NEA, NEH, PBS on the chopping block once again

Since my first day at the newspaper 28 years ago, the National Endowment for the Arts — its sibling National Endowment for the Humanities and Corporation for Public Broadcasting — have been under fire.

The only mildly surprising thing about the new administration’s proposed federal budget, which would eliminate these agencies, is that we haven’t seen many public cases made against these entities in quite some time.

During the 1980s and ’90s, there was plenty to brawl about while a generation of self-avowedly subversive artists began to receive federal funds, especially from the NEA. We must have written hundreds of stories on the controversies.

Yet recently, all has been relatively quiet on the federal front. So it’s hard to see the rationale, especially given the amount of money that would be saved.

Here’s a snip of the New York Times story that ran in the American-Statesman today.

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Former Representative Mick Mulvaney, a spending hard-liner, was confirmed as White House budget director on Thursday. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

“The White House budget office has drafted a hit list of programs that President Trump could eliminate to trim domestic spending, including longstanding conservative targets like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.

Work on the first Trump administration budget has been delayed as the budget office awaited Senate confirmation of former Representative Mick Mulvaney, a spending hard-liner, as budget director. Now that he is in place, his office is ready to move ahead with a list of nine programs to eliminate, an opening salvo in the Trump administration’s effort to reorder the government and increase spending on defense and infrastructure.

Most of the programs cost under $500 million annually, a pittance for a government that is projected to spend about $4 trillion this year. And a few are surprising, even though most if not all have been perennial targets for conservatives. …”


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