This is Thomas Friedman’s suggested State of the Union address for Bush:
My fellow Americans, on May 25, 1961, President Kennedy gave an extraordinary State of the Union address in which he called on the nation to marshal all of its resources to put a man on the Moon. By setting that lofty goal, Kennedy was trying to summon all our industrial and scientific talent, and a willingness to sacrifice financially, to catch up with the Soviet Union, which had overtaken America in the field of large rocket engines.
"While we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first," Kennedy said, "we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last."
I come to you this evening with a similar challenge. President Kennedy was worried about the threat that communism posed to our way of life. I am here to tell you that if we don't move away from our dependence on oil and shift to renewable fuels, it will change our way of life for the worse - and soon - much, much more than communism ever could have. Making this transition is the calling of our era.
There is no doubt that government can create huge engineering feats when it steals labor from its citizenry. We’ve known this ever since the ancient Egyptians used slave labor to build the Great Pyramids. It was many thousands of years before mankind built another structure that tall.
Using tax dollars (stolen from the citizenry) to send a man to the moon was the modern equivalent of the building of the Great Pyramid. A huge waste of public money that accomplished nothing except the bragging rights to say “wow, we did it.” Who knows if another human will ever be sent to the moon? So far it has been 37 years since the first moon landing and we currently have no capability of repeating that feat.
Government is good at spending money, but very bad at actually making things more efficient. The free market makes things more efficient. We sent men to the moon, but we were unable to do it economically. Sure, government can reduce our nation’s fuel consumption, but only through an incredible waste of non-fuel resources.
Friedman talks about the problem of Middle East countries getting rich from their oil sales, but there is no U.S. policy that can change the laws of nature. Oil is an incredibly useful resource. That’s not going to change. Not now, not ever. Countries that have that resource are going to make money selling it to someone and there is nothing that Congress or the President can do to stop that from happening short of military conquest of every oil producing nation.