As previously reported on Impact Tap, Trump made clear his intention early in his tenure to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts in his budget.
He’s making good on that promise.
The Trump Administration just outlined its first-ever budget and it’s as bad as you’d expect. There are deep cuts to social spending for the poor and to environmental research to combat climate hange. USAID – which helps fund poverty alleviation efforts around the globe – is facing debilitating cuts, and Trump aims to destroy PBS.
NEA is among these and other line-items getting slashed, while the reality star president aims to greatly boost defense spending and begin work on the costly and self-defeating border wall. NEA’s funding constitutes about 45 cents per capita, a fraction of the overall federal tax revenue. Yet federal funding for the arts has a big impact. Each dollar of NEA funding leverages $9 in private or other public funding. From arts therapy for returning veterans to community orchestras that give underserved kids skills and a creative outlet, NEA funding supports projects that make a profoundly positive impact on the lives of many Americans.
Outside of the social utility of the arts – which bind people together and build bridges through their universality – the fact also remains that they are a massive and integral part of the US economy. About 4.2% of the US GDP stems from arts and entertainment which – as an industry – is made more dynamic by the funding available for arts nonprofits, fueling job growth and reaching communities in every corner of the country.
Trump’s proposed budget simply doesn’t make sense. It’s intellectually disingenuous as it ramps up spending in defense that scores of military professionals have deemed irresponsible and unnecessary while brutalizing social spending for the most vulnerable. On top of all this, the elimination of the NEA is one additional insult to injury to the US public.