Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A couple of oddities from Tuesday's papers

In the Post, Starbucks has an ad on page A12 to "Draw Salty." Salty's a cartoon pirate head, like the old "if you can draw this" ads that ran in comics. There's 7 blank boxes to draw Salty in various art styles - minimalism, cubism, dada, abstract expressionism, post-impressionism, surrealism and baroque - but this doesn't appear to be a contest.

In the Examiner, a letter to the editor takes them to task for a Darryl Cagle editorial cartoon. The letter writer appears to completely miss the conceit of 'putting lipstick on a pig':

The Washington Examiner
Feb 13, 2007

Cartoonist got it exactly backwards on Department of Defense budget

Re: “Whoa, I’m gonna need more lipstick” cartoon, Feb. 12

Daryl Cagle’s cartoon gave a factually false image of the defense budget as an ugly pig that is much larger than the “domestic budget.”

According to OMB figures, defense spending will be $439 billion in a total 2007 budget of $2.9 trillion, or 15 percent. Even if one adds the State Department and other international programs, and possible supplemental requests for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the total still comes to less than 20 percent of federal spending. That leaves 80 percent for “domestic” programs.

As a share of the economy, defense spending is at the lowest level since the 1930s. The massive cuts in the 1990s explain why our military is so overextended in what are actually very small wars by historical standards. A country as rich as ours should never be contemplating retreat in the face of insurgent thugs, but we are.

What is driving the increase in federal spending are “mandatory” entitlement programs which are about to consume half the budget. In Senate testimony last month, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that higher entitlement spending could cripple the economy.

Cagle should get his facts straight, assuming facts matter to his expression of “opinion.”

William R. Hawkins
Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
U.S. Business and Industry Council
Washington, D.C.

No comments: