Friday, April 9, 2010

Cut the National Endowment for the Arts!

I don't surf into that often, but it's a useful tool for checking out the pulse (if you can call it that) of the "intellectual" side of conservatism every once in a while.

Went there today and the first post on the page was a post about a Value-Added Tax. I won't get into the pros and cons of VATs since I haven't studied them enough to form a valid opinion... yet. But that's not the most illuminating part of the post.

Here's what is:

Bernanke argues that Americans need to choose between higher taxes or massive cuts in critical government programs. He mentioned Social Security, Medicare, Education and Defense as areas of government spending that would be targeted if we don’t raise taxes. This is a false choice. The federal government needs to reform entitlement programs, needs to root out waste fraud and abuse and should eliminate programs like the National Endowment for the Arts.
Brian Darling is basically reiterating exactly what Bernanke said... almost to the letter! He says that what needs to be cut is 'entitlement spending' which is exactly what Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA (once it goes into effect) are.

These are popular programs. They're not likely to get cut anytime soon. In fact, it's unlikely they'll ever be cut. Which brings us to the crux of the Republican party's current problems with economics... they want to cut taxes but when they get into office they realize they can't cut government spending because nobody wants to cut the "entitlement" programs that make up the largest bulk of government spending.

However, not satisfied with completely disagreeing with Bernanke by totally agreeing with Bernanke, Darling then advocates cutting the National Endowment for the Arts, a program that receives nothing but scorn from the right. But our dear Darling fails to mention that the NEA's budget for 2010 is $161 million, while the Federal Budget is more than $3.6 trillion.

Let's put that into perspective: The NEA constitutes 0.00042% of the federal budget.

Let's further put that into perspective: Cutting the NEA would save the taxpayer approximately 74 cents in annual taxes.

But let's be completely fair to Darling, who no doubt sympathizes with the richest Americans -- those poor souls who are most frequently raped by the government. Let's be fair to him by hypothesizing that the NEA's entire annual budget is taken directly from the most blighted of US citizens -- those unfortunate enough to be cursed CURSED! with the burden of being wealthy in the United States.

If we imagine that every household in the country earning more than $100,000 per year (approximately 17-million households) bear the direct burden of funding the NEA every year, then we could save those poor, wealthy bastards nearly $9.42 per year by cutting it!

$9.42 is nearly two Venti Starbucks Lattes! Think of the children! Oh won't you please think of the children!

Alright, I'm rambling... but we really shouldn't overlook how neatly Darling summarizes the conservatives' stance on social issues, their economic ignorance and what has to be viewed as the complete intellectual collapse of the modern Republican party all in one paragraph.

To recap this amazing accomplishment:

Ben Bernanke said, "Americans need to choose between higher taxes or massive cuts in Social Security, Education, Medicare and Defense."

Darling replies, "No, Bernanke is wrong! Americans need to choose between higher taxes or massive cuts in Social Security and Medicare. Oh, and also... the NEA needs to go."

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