Budget Cuts, NASA, the Arts & Hype


I remember well the old NASA funding wars of the 1980s when the Democrats did everything they could not only to cut every science program possible, but to literally destroy NASA.  It began with Jimmy Carter and William Proxmire.  Democrats hated science to the point where real R & D in this country was truly endangered.  It was that simple.  When Ronald Reagan began balancing the budget, one of the targets was the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities.  There was mass hysteria, but both institutions were completely out of control when it came to funding and the projects they were supporting.   The artistic world decided if Reagan’s changes were made, the arts as we knew them in the US would collapse and be destroyed.

It was mass hysteria.  The arts survived.  Somehow, we managed to create a situation within NASA where the entire agency, as an institution, learned how to survive – cheap and dirty.  It learned how to flourish via austerity.  Many of the wonderful small-scale probes we are enjoying today were conceptualized during those days.  I was very good friends with the person who was behind the original idea.

NASA survived.

It will continue to survive.  We now live in a world where there are more people alive since its conception than those of us who remember those golden glory days.  That is a good thing.  They cannot even comprehend a world without an active space program.  Basically – we won.

That’s what budget battles are all about, everyone loses. It is life in the fast lane.  Everyone loses.  Contrary to popular opinion, even the Pentagon loses.  In real life, you can’t keep spending on a reckless pace that will destroy you.  The same thing holds true with government.  It isn’t about meanness, vitriol, or vicious hatred, but shared survival.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick and tired of hearing about the NEA’s budget.  It is a paltry $148 million.  The Metropolitan Opera’s annual budget is around $300 million.  The guy who plays Big Bird makes $314,000 a year.  I was reading the other day that Sesame Street’s net worth as a franchise is about $600 million dollars.  They need no government funding.  Neither does PBS.

When I was in retail, I begged to be allowed to advertise on our SC PBS, but they are so narcissistically highbrow they don’t associate with unwashed business people.  It’s a shame.  The best response I ever had on any form of advertising was via the gift certificates I donated to SC PBS during their pledge drive.  PBS was the perfect venue for advertising my gallery, but forget that.  They could make a tremendous amount of money if they allowed advertising, and give a lot of people jobs, but forget that.   If they insist on continuing federal funding, they should be cut-off and forced to evolve.   And – no one is more into the arts than I am.  But, there is reality.  Reality is forcing them to take advertising.

Liberals keep waxing hysterical about money being snatched from dying babies.  What a total crock.  We have a problem with hunger in this country, but let’s also be honest about something.  Liberals love to cry about it, but I only know a few who actually do something about it.  They cry a good game about refugees while tens of thousands of vets are homeless.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of manipulative hysteria.  The Obama Administration was on a spending spree.  We’re paying the price.

Deal with it.