Posted by: SWL | March 9, 2011

Budget Poetry

Many statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid make me embarrassed to be a Nevadan. Even more so Tuesday when news anchors were actually laughing at his comments. On the Senate floor Sen. Reid said funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) should not be cut, and as an example of its importance he cited funding for the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering in northeastern Nevada.

The anchors were right to laugh. Our country has a $1.4 trillion debt and the president has proposed a $3.73 trillion budget for 2012. The NEA is just one of the nice but unnecessary items on which our government spends money. The president’s budget includes $11.5 million for 81 workers to deal with the new tanning salon tax and funds to paint U.S. embassy roofs white to save energy. The 2009 Stimulus provided $10.5 billion for high-speed rail, with President Obama proposing five times that over the next 6 years. The Stimulus also funded research on ants in Africa!

I’m in favor of artistic endeavors, especially cultural and historic ones like cowboy poetry. But right now our government does not have money for art. If my family were short on money we wouldn’t be using credit to go to the theater, buy a painting for the wall or buy supplies to paint our own. Art is an urge, a passion. True art will continue even without funding. In fact, thousands of artists already create without government funding.

It’s better for a big spender to reform before his line of credit is cut off. Sen. Reid, President Obama and many others need to learn the same lesson.

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