There is a movement to strip billions of dollars from the stimulus bill led by Ben Nelson of Omaha (whose Democratic status is debatable) and Susan Collins (Republican) of Maine.
Included in the cuts are $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (of course), $14 million for cyber security research by the Homeland Security Department (that makes sense?), $1 billion for the National Science Foundation (are they kidding - when we're this close to ground-breaking stem cell research, understanding the nature of viruses, struggling to keep our oceans alive, not to mention the catastrophic potential ozone depletion - the model's still the same even though we've stopped emitting...), $400 million for research and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (hasn't anyone thought about the amount we would be saving on health-care behind this initiative and how many jobs would be created by it?), $850 million for Amtrak (right, people should drive their own car to work and not take the train, or God forbid, carpool and coupled with the tax incentive to buy a new car, wonder who's lobbying for this one -- the only person this helps is GM and Exxon and the banking industry, God bless them), and $400 million for climate change research (oh, I forgot, we still don't believe it exists and we haven't signed the Kyoto Agreement...) Really, are they kidding?!!!!
And I realized there are only two collars in this country, white collar and blue collar. So, I'm suggesting a third collar. I thought about calling it black collar (because that's all we ever wear but that's sort of taken by the Priesthood). So I'm suggesting a gray collar movement of scientists, doctors, medical researchers, health-care professionals, lab technicians, security analysts (not the banking kind, the ones who keep our country safe), engineers, train conductors, publishers, writers, journalists, and the dreaded "A" word, artists. Why aren't those industries just as relevant for aid when it's their forward thinking and groundbreaking work that will take us into the future?
We're willing to write a blank check to the banking industry with no oversight, at all, when these checks have a name and an address and a significant impact on the economy, now, and in the future.
Follow Amy Ephron on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AmyEphron