Monday, March 21, 2011

Art vs. missiles: by the numbers

Sometimes you just have to put these things in perspective by looking at the numbers.

National Endowment for the Arts budget for FY2011 as proposed by President Obama: $161.3 million. This figure was cut to $124 million by the House, led by Republicans supposedly in the name of fiscal prudence. The Senate has rejected these cuts.

Cost of Tomahawk missiles fired by the U.S. in basically one day as military action against Libya commences: $66 million. This is calculated using an extremely conservative estimate of each Tomahawk's cost at $600,000; it is said about 110 such missiles were fired in this assault.

[Update March 23: this ABC News report cites a study that indicates that the total cost of putting in place and enforcing the no-fly zone in Libya could cost between $30 million and $100 million per week. I offer this information not to take a pro-or-anti-intervention stance as regards this action; but I think when citizens debate whether our supposed current fiscal crisis warrants drastic cuts to NPR or the NEA or their outright elimination, I think they are entitled to be given some facts that put these dollar amounts in a real perspective and context.]

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