in 2008 we elected Hope and Change, but all we've gotten has been a new War (arguably 2 new ones.. Libya and Yemen), we've doubled the National debt since 2008 (7.51T to 14.568T) and more than doubled our future financial commitments (21.1T under G.W. Bush, 66.7T under Obama), had one of the roughest economic patches in american history, have seen our global status fall like a meteor, our national education level plummet, and now we've seen the last launch of our manned space missions.
I think this last point is very key, in conjunction with the others. America, the first *civilization* to ever put a man on another celestial body... the first of our species to travel beyond our own planet, has now discontinued it's exploration program. It's like a portion of America died on July 8th, 2011. Space exploration, and the technological advancements learned from it, have laid the foundation for much of the technology that we enjoy today. This computer I'm typing on was miniaturized from a warehouse down to a single room (then a single box) largely by the demands of the space agency. The Velcro that we've used to secure items for decades, came from the space industry. Lasers, fiber optic cable, shielded-twisted pair data cables, rocket propulsion systems, our knowledge of our own climate, GPS Satellites, Cell phones, SD cards (that you put your digital pictures on)... all has some how been related to the space program.
I know that the suspension of investment in the space program is "temporary".. but who really knows how long it will be; at the rate that we've been lied to. When a civilization quits pushing themselves harder, quits exploring, and stops reaching for seemingly unreachable goals... what happens?