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'Why Educate the Public When You Can Give Billionaires Tax Cuts': Trump Budget Would Slash All Federal Funding for Media, Arts, Libraries, Museums

"We should be spending more, not less," argued one critic

"The robust data... show through hard evidence how and where arts and culture contribute value to the economies of communities throughout the nation," said National Endowment for the Arts chair Jane Chu. (Photo: Getty Images)

Despite new research showing that the arts contribute over $760 billion to the American economy each year—in addition to their many non-economic societal benefits—President Donald Trump's budget proposal calls for eliminating all federal funding for the arts, museums, humanities, public television and radios, and libraries.

"The robust data... show through hard evidence how and where arts and culture contribute value to the economies of communities throughout the nation."
—Jane Chu, National Endowment for the Arts

"For the third time in as many years, the White House has proposed a federal budget that would shutter the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—which supports PBS and NPR—and the Institute of Museum and Library Services," the Washington Post reported on Monday. "Like last year, the plan provides small appropriations for each agency to facilitate its orderly demise."

Framed by the Trump White House as "wasteful or unnecessary spending," the budget's proposed cuts to the arts, libraries, and humanities programs would total $897 million.

Jon Parrish Peede, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), told the Post that the agency will continue operating as normal until Congress takes action on its 2020 funding.

"Since its creation in 1965, NEH has established a significant record of achievement through its grantmaking programs," Peede said. "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."

"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."
—Jon Parrish Peede, National Endowment for the Humanities

While Trump's budget has been deemed "dead on arrival" by Democrats—who control the House of Representatives—cuts to the arts and humanities are another example of the president's warped priorities.

As Common Dreams reported, Trump's budget blueprint would also cut trillions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security while hiking the Pentagon's 2020 budget to $750 billion.

Trump's budget, officially released last week, came just days after a study by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) found that the arts contribute 4.2 percent of America's annual gross domestic product (GDP)—more than agriculture, warehousing, or transportation.

"The robust data... show through hard evidence how and where arts and culture contribute value to the economies of communities throughout the nation," said NEA chair Jane Chu. "The data confirm that the arts play a meaningful role in our daily lives."

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