A terrible time for America, according to millions of Americans, Trump has just been inaugurated as the President of the United States. One major thing that Trump wants to do? Budget cuts. And more specifically, cut funding from arts and broadcasting. The current federal budget is about $3.8 trillion, and Trump’s plans to cut into the national debt may include some slashing. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are all expected to have their budgets cut, and in the case of the CPB, it would become privatized.
NEA: The National Endowment for the Arts
Trump feels that the budget cuts would help deal with the current deficit. Trying to cut into the trillions of dollars that the United States has to work with is a tall order. The first thing that he wants to cut from is the National Endowment for the Arts, or the NEA. The NEA is dedicated to promoting the arts to the Americans and providing art education to make American art as great as it can be. It offers grants for things such as art projects, arts education, and fellowships.
Previous controversies included the time it ran into trouble with Christian groups in 1989 (with works including Piss Christ, above), as well as an attempt at abolishing it in 1981.
NEH: The National Endowment for the Humanities
The National Endowment for the Humanities is also under attack. This endowment mainly deals with cultural institutions. Created in 1965, its goals are to provide grants for things such as museums, libraries, and humanities faculties in colleges. There is a strong focus on public programs and education, which is something that America needs.
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Also a concern was Trump’s lack of concern in regards to public broadcasting. He is also proposing to cut funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The CPB has been in existence since 1967, and is best known for PBS on TV and NPR on the radio. Other than that, as you probably know, the rest of the funding from public broadcasting (such as PBS) comes from viewers (like you!).
Why Cut These Government Programs?
So why does Trump want to cut funding from these programs? To save money. However, the amount of money saved, $741 million, is hardly a chunk out of the current US budget of $3.8 trillion. Is this really worth the money? Liberals are outraged that these programs are under threat of being cut. The loss in important pieces of America, including the arts, as well as education, is seen as a major blow to America as a whole. We would be winding the clock back by nearly a hundred years without humanities education, and without art, America would turn into the artless, suppressing, concrete-gray dystopia that we envisioned through literature like 1984.
And in terms of broadcasting, the fact that public broadcasting provides a public service, free from commercial interests, cannot be lost. Educational television and supposedly unbiased news coverage is something that America has lived with for years and cannot be without. The difference from completely commercialized television, full of ads and running programming that is controlled entirely by the rich, is staggering.
The Good News
The good news is that Trump alone cannot to cut them.
The budget offices of the various departments will have the chance to review the proposals, offer feedback and appeal for changes before the president’s budget goes to Congress.
The problem is that the Republicans also control congress. Hopefully, with a bit of discussion, the budget won’t end up looking like like it endured the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. With America looking towards a brighter future, cuts like this will be very difficult to heal.