opinion web
Conservative Opinion General Opinion
Froma Harrop
Froma Harrop
4 Feb 2016
And the Oscar for Most Stunning Actress Goes to ...

We are here not to discuss the complex #OscarsSoWhite controversy but to address another sore point with … Read More.

2 Feb 2016
Government Keeps Rural West Going

The 187,000 acres on which sits the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge never belonged to the state of Oregon, … Read More.

28 Jan 2016
Why Cheap Oil Isn't Bad for the Environment

It stood to reason that collapsing prices for oil would make clean energy relatively more expensive. That … Read More.

I Want My Planet Back


Florida is the state that put the first man on the moon, NBC's Brian Williams noted at the Republican presidential debate in Tampa. He asked the candidates, "At a time when you all want to shrink federal spending, should space exploration be a priority?"

Of course it should be, Mitt Romney said. The former Massachusetts governor accused President Obama of having no vision for NASA, "and as a result of that, there are people on the Space Coast that are suffering." He spoke of the need for "a collaborative effort" among business, the government and the military.

(Romney showed less sympathy for the auto industry workers suffering in the Midwest a few years ago. For them he wrote an op-ed titled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.")

Williams turned to Newt Gingrich and asked, "Would you put more tax dollars into the space race to commit to putting an American on Mars instead of relying on the private sector?"

Flying beyond the question's orbit, the former House speaker advocated offering prizes for going to Mars or back to the moon. He noted that Charles Lindbergh flew to Paris in 1927 for a $25,000 prize. But he added, "I would like to see vastly more of the money spent encouraging the private sector into very aggressive experimentation, and I'd like to see a leaner NASA."

Now, where pray tell would the prize and encouragement money come from other than the taxpayers? And why does Gingrich suddenly say he wants a slimmer NASA? Not long ago, he co-wrote a piece saying that the "Obama administration's (2011) budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration deserves strong approval from Republicans."

To quote Yoda from "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," "You must unlearn what you have learned."

Working on the questionable assumption that Gingrich believes his latest version, the audience hears the following: Gingrich merely wants to remove those pest government bureaucrats standing between corporations and the U.S.

Treasury vault. That would ensure a perfect lunar path for lobbyists (or lobbyist clones like himself) to facilitate the transfer of public money.

We've seen the deal before in the GOP's Medicare drug benefit. Shovel taxpayer dollars into the private coffers with minimal government oversight, and call it a "free-market solution."

Gingrich made money selling his former congressional colleagues on the drug benefit, which costs taxpayers far more than would have a simple plan for the government to directly buy the medicines. Gingrich approves. "It's run on a free-enterprise model," he insists.

The issues change, but the creatures and lobbying tactics to build them are the same. As Lama Su succinctly puts it in "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones," "Pure genetic replication."

Gingrich is far more poetic than your average spaceling or Mitt Romney. He envisions us "leapfrogging into a world where you're incentivizing people who are visionary and people in the private sector to invest very large amounts of money and finding a very romantic and exciting future."

If people in the private sector have very large amounts of money to invest in this romantic and exciting future, why don't they invest it? Isn't that the free-market model? Depends what planet.

One can imagine that NASA has room to streamline, but it is hardly the failure Gingrich makes it out to be. It built the International Space Station and repaired the Hubble Telescope. It runs successful research missions. And it already works collaboratively with private industry, by the way.

The Republican candidates may go around calling for an expanded space program without expanded taxes, but we earthlings know different. On our planet, taxes pay for government. And frankly, I want my planet back.

To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




2 Comments | Post Comment
When I first sw the title of this article, I thought this would be a peice on the enviornment. Thank goodness it was not, as I think most enviornmentalists are hypocrites. Actually what she said made a lot of sense. NASA has done good in the past, but not so much recently. Lets fix the budget problems first, then we can start working on other planets.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:18 AM
All of this just to rail about the need for higher taxes? I agree, administrators and dumb-**sses who spout lefthanded nonsense about "incentivizing" people should be ignored, possibly filleted, but what was that Obama was doing with 500 million and Solyndra? Why, he is the master incentivizer! - as long as it's other people's money at stake. And that is what this long and winding column is truly about, the eternal need of government for other people's money to do with what the government chooses. Such ponderous logic causes me to doubt even the most simple of Froma's statements, for example at this moment I am not certain she is an earthling.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Tom
Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:17 AM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
Froma Harrop
Feb. `16
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 8 Feb 2016
Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 6 Feb 2016
Susan EstrichUpdated 5 Feb 2016

30 Apr 2013 Legal Pot Means More Money for States, Less for Gangs

18 Sep 2012 Buckle up for the Robot Revolution

13 Jan 2011 Going Down in an Up Economy