If there’s an economic reason to go to the moon, then private companies should finance it. If there’s not an economic reason to go to the moon, then what — aside from sci-fi frisson — is to be gained by going there?
I’ve heard it as a practice run for Mars. Bollocks. Mars is an entirely different situation than the Moon: different distances, different environment, different mission altogether. If we want to go to Mars (assuming there’s some purpose for that), let’s go to Mars. Why the pit stop?