Trump Administration Seeks To Cut Or Privatize All Arts Funding

1In an alleged effort to reduce spending by the government, the Trump administration recently drafted a budget which would lop off funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Guest post by Taylor Mims on Amplify

In an attempt to reduce government spending, the Trump administration has drafted a budget that would eliminate funding for nine government agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts. The administration’s budget would also seek to remove funding from National Endowment of Humanities, Americorps, and Corporation for Public Broadcasting which is a private corporation funded by the government that funds PBS and supports NPR.

As of 2016, the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities together received .006% of nearly $4 trillion federal budget. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has an annual budget of less than $450 million, which would make it 0.01% of the federal budget. The administration is looking to privatize the program. This handy pie chart created by The Washington Post might help put those numbers into perspective.

Washington Post

The Trump administration wants to decrease the national deficit significantly over the next 10 years by eliminating or privatizing many government programs.  According to The Hill, the new administration’s plan is to reduce spending by $10.5 trillion over the next 10 years, which would mean decreasing spending by $1.05 trillion each year. The total annual spending for the nine programs on the chopping block comes out to an annual savings of $2.5 billion.

Though the $2.5 billion is a comparatively small number next to the proposed annual savings, the National Endowment of the Arts and Humanities, as well as Americorps and Corporation for Public Broadcasting are programs that conservative law makers have wanted to eliminate for a while. The Trump administration and other entities such as the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation (who provided the budget blueprint for the Trump administration team) consider providing funds to these programs a waste of taxpayer money. The administration is aligning itself with a small-government approach that will cut “unnecessary” spending.

The National Endowment of the Arts grants went to 16,000 communities in every congressional district in the country and is the only funder, public or private, that provides equal access to the arts in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, supporting activities such as performances, exhibitions, healing arts and arts education programs, festivals, and artist residencies. More than 80% of the NEA’s appropriation is distributed as grants and awards to organizations and individuals across the country and provides a significant return on investment for the federal government with $1 of NEA direct funding leveraging up to $9 in private and other public funds, resulting in $500 million in matching support in 2016. In addition, 40% of NEA supported activities take place in high-poverty communities and 36% of of NEA grants go to organizations that reach underserved populations such as people with disabilities, people in institutions, and veterans.

Meanwhile, in the President’s first month in office he has “utilized” over $10 million in taxpayer money playing golf in Florida for three consecutive weekends and the First Lady’s choice to not reside in the White House will cost taxpayers two times as much as the NEA budget each year.

Other programs targeted by the administration’s budget include significant cuts to the Department of Energy, the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, and 25 different grant programs that counter violence against women. A final budget proposal is expected around March 13th, which will then have to be passed by congress.

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