Read­ing into Mr. Trump’s bud­get

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

On the March 13 front page, the head­line “His­toric cuts in Trump bud­get” jux­ta­posed oddly with the promi­nent “Calm be­fore the storm” pho­to­graph. With an unusual late-sea­son win­ter storm putting mil­lions of Amer­i­cans at risk, Pres­i­dent Trump’s pro­posed cuts to the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion, as re­ported in “Trump slow to staff key science po­si­tions,” [Pow­erPost, March 14], are hard to de­fend.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice, which is part of NOAA, uses satel­lites to pro­vide crit­i­cal in­put to the na­tion’s fore­cast­ers and their weather mod­els. Their fore­casts give am­ple warn­ing for storm crews to hook up their plows and load salt into trucks. Fam­i­lies buy gro­ceries and other sup­plies, make ar­range­ments to work from home and plan child care. Lives are saved. This rep­re­sents the weather ser­vice at work pro­vid­ing a crit­i­cal pub­lic good.

Dra­co­nian bud­get cuts to fore­cast­ers, satel­lites and the re­search sci­en­tists who keep im­prov­ing the pre­dic­tions jeop­ar­dize an in­valu­able ben­e­fit. We need to pre­serve NOAA.

John Green, Sil­ver Spring

In his March 16 op-ed, “Shear this gov­ern­ment frill,” Ge­orge F. Will dis­missed the Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts. A na­tion that does not pro­mote and sup­port the arts is with­out a soul. Art and the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of art are es­sen­tial to an en­light­ened so­ci­ety.

As we watch our gov­ern­ment move to strip sup­port for all things truly ben­e­fi­cial to its cit­i­zens while in­creas­ing an already bloated mil­i­tary, we should un­der­stand that the pro­mul­ga­tion of bar­barism over civ­i­liza­tion, of which art is a vi­tal com­po­nent, has his­tor­i­cally been the defin­ing rea­son for the fail­ure of hu­man­ity to cre­ate a peace­ful world that pro­vides for the health, wel­fare and spir­i­tual en­light­en­ment of the hu­man race.

The cut­ting of pro­grams that pro­mote and ad­vance civ­i­liza­tion is the tri­umph of our ob­scene na­tional ma­te­ri­al­ism over truth, jus­tice and compassion. It is bar­barism.

Man does not live by bread (or “mac­a­roni and cheese,” per Mr. Will) alone, but ma­te­ri­al­ism is the true re­li­gion of Amer­ica and of the mod­ern-day war­lords whom an un­en­light­ened na­tion has cho­sen to be its lead­ers.

Nor­man Dovberg, Re­ston

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