search for Bigger Rocks." This seems to me to be yet another waste of taxpayer dollars, and reflects the lack of commonsense programing at NASA and the White House. Instead of enormously expensive publicity stunts like returning to the moon, NASA should justify its $16.2 billion yearly budget by advancing scientific knowledge. One of the few unqualified success of the space program since the end of the Apollo mission, was the placement in orbit of space telescopes such as the Hubble (which, ironically, is being sacrificed for this proposed moon shot!).

We do need an Apollo program, we do need a Manhattan Project, but not to drive golf balls in zero-g or build more bombs. We need to shift our fiscal priorities towards cleaning up the toxic mess we have made down here (I live in New Jersey, the mother of all superfund states), and taking care of the least among us. Certain folks like to remind us that America is a Christian nation, founded upon Christian principles. I think both assertions are dubious at best, but let's just say that's true for a moment. If we are a Christian nation, then ought we to be mindful of Jesus' description of those who are welcomed into the kingdom in Matthew 25:34, "Then the King will say to those on his right hand, `Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me." Our fiscal priorities seem out of step with the New Testament, geared as they are to safe-guarding large corporations, the wealthiest and healthiest among us, and the military-industrial-aeronautic complex which has new plans for our money.

2 Comments:

Blogger Miss Eagle said...

'on ya, Ars. The work of the Kingdom is to tell the alternative story. I wish Christians were as willing to challenge the basic economics paradigm as they are the theory of evolution. Economic theory is based on scarcity - the allocation of scarce resources. God did not creat scarcity - he provided sufficiency. Now there may be periods of scarcity within an overall sufficiency which gives us quite a few problems to solve. But let's get the basic story right - God has undoubtedly given us sufficient resources. It is clear he has given this to everyone - not for a minority to take to themselves. Once we begin to talk about sufficiency as the basis of human economic life, if we could make the tenet of sufficiency a driving force in economic debate, we can begin to look at problems in a new light. Do you think we could campaign to have the theory of sufficiency taught in our schools - perhaps place advisory stickers in all economics books which begin with economic scarcity?

8:02 PM  
Blogger Scribe said...

I'm with you Eagle's Child! That sounds awfully dangerous - kind of like Acts 4:32ff. v.34, "Nor was there anyone among them who lacked."

Thanks!

9:30 PM  

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