WASHINGTON - January 14 - Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman today said that President Bush's space exploration program will likely cost the country much more than the Administration is willing to reveal and will divert critical resources away from important domestic priorities.
"Today's speech by the President was an attempt to mask the enormous price tag on further space exploration," said Edelman. "When the President's father proposed similar goals back in 1989, the estimates were $400 billion. But even if the price tag today has been trimmed down, it is still too much. This is the wrong priority for America at a time when its children are facing so many challenges and our federal deficit is reaching record high levels."
Edelman explained that instead of spending money to colonize the Moon, and travel to Mars and asteroids, a much smaller amount could be invested in some critical areas that would make a difference right now in the lives of children. "Eighty-one billion dollars phased in over five years would provide health insurance to all uninsured children in America, and $81 billion phased in over five years would give Head Start to every eligible pre-schooler who needs it."