In what appeared to me to be a prelude to an eventual Romney endorsement, the Joplin Globe praised Romney’s courageous attack on Big Bird and approved of cutting federal funding for public broadcasting, which the editorial admits only costs each American $1.35 per year. Yes, a buck and some change a year.
As others have pointed out, the government spends about as much at the Pentagon in six hours as it does on public broadcasting for a whole year. Yet, the Joplin Globe, in what can only be considered its dumbest editorial of all time, asks:
Is it really the role of the federal government, which is now running deficits of more than a trillion dollars annually, to subsidize Big Bird?
This editorial did not appear to be a joke, since it was not published on April 1, so I have to take seriously the effort here to bend over backwards for Romney and his pitiful attempt, during his debate with President Obama, to camouflage the real damage his and his running mate’s budget proposals will do to the country, in terms of their effects on the poor, the elderly, the disabled, not to mention the middle class and Big Bird. (The rich will do just fine, however.)
The Globe says Americans need to have “a serious conversation about the proper role and reach of the federal government.” Yeah, we sure do. And a serious conversation doesn’t start with trimming $1.35 a year from each American’s tax bill.
How about starting a serious conversation with the following graph, courtesy of Rachel Maddow and Foreign Policy magazine:
The graph shows the base defense budget since 1950, and it clearly shows the buildups during war time, the Korean War, Vietnam War, the Reagan Cold War spending, the so-called War on Terror (Maddow reminds us that the George W. Bush-era numbers don’t reflect the two Bush wars, since they were “off budget” during his time).
The graph also shows that after those periods, defense spending came down dramatically, since there was obviously less of a need for it. But notice the War on Terror spending. The red line shows what the budget would look like if the trend followed the post-Cold War trend in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It would have fallen, quite normally, way below current levels.
Then notice the “fiscal cliff” sequestration cuts, which as draconian as they are advertised by both Democrats and Republicans, still are less than the normal post-wars decline. Then notice the Obama proposed defense spending, which is way over the normal post-wars decline. Then, if you can stomach it, notice the Romney defense spending increases, which go off the chart.
That is what the Joplin Globe ought to want to start a conversation about, not Romney’s cheap attempt to score points with right-wing ideologues, who have always hated public broadcasting, apparently the Joplin Globe now among them.