Since I blog about three times each week I often write the blog within a day or two of its posting. This enables me to think about and opine on topics that are top of mind since they are current topics. However this morning (Friday Dec 21 being the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere) I did not have a post in the can. I chalk it up to the remote possibility that the Mayan calendar prediction that the apocalypse could happen and then there’d be nobody to read the post so why bother. It was my personal single concession regarding the possible end of the world as we know it.
Reading the newspaper (the physical NY Times, Wall Street Journal and Norwalk (CT) Hour should surely bring some thoughts to mind on what to write. I’ve stayed away from commenting on the tragedy in nearby Newtown as my feelings are still too raw and personal and I really have nothing to say or write about that would contribute to the ongoing discussion.
It was a graphic in the Times that caught my eye and got me thinking. The story – ‘Where Americans are willing to Cut’ was by far the most interesting thing I read today.
I was fascinated by the contrast in what polled Americans (from 2011) would support in terms of minor or major reductions versus the program’s share of the federal budget. Take a look and see if you feel the same. To offer that there were incongruities would be an understatement – at least in my opinion.
There was no mention of funding for the arts but I know that the share of the federal budget that goes to supporting arts is extremely small as a percentage of the entire budget. For example the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) has a budget of $146 million for 2012. Apparently it did not even make the list. My point is that cutting funding to the arts will have a negligible effect on helping balance the budget based on the program’s share of the budget. Education was a much smaller share of the budget than I would have thought – disappointingly so.
I guess my feeling on those things would label me a ‘liberal’ in the eyes many people. That may or may not be entirely true. But pardon me if I don’t understand why supporting the arts and education funding (over salaries and benefits for government workers, foreign aid and Afghanistan) makes me a bleeding heart. By now most people are aware that improving education is the key to the U.S. remaining a leading nation. Add to that the U.S. reputation for supporting arts (and by extension innovation both in and beyond the arts) and you have an important reason the U.S. remains a place where people want to go to have a chance to realize their own dreams.
I guess I had something to write about after all. Merry Christmas to all and enjoy the time spent with your families and friends – there’s nothing more special than that.