NEH in the News
Among the proposals the administration is considering is eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That wouldn’t make much of a dent in the deficit—the three programs account for about a tenth of 1 percent of federal spending—but the cuts would please conservatives who have argued for years that the federal government has no business funding the arts.
The Guam Humanities Council is soliciting support for a petition to Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, Northern Marianas Delegate Gregorio Sablan, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to save the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
If President Trump cuts the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) then programs like the Warrior-Scholar program, which introduces higher education to veterans and partners with Cornell University, could be left without funding. Tim Murray, Director for the Society for Humanities at Cornell, says cutting the NEH won’t save much money.
By affirming our shared past, and stretching to spread connected conversations throughout all of America’s 21st-century communities, the National Endowment for the Humanities provides an unparalleled public service. Perhaps we are so divided, Mr. President — a state of affairs that, as you acknowledged, preceded even the election of Barack Obama — precisely because we have so profoundly reduced our investment in connective tissue such as the NEH. One hundred fifty million dollars a year seems like a pretty good deal for efforts dedicated to helping Americans build a shared culture.
According to police estimates, it costs $500,000 a day to guard the Trump Tower, where First Lady Melania Trump has chosen to live with her son Barron instead of relocating to the White House. At this rate, Trump Tower security will cost about $183 million per year, which is more than the $148 million budget for the National Endowment for the Arts, which the Trump administration has threatened to eliminate.
But this fiscal argument, while factually correct, won’t galvanize people to come out and support the agency. In order to win the battle for the NEA, the arts community needs to link it to larger debates that more Americans will find compelling. This is how the Republicans reframed the debate over the NEA in the 1990s, and it’s a lesson for those of us who want to reframe it today.
Both the RSC and Heritage Foundation's most recent blueprints aim to balance the budget in less than 10 years, balancing domestic cuts with entitlement reform. Both take aim at frequent conservative targets like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AmeriCorps and the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. They also limit funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development partnership between the federal and local governments in Appalachia, along with the Environmental Protection Agency.
It emerged over the weekend that Donald Trump is moving forward with his plans to axe the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities (which partially funds NPR and PBS), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other programs as he looks to prune public spending.
Life is once again imitating art. Actually, it’s worse than that. Now this president has decided that if he is shallow and his followers are shallow, he shall do what he can to make our society shallower. Perhaps that’s his most ambitious goal given the level to which we have sunk. But he is doing so nonetheless, now offering up a budget that would eliminate those small pockets within the U.S. government that promote depth or real knowledge.
Since word began spreading late last month that the Trump administration’s first draft budget would adopt long-standing conservative proposals for eliminating NEH and similar agencies, people “are living day to day,” said Talana Morton-Smith, vice president of Local 3403, the bargaining unit of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents about half of NEA’s 160-member workforce.