Monday, June 17, 2019

As if it couldn’t get worse, Trump budget would cut all funding for arts, libraries

The White House says the cuts are part of the elimination of "wasteful or unnecessary spending."

It appears that Trump has a plan in order to fund the $8.6 billion for border wall funding and the $861 billion in increased military spending called for in his new budget: cut all funding for the arts and humanities, public television and radio, and libraries and museums.

For the third time in a row, Trump’s proposed budget plan calls for the shuttering of the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The cuts come to a total of $897 million.

According to the budget document, the cuts  reflect a continuation of policies proposed in the 2018 and 2019 President’s Budgets that have not yet been enacted by the Congress and highlight the Administration’s efforts to eliminate wasteful or unnecessary spending.”

For the past two years Trump has been attempting to eliminate these agencies but has failed. Instead, Congress gave small increases to the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in 2019.

“Since its creation in 1965, NEH has established a significant record of achievement through its grantmaking programs,” says Jon Parrish Peede, chairman of NEH. “Over these five decades, NEH has awarded more than $5.7 billion for humanities projects through more than 65,000 grants. That public investment has led to the creation of books, films, and museum exhibits, and to ensuring the preservation of significant cultural resources around the country.”

In addition to the enrichment these groups have provided since their creation, a recent study showed the arts contribute more to the US economy than agriculture. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and the NEA, the arts contribute $763.6 billion to the US economy, or 4.2 percent of the GDP.

Image credit: National Endowment for the Arts

Other findings from the report include:

1. The arts are growing faster than the economy at large.

2. Fewer people are working in the arts than they were two decades ago.

3. The US sends a lot of art and culture out into the world.

4. Museums alone added $5.3 billion to the US economy.

5. It’s not just the major cities that are benefitting.

Despite these findings, Trump continues to push his biased agenda that would not only strip funding for the arts down to practically nothing but would also cut trillions from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Luckily with Democrats in control of the House of Representatives it is highly unlikely that Trump’s budget will be implemented as is.

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