Regulation of the Day 166: Cowboy Poetry

This year’s budget battle is especially heated. Democrats want the federal budget to be $3.7 trillion. Republicans want it to be $3.6 trillion. Both sides are willing to shut down the federal government rather than give in.

That’s where cowboy poetry, of all things, comes in. This traditional American art form, which I’d never heard of until today, has suddenly become the latest front in the epic struggle over the size and scope of government.

It is currently official federal policy to financially support cowboy poetry. But the GOP wants to cut $61 billion, or 1.6 percent, out of President Obama’s proposed budget. And cowboy poetry funding is on the chopping block.

The main element of federal cowboy poetry policy is a week-long annual festival in Nevada. Nevada is also the home state of Sen. Harry Reid. He is furious about this dire threat to cowboy poets everywhere, calling his opponents “mean-spirited.”

Without the funding, he adds, “the tens of thousands of people who come there [to the festival] every year would not exist.”

If Sen. Reid is right, tens of thousands of people could literally vanish into non-existence if Republicans get their way. Maybe they should reconsider.

If only politicians had that kind of existential power over the $1.6 trillion budget deficit. Oh, wait. They do. All they have to do is spend less.

(via Dan Mitchell)