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Letter: Draconian budget cuts

Dr. Robert Brake re federal budget cuts

Published on September 8, 2017 12:01AM

The Trump administration has promised to slash funding for important programs like the arts, humanities, public media and medical research. The total amount, just $741 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is a very small percentage of the proposed $4.1 trillion budget for 2017-18.

Yet, should Trump prevail, funding for CPB would soon be cut to zero, and the NEA and NEH would be eliminated entirely, the first time any president has proposed such a measure. That’s shameful, especially in light of proposed spending increases for defense and homeland security at the expense of programs that inform and enrich us.

CPB, for example, provides Americans with universal access to educational and informational programming, one of America’s best investments, costing approximately just $1.35 per citizen per year. Such funding goes to local radio stations like Coast Community Radio (KMUN, 91.9 FM). We coast dwellers depend on such stations for local news and entertainment. Why, then, threaten such federal-supported agencies that enrich us and provide much-needed services at low cost?

I strongly oppose congressional proposals to reduce investments in public broadcasting, the arts and humanities and health care. Moreover, it doesn’t make sense to reduce spending on Medicaid, food stamps and assistance programs for the disabled, while increasing already-inflated military budgets and adding incredibly expensive ships and planes to our fleets. For example, at $13 billion, the USS Ford is the most expensive ship in history. The F-35 $400 billion stealth fighter plane program is another example of reckless, unnecessary spending.

To find out just how valuable your tax dollar investments can be, check out the three-part Discovery Channel series, “First in Human.” It’s about saving lives through medical research, the right thing to do. Trump has proposed a $5.8 billion cut for National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2018, though Congress, in one of those rare, makes-good-sense bills, approved a $2 billion increase for 2017.

Draconian cuts in much-needed programs like NIH, CPB, NEA and NEH just don’t make sense.

Dr. Robert Brake

Ocean Park, Washington


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