The Trump administration wants to defund the NEA, NEH and public broadcasting
by Howie Katz
Congress has just returned from one of its frequent breaks. The House is faced with passing a budget to avoid a damaging government shutdown. There are several contentious items that the Trump administration is pushing. One is the building of a wall along the Mexican border. Another is the defunding of subsidies for the arts and humanities.
The Trump administration wants to defund the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) along with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The defunding of NEA and NEH probably would not have been proposed were it not for the “Piss Christ” photograph and the “Tongues of Flame”.
In 1989, contemporary artist Andres Serrano exhibited his “Piss Christ” (Serrano’s title) photograph of a crucifix submerged in a jar of Serrano’s blood and urine. The exhibit was a deliberate attempt by the artist to offend members of the Christian faith. Serrano had received a $15,000 grant for his exhibit from the NEA.
In 1990, the “Tongues of Flame” exhibit by artist David Wojnarowicz consisted of several offensive depictions of Jesus Christ, including one of Jesus “mainlining” heroin by injecting a hypodermic needle into his arm. Wojnarowicz’s exhibit was also funded by the NEA.
I am sure that even someone with half a brain can agree that funding such outrageous and offensive ‘art’ is a terrible waste of the taxpayers’ money. While those creeps Serrano and Wojnarowicz had every right to exhibit their anti-Christian smut, the NEA did not have to dole them the funds to do it. But is that any reason to defund the federal subsidies to the arts and humanities?
As for public broadcasting, conservatives are angry with the far-left slant some of its programs have taken on, and well theyshould be. But those leftie programs constitute only a small part of public broadcasting. For the most part the public radio and TV programs are very informative on a great variety of subjects.
The reasons given for defunding the NEA, NEH and public broadcasting is to help slash the federal deficit. Well and good. But is defunding the three programs really going to cut down on the deficit? Let’s look at the appropriations in the 2016 federal budget:
All appropriations except for the NEA, NEH and public broadcasting: $3.899 trillion
NEA: $148 million. That is 0.003 percent of the total spending.
NEH: $148 million. That is 0.003 percent of the total spending.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting: $445 million. That is 0.01 percent of the total spending.
So there you have it. Cutting the funding for the NEA, NEH and public broadcasting will have absolutely no effect on the federal deficit.
Because those programs do far more good than harm, I’m for continuing to subsidize them.
Howie Katz is a former law enforcement officer and retired criminal justice professor. In 1969 he founded the Texas Narcotic Officers Association. He currently resides in Houston, Texas. You can see more of his writing at http://barkgrowlbite.blogspot.com and http://theunconventionalgazette.blogspot.com.
Cypress Texas Tea Party says
Do you realize the following:
– The government doesn’t have the revenue to support funding of these programs, (yes, this same argument can be made for ANY federal program).
– The federal government has not constitutional authority to participate in any of these programs.
If you dismiss the first point, then why not just reduce our taxes to zero and print more money? Why pay taxes when there is no relationship to revenue and expenditure?
If you dismiss the second point, then I say there is not constitutional REQUIREMENT for the federal government to participate in these programs, so let’s just decide not to……….
fat albert says
Howie, you’re looking at it the wrong way. We are BORROWING 3/4 of a BILLION dollars a year to fund these three programs. Sure, in the overall scheme of things maybe that’s not a lot, but it’s money that our kids and grand kids ad infinitum will be paying back with interest. If they were crucial to our country’s core needs, then maybe. But there are plenty of private funding entities for art and TV.
This isn’t crucial, it’s not necessary, and frankly, if we can’t even agree to stop funding something as minor and unnecessary as this, how are we ever going to actually get our budget under control?
If idiots like Serrano and Wojnarowicz can’t get private funding for their “art” then perhaps they need to explore another field. Given their artistic predilections, I’d suggest sewer repair.
As for NPR – There are literally hundreds of channels of TV available on cable and satellite (not to mention on-line sources) they all manage to find a way to pay for programming and airtime. CPB can surely do the same.
I agree with Trump, Howie, and Fat Albert.
Kevin F says
“So there you have it. Cutting the funding for the NEA, NEH and public broadcasting will have absolutely no effect on the federal deficit.”
Not true it will reduce the deficit by $741 million. I have never been a fan of the whole small percentage of the budget argument, wasted money is wasted money.
“Because those programs do far more good than harm, I’m for continuing to subsidize them.”
1) You didn’t really list any good things that come from the money 2) When determining whether the program should be funded, we shouldn’t look at whether or not it does more “good than harm”. The determining factor should be whether or not it serves an essential function of the federal government and is it an efficient use of tax payer’s money.
Fred Flickinger says
Obviously cutting these programs won’t solve the budget deficit, but if we can’t cut a $148 million program, can we cut anything?
Ann Lee says
I agree with Trump. We should cut funding these programs.Ann Lee
neither here nor there says
While I agree that every thing should be reduced or cut, I am so old that all that would happen is that the scoundrels both R and D will find other ways to spend it.
I would suggest that the elected salaries and staff expenses be the first to be cut so that they can show how they are also willing to sacrifice.
David Jennings says
Gotta disagree with you on this one Howie. Kevin is right about the essential question.
A bit of cognitive dissonance between the picture and the post!
Daniel James says
Dan Lan says
>> But is that any reason to defund the federal subsidies to the arts and humanities?
Yes. Those two in and of themselves are sufficient justification to either fire everyone involved or – if they are given cover – to nuke the programs. You forgot to mention the Loveland oral sex Jesus or the Madonna coved in dung. We do not know how many other abuses there are. Those who spend our public monies to insult us should be ruthlessly fired; for being arrogant if nothing else.
If NPR and CPB were other than redundancies of the left wing media centers you might have a point.
Have they ever covered the Houston Rodeo? The Santa Fe Zozobra? Any cultural event in flyoverland?
Nuke ’em. And the congressmen who spend our money to insult us too.