So the House Republicans have proposed this (boldface mine):
House Republicans Monday proposed slashing cuts to environmental programs and funding for the Smithsonian Institution and the arts as they unveiled the latest legislation to implement the second year of budget cuts required under so-called sequestration.
The $24 billion spending measure would gut the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency with a one-third cut and cuts the National Endowments for the Arts by almost half. Overall, the measure funding the Interior Department, EPA, national parks and federal firefighting efforts is cut by 19 percent below funding approved in March.
It takes a more modest approach to the national parks with a slight increase over levels mandated by sequestration, the across-the-board cuts forced by Washington’s failure to strike a bipartisan budget accord. And firefighting efforts would benefit from $1.5 billion in “emergency” funds on top of the spending limits set by the GOP’s austere budget plan.
Keep in mind, these are cuts on top of cuts. I get the Republican opposition to the EPA: every time an asthmatic draws an untroubled breath, Corporate Baby Jesus sheds a tear–this is what Republicans do. Given the conservative belief that the NEA does nothing but fund giant murals depicting anal fisting (which is part of the Liberal Agenda to convert your kids to Mexicanism and force them to say their atheist prayers in Homosexual), I suppose the opposition to the NEA is ‘understandable.’ Here on Planet Earth, the NEA spends considerable sums try to conserve art and Americana that are getting steamrolled by modernity–note the verb conserve (Allan Bloom, anyone?).
But the Smithsonian? Sure, they’ve done the occasional wacky thing like subtly note that the denotation of an atom bomb over densely populated Japan killed a lot of Japanese people. But for the most part, the art isn’t radical, the science is natural history (though they do practice TEH DARWINISMZ!!!), and the American history is tepid centrism of the non-confrontational kind.
It’s just cuts for the sake of cuts:
“Simply put, this bill makes very difficult choices in an extremely tough budget environment,” said author Mike Simpson, R-Idaho. “Within challenging budget constraints, we’ve focused on providing adequate funding to fight and prevent wildfires, making sure our national parks stay open, and meeting our trust responsibilities to American Indians.”
The only challenging budget constraints are the ones we create–unlike the Eurozone, when you have a fiat currency, money alone is never a limiting resource. But the Republican austerians would weaken our patrimony in service to a foolish and dangerous economic idea.
Closing of the American Mind indeed.