When President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009 the federal deficit was 10 trillion dollars, give or take a few cents. When he is sworn in this coming January 20th, the deficit will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $16,700,000,000,000.00, again give or take a few cents. The receipts to the federal government for the last year for which information is available (2011) is $2,303,500,000,000.00 or two trillion dollars plus. Our outlay for the same year exceeded $3 trillion. Second grade math will show that we spent 50% more than we took in. This is not sustainable by any stretch of the imagination. If you doubt that, take a look at the fiscal problems in Greece and Portugal.
Some democrat wag [that was no wag, that was Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) - ed.] suggested minting a trillion dollar coin but that is obviously either ludicrous or just plain ole stupid. Or both!
But we do have very real need for spending from at the federal level. These costs include national defense and to “promote the general welfare” as noted in the constitution. But what does that really mean? Does it mean for example funding the following (courtesy of Jeff Jacoby ~ and lest ye think that 1994 is so outdated, the same kinds of issues apply today):
- In Minneapolis recently, the Walker Art Center arranged a production of “Four Scenes in a Harsh Life” by Ron Athey, an HIV-positive actor- playwright. In his performance, Athey takes a scalpel and carves a pattern into another man’s back. The blood from the wounds is then blotted with paper towels and dangled in the air over the heads of the audience.Major funding for the Walker Center comes from the federal government. This year, it received $104,500 from the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Last year’s biennial exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York was titled “Abject Art: Repulsion and Desire.” Among other delights, it offered a video of a young man spitting blood, a photo of amputated genitalia perched atop two skulls, framed samples of an infant’s diaper stains, a giant splash of fake vomit, menstrual blood, and the aforementioned Mapplethorpe and Serrano portraits. Visitors were made to wear badges proclaiming: “I can’t imagine ever wanting to be white.”The Whitney is subsidized by the NEA. Grants in recent years total well over $300,000.
- Photographs by artist Joel-Peter Witkin drew attention when activists tried to display them in the US Capitol. His work includes pictures of a corpse’s head sawed in half and repositioned so it seems to be kissing itself; an obese nude woman holding three dead fetuses; and a nude man strapped beneath heavy weights that are suspended above his head by means of a pulley chained to his scrotum. The latter is titled “Testicle Stretch with the Possibility of a Crushed Face.”
- The NEA has given several grants to Witkin, some worth up to $20,000.
Other outrageous examples abound in the appropriations bills passed in the last few years, with little indication that congress in its infinite wisdom has seen any need to pare back the excesses. In fact, since the Jacoby article was first published in the Boston Globe, NEA spending has had millions and millions and millions of increases and only one or two smaller decreases.
Parenthetically note the two photographs above. Did you know that a group of baboons, the most viciously aggressive and least intelligent of all primates is called a Congress? Fits doesn’t it?
But, I digress. Until we, collectively demand that Congress and the President cease profligate spending, cease spending money we don’t have on things we really don’t need, our current way of life is figuratively and literally doomed. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.