Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Recently I have read many stories about the heroic efforts of the Republican party to rein in spending by cutting NPR’s funding from the federal budget.  Now, I’m a supporter of NPR and public broadcasting in general because I think both provide valuable, intelligent programming.  However, we are in a budget crisis and cuts need to be made.  Having said all of that, I’m not here to discuss the merits of NPR.  For this discussion, let us stick to facts.  Clearly, with all of the energy being expended on cutting NPR’s budget it must get us really close to a balanced budget.

Let’s take a look at the numbers!

2010 Federal Budget (Source Wikipedia)

Income:  $2,380,000,000,000 ($2.38 Trillion)
Spending:  $3,551,800,000,000 ($3.5518 Trillion)
Deficit:  -$1,171,800,000,000 ($1.1718 Trillion)

That’s a lot of money!!

-$1,171,800,000,000 / $3,551,800,000,000 = -32.99%

Basically we spend 33% more than we take in.  Cuts must be made!

NPR does not get any of its money DIRECTLY from the federal government.  It receives part of its budget through grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Since we are making cuts, lets just get rid of the CPB!  This way we can get rid of NPR, the Public Broadcasting Service, etc.  Nobody likes Sesame Street anyway.  Besides, I didn’t want to research how much NPR recieves and CPB’s budget is bigger.  Therefore, my results are much larger than if I had only accounted for NPR.

CPB Budget: $420,000,000 ($420 Million).  That’s a lot of money too!

-$1,171,800,000,000 – $420,000,000 = $1,171,380,000,000  WTF?

Ok, let’s put this in perspective and try to explain this in a way a knuckle-dragger like me can understand.

Let’s look at this as if it were a family budget with some nice, small, round numbers.

I’ll eliminate some zeroes so it looks like a normal household budget.

Dividing everything by 100,000,000 =

 

Income:  $23,800
Spending:  $35,518
Deficit:  -$11,718

 

CPB equivalent = 420,000,000 / 100,000,000 = $4.20 (0.03584% of my budget deficit)

 

All of this energy for a lousy 0.04%.  Seriously?

 

So, the solution to our problem is to forgoe a Grande Latte at Starbucks once a year.

 

Brilliant.

 

 

 

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Today, our President won the Nobel Peace Prize. Upon first hearing the news I thought “what for?” Many people were asking the same question. However, as the day went on the tone of the question changed. It has become partisan.

Supporters of Pres. Obama often argue that he won it for not being Pres. Bush and seriously putting forth a policy of diplomatic engagement with countries who are not our allies. His detractors argue that he has won it for making good speeches and/or being popular with “socialist” Europeans.

All of the vitriol aside, both may be correct. However, I think it is President Obama himself who called it correctly. It IS a call to action.

The United States is the only country on the planet with the ability to act unilaterally (militarily) anywhere on the globe. Our power projection capability is unmatched. There is little another nation or group of nations could do to stop us. If you are not the United States, how do you temper “the beast?”

You temper the beast through engagement. Giving President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize before he has “earned” it is a brilliant manuever. President Obama wants to earn it. I’m not saying he will place earning the prize above US national interests. But the desire to earn it may be enough to push him towards peace during a critical time when everyone around him will be clamoring for war or disengagement.

Specifically, in the not too distant future, bombing the uranium enrichment facility near Qum, Iran could be a decision he will have to make. Secondly, he may need to persuade Israel not to bomb the facility. The possibilities are endless.

My point here is that the prize adds another voice in his head to push for peace.

I think he will earn it. It will take time and it will be difficult but diplomacy always does.

One final point here. Regardless of whether you think he deserves it or not, he didn’t nominate himself for it, nor did he campaign for it. So let’s stop berating him for it. Instead, let us help him earn it through reasoned, unemotional, and non-partisan public discourse.