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Just in: Romney says he’ll kill arts funding

In an advance leak of an interview with Fortune magazine, the Republican candidate says he will eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, ending half a century of modest state support.

[F]irst there are programs I would eliminate. Obamacare being one of them but also various subsidy programs — the Amtrak subsidy, the PBS subsidy, the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases, but I just think they have to stand on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf.

More here.

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  1. Annika Mylläri says:

    I am sure that these amounts together don’t come anywhere close to the amounts spent for arms or rescuing banks after greed destroyed them. What does the average citizen get from that kind of spending? Money talks and humane values not – as always tends to be the case in the Republican camp.

    • Ed Seward says:

      Really? So we are also paying our troops with borrowed Chinese cash? So then we should perhaps cut down on the defense spending?

      • What she’s saying is that eliminating funding for the arts will come NOWHERE close to closing the deficit, since it accounts for .0009% of government spending. All it will really do is take away yet another service to our culture and community while Wall Street and Capitol Hill run rampant.

        • “What she’s saying is that eliminating funding for the arts will come NOWHERE close to closing the deficit, since it accounts for .0009% of government spending. All it will really do is take away yet another service to our culture and community while Wall Street and Capitol Hill run rampant.”

          So, since we can’t do it in one fell swoop we should not try at all?

          • I believe the term is “penny wise and pound foolish”. We look to already under-funded programs that cost a comparable pittance while ignoring the sucking wound in our economy that is defense spending.

          • Did Romney also suggest in this interview that we stop giving $10 Billion dollars a year to subsidize the oil industry? I doubt it. The tax money is there IF WE BUILD THE MIDDLE CLASS. As a country, we get to choose the leaders that reflect our values to spend that money wisely. Education and arts funding is an investment that pays off for everybody. It’s one of the dumbest cuts you can make.

        • You need to remember that statiscally one of the best way to move children out of poverty is to have art instruction in school. I know those of us who support ourselves in the arts will find that ironic but the pride and sense of accomplishment works

          • Barbara Soloski Albin says:

            I taught art, through the Getty Art Institute in the Los Angeles Unified School District – 1st – 5th and the program went so well. Language problems were never a barrier and even the children with some learning disabilities did wonderful, sometimes even better. Art and music are so important for children, and adults. Also I can not live without PBS Miystery!

        • Benjamin Cook says:

          Soooo…. let me get this right. Because doing the right thing only amounts to .0009 of the total we should not do the right thing?

          So exactly what is the metric where we begin to do the right thing? What percentage?

          Also, who says the only way to pay for Art programs is the Federal government? Perhaps these passionate pleas could be directed towards noble ends rather than just begging from more Federally borrowed funds!

          • Turtle love says:

            It’s not that Benjamin. YES we should take cuts wherever we can. But we’re talking about programs that the U.S. Government has been borrowing from for years. NOT those who set up the programs. The GOVERNMENT set these borrowing practices in place. So okay, if things are cut across the board in way of diminishing the amount borrowed, that’s one thing. But I can tell you now that schools and PBS lovers are NOT going to sit idly by while these programs are just made to “disappear”.

            Don’t get mad at “us”, all the people, simply because the GOVERNMENT decided to borrow money instead of coming out years ago and telling it’s people, “look we’re in trouble, here’s where the problem is….we need everyone to help cut these borrowed amounts.”
            In other words take SOME away from ALL borrowed funding monies. Don’t just obliterate programs that are truly for the edification AND education of our children and many adults also.

            As for Romney? I say let him keep opening his mouth and inserting his foot. Every time he does he just loses more and more possible votes. he’s an idiot. Another Sarah Palin who talks out the side of his mouth with no knowledge in his brain. let him kill himself off in the race. Makes it easier on all of us.

      • No, She’s saying that this is like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt bottle. Even with 10 million squirt bottles all squeezed at the same time, its not gonna stop the fire. The answer isn’t cutting spending. The answer is more revenue. Taxing the top 1% heavier than they currently are, ending the bust tax cuts, yes, cutting defense spending, invest in the middle class(Since we are the ones doing most of the purchasing of the big corporations products.) All of these things might make a dent in the national debt. All of this will make the middle class stronger. The more money we have, the more money we spend, the more money the rich people make. Speaking as a performer in community theatre, I can say that the arts enrich both the young, and the old. It educates. It helps us grow as a society. Cutting funding of the arts does not help anything, ever, period. You may think it serves no purpose, but the clothes you wear? Art. The music you listen to on the drive to work? Art. Your favorite TV show? Art. The concerts you went to when you were in college with your friends? Art. Just because you lost the ability to see that there is more to life than work, work, and more work(I’m talking about Mitt Romney) doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t get a very real satisfaction from performing it and watching it. This is nothing but sticking it to the people who won’t vote for him.

        • Annika Mylläri says:

          Love it, how you stated what I meant – exactly this. A SQUIRT BOTTLE to the forest fires. Fully agree on everything you wrote.

        • Yup. If only people would realize that Mitt Romney and the like will drive us into dystopia if they have their way.

      • Gee…maybe instead of cutting the subsidies for things that need it, and benefit us, how bout we cut the subsidies to the corporations that are making billions of dollars a year in profit. Such as…oh, I don’t know…the oil companies. If you really want to start whittling away at this “frivolous” government spending, how bout hit the spots where its actually NOT needed. Oh, that’s right…cause they give you kickbacks. What was I thinking?

    • I have a story. In Miami, in 1986, me and some very hardworking idealistic arts enthusiasts put together the Bakehouse Arts Complex. It was an artist incubator and we noted out studio spaces cheaply. It was located in a district of Miami called Wynwood, a poor, dirty and dangerous neighborhood. The NEA helped us, the City of Miami Helped us, Dade County helped us with modest grants. After the artists had rented from us for 5 years they had to move out and give up their space to make room for someone else. The artists who moved out started opening their own galleries nearby. The artist colony grew, slowly. Now, 26 years later, Wynwood is a thriving area, property values have increased, other businesses had a chance to flourish. Now it’s an important part of Miami. We couldn’t have done it without the grant seed money, a ton of hard work and dedication. So Romney is demonstrating his total ignorance of how artistic communities enrich the economy. And I’ll bet my bottom dollar that the only reason he contributes to charity is to assure himself a nice little spot in Mormom Heaven!

      • you are my hero Tim, at 13 I became a volunteer art teacher at a city funded recreation center, I stayed there for three years because I unfortunately needed a job. The way those children looked up to me and the things I taught them I know will never leave them, today 5 years later, many of those children stop me in the street to say hello to show me their sketches and tell me that even though they didn’t have art class in school they were glad to have it in after school. Now some are entering high school and their portfolios look amazing. I am not saying I was the best art teacher, but without that encouragement and that CITY FUNDED program, they wouldn’t be there because they never thought they could have. So there is another example of how it affects the general population when you take away important programs.

        • BullMoose says:

          Bravo to both of you, Tim and Samantha. And what the bean counters fail to see is the huge payback of both of your investments. In the case of the city funded after-school art program, the benefits are far greater than just the art you taught them. Where else would they have been at that time? What trouble might they have gotten into? With that little bit of self-confidence and self-worth gained from that art program, how many youngsters had the inner strength to say “no” to negative influences that would have landed them in jail, at far greater expense to the city and state? I caught part of an interview on NPR recently about a woman author who said she didn’t know where she would have ended up were it not for her school program in theatre arts. She had begun smoking and drinking at an early age, but she fell in love with her school’s theatre program and then no longer had the time or desire to get in trouble. We will never know how many lives are “saved” by something as simple as an after-school art program. The value in dollars is potentially equal to the cost of life imprisonment for a high percentage of many of those kids. The true value is immeasurable. When art of any sort thrives, so does the community, in so many ways. I feel sorry for those who cannot see this, as they have obviously never experienced it themselves first-hand. And I feel sorry for the rest of us, because the bean counters in life vote–but we can too!

          • Bullmoose, it is NOT the “bean counters” that are threatening to make these cuts. It is a political move made by a man with NO IDEA about deficients, debts, and funding by foreign investers. (I’m interpreting “bean counters” as bureaucrats in the federal government. If you mean someone else, perhaps you should use a different term.)

      • Amen Tim! That is the story of so many theatres around the country and what they have done for their communities.

      • Millicent Borges Accardi says:

        Many of the people who want to cuts arts FIRST do not understand its pure money-earning capacity. While arts are perceived by some as “frivolous” The arts are actually, in many cities, the biggest tourism draw AND the biggest source of employment. Take New York, for example: their biggest revenue is the arts: Broadway, Museums. Concerts. Many small theaters that were first sponsored by the NEA blossomed into larger theaters that employ hundreds of workers. Tourism IS big business and MOST tourism draws are arts-related. No one flies to NYC to :take in the view of an engineer’s office!

      • When is the voter registration deadline in Florida? That’s the state of hanging chad fame is it not?

    • If the Government is financially broke – where will the money come from? This country is looking financial collapse in the face – cuts will have to be made to right the ship or it will sink. Medicare will become insolvent in 2024, Social Security 2028 if changes are not made.

      • Priscilla says:

        Excellent point. That IS the problem. SOMEONE has to make a sacrifice, and it’s going to be all of us. If we don’t all sacrifice a little now, we’ll all be forced to sacrifice a LOT later.

      • Richard, Wallstreet and financial sector recorded record profits this year. If we ended corporate welfare and returned the tax rates to where they were during the Clinton administration along with closing the loop holes that the ultra wealthy use to avoid paying their share (and pursuing off-shore accounts as the felony tax evasion they are) we would be well on our way to solving our problems. Then end the war and cut defense spending by a quarter of the ridiculous amount we spend and we’re there. Solvency. But maybe the GOP is right. I’m sure if we cut taxes for the wealthy even further, raise them on the middle class and cut any programs that aid or improve life for anyone that makes less than six figures and everything will just magically work out.

        • Sean Hellems says:

          How about we raise YOUR taxes?

          • Sure, raise my taxes – just as soon as the top 1%, including Romney, are all paying at least the same tax rate on ALL their income that my middle class self with no off-shore accounts pays on what I earn at my job.

          • Will B. Young says:

            Sean – unless you’re among the 1% I asume that you are suggesting that we raise your taxes as well. You actually think we should raise taxes on poor and middle class folks instead of requiring corporations and the ultra rich to pay their fair share? Or maybe we should cut services to poor and middle class folks and keep providing billions in subsidies to already profitable corporations? Any chance you recently decided to stop taking your medication?

    • Pat Kaufman says:

      A civilized nation funds the arts. Are we a civilized nation or are we desiring and designing to be dime store cowboys.? Scarey.

    • Jann House says:

      Annika, you say “I am sure that these amounts together don’t come anywhere close to the amounts spent for arms or rescuing banks after greed destroyed them. What does the average citizen get from that kind of spending?”
      1) You get to live, unlike thousands of people who live in countries with little or no defense against threats internal or external. Those people often end up in mass graves dug by the very armies who should be there to protect them but instead work for the dictator du jour of that country. Our “arms” are held and used by the most fabulous, respectable and worthy armed forces that have ever existed. 2) You get to post on forums such as this your opinions whether they comport with those of your government and fellow citizens or not, without worrying about whether someone will come in the night, take you away and chop off your pretty little head.

      I’ll take that over government-funded “art” any day of the week.

      Banks: I’m not concerned about their greed, but I also was never a fan of bailing them out. I felt the free enterprise system should and could have handled that situation.

      • Sorry, but you have bought the propaganda hook and sinker.
        The US doesn’t even need 50% of it’s current “defense” budget to be secure and safe.
        And respectable your armed forces are not so much (anymore). They have done quite a bit of disrespectful things in the past decades. And there is nothing “fabuolous” about sitting in an airconditioned office in Nevada with an joystick and killing civilians in Pakistan with a button click.
        What could make you see the reality actually? Do you want to see the reality even?

        • Paul D. Sullivan, Arlington/Boston US says:

          hat you sat is absolutely true. There is nothing better I’d like to see than remove our our forces from all foreign soil and shut down all the bases there also. We have far more pressing need for the money to be spent here. We should reduce our military expenditure on a par with other European nations. We were warned by President Eisenhower at the end of his term to “beware of the military industrial complex” but it went unheeded, and he was a 4 star General involved in the European conflict. We don’t need Raptors, we don’t need 12 massive nuclear carriers, ballistic submarines, a huge expensive Navy it’s all a waste of money. Our time as a super power is rapidly coming to a close and it’s time we abandoned the ridiculous support of wealthy oil soaked middle eastern emirates, dictatorships, Iraq, Afganistan (the Taliban will agian be in power as soon as we leave, it’s hopeless), let Japan and Korea take care of their own sphere of influence. Corrupt politicians and greedy corporations are the current cause of our pursuit of horrible foreign wars, sacrificing young folks in our military and tarnishing the nations reputation. We could save billions if not trillions of dollars if we did so and invest in our own country. Let the EU, China or Russia police the world.

  2. In other words, things that are public goods shouldn’t be funded, only things that benefit his fat-cat friends in the 1%.

  3. Norman, I think “micro” instead of “modest” support would be more appropriate.

    2011 FY NEA budget was 155 million.

    That’s just about the cost of ONE F-22 Raptor jet fighter (150 million). The overall program cost over 66 billion, and they still can’t get the thing to fly right. Now DoD wants a new model!

    The Republicans have been trying since the Reagan years to kill the NEA pittance. It’s the usual political talk here about cutting the budget using items that don’t amount to a drop in the world’s oceans.

    • Excellent points. Thank you.

      Also, to a philistine like Romney, all “arts” are “entertainment”. There is no cultural heritage. The world was created by Joseph Smith in a Colorado canyon.

      • Bethany Stiles says:

        Excellent point. Arts and Entertainment may be a section of the paper, but the two terms are not interchangeable

      • Well put musiker

      • “Well put” The comment was ignorant and totally misses the point of the argument. Music, art, and dance have always been an important part of Latter-Day Saint culture. Latter-Day Saints do not believe Joseph Smith created anything (also he never went to Colorado, so I can’t even imagine where that is coming from). The argument isn’t about Romney being a philistine, or a Mormon. The argument is about the role of the federal government. The point is that while the arts are important and serve an important purpose, they don’t belong in the federal budget. A “well put” argument would address these issues, not make personal attacks.

        • “The point is that while the arts are important and serve an important purpose, they don’t belong in the federal budget.”

          Why not?

        • I agree that personal attacks are not necessary, but they happen, mostly because this decision by Mr. Romney is more ignorant than the comment. Without the arts, America would be a very bland place. And to address the issue, cutting arts funding doesn’t solve the our debt issues. Nor does giving more tax breaks to the rich. Personally (on another note), I am tired of people saying they would avoid paying taxes if they could, and in the same breath proclaiming how patriotic they are. There should be better budgeting and regulation, but taxes aren’t meant to hurt the country, they are supposed to be collected in order to provide services for its citizens. The role of the federal government is quite expansive, and it would be dull of you to think that the arts are not worthy of funding. Artists pay taxes too, by the way. And, with all due respect, if you truly believe that cutting government funding for the arts will help anything and is a worthwhile move, you DO NOT believe the arts are important.

          • Amen, my brother! Artists not only pay taxes, they stimulate the private sector when they have jobs. Artists need paint, canvas, brushes, chisels, and many more supplies than I can list here (because I’m a musician and not a painter or sculptor). Musicians need instruments, reeds, strings, rosin, valve oil, cork grease, linseed oil, pitch pipes, tuning forks, staff paper, computer software, conducting batons, sheet music, recording equipment, and on and on, all of which are available in the private sector, and the manufacturing and sale of which provide jobs for other people. Artists don’t sit around on our fannies with our heads in the clouds; we do real material work for which we need real material equipment. And beyond that, artists are the people who remind us that human beings are capable of more than war and killing. We are capable of beautiful and noble works; society needs to be reminded of this more than ever these days. And artists are in the business of truth-telling, which is also desperately needed right now. Destroy the arts (which you do if you take away funding) and you destroy civilization.

          • I believe the Romney plan wants to REDUCE not cut or eliminate funds from the government to ensure that there will money for our future and our children’s future. And we will continue to get funds from the private sector people who are more financially stable than us “starving artists”. I don’t know about other artists but 99% of my paintings are bought by people who are in a much higher tax bracket than myself.

            All I know is I don’t have jealousy towards folks who are financially better off than myself, it’s more like “if I paint for 12-15 hours a day instead of 8 maybe that will get me further along than where I am now. I hope to achieve the 1% status through my art so then I too can support the arts even more.

        • Elyse Morris says:

          Emily, I cannot fathom how you can say that the arts “do not belong in the federal budget”. The arts and economy are intertwined. Where there are viable healthy and flourishing communities, the arts are always present. Who do politicans, community members, businesses, etc call when natural disasters strike to raise national or global funds for relief through concerts, workshops, showacses?—the artists. The artists bring money into cities, economies and nations—-urban sculptures, neighborhood murals, ballet theatres, Broadway/musicals, the opera, philharmonics, plays, innovative architecture. This is the fabric of the human experience. Should we not fight for a better quality of life/existence because we don’t want to pay a little extra for a WORLD of difference. Art takes kids off the streets, gives them hopes and dreams, bridges cultures and creates global partnerships, allows you to think critically, creatively and makes one a greater asset to their community. We need to start investing in people because that is what makes an economy flourish.

          • Spot On Elyse!

            Another way to say it. No 5 year old grows up wanting to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. They don’t know about money. They don’t CARE about money. They want to fight fires. They want to catch criminals. They want to dance. They want to walk on the moon. All too soon real life catches up to them and they are forced down the road of adulthood. They have to get good grades. Fine. They have to get into college. Great. They have to get a good job… doing what? What society has deemed worthy? College costs a lot of money and far too many kids can’t even get a job in the field that they went for. So they get a job that pays the bills. And thats what they end up doing for the rest of their lives. Paying the bills. Those of us who never lost that aspiration to reach the stars should be commended in the world we live in. Taking away the 155 Million dollars won’t do anything but hurt the children and adults who are trying to make their lives about something more than paying the bills.

        • Zykra Cosmos says:

          “The point is that while the arts are important and serve an important purpose, they don’t belong in the federal budget.” WOW!! You just made Cuba and Venezuela’s socialist governments look supremely more interested in their general populace than the person who wants to lead the free American society. By the way- we just performed in Caracas with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Venezuela and the experience was magnificent. I don’t think Americans are ready to give up the arts just yet, to spare billionaires from returning to their fair share of taxes.

        • Leo Strauss says:

          Commercial music aims at the lowest common denominator in culture. That’s a tidal wave of Tsunami-like proportions that didn’t take hold until the middle of the last century. The art you get isn’t art at all. It’s incumbent upon the Government to reinforce a higher standard, whether it be cultural, educational or philosophical. The stuff that the marketplace supports will always be there, the stuff that transcends the time of it creation won’t without some institutional support. It was true in 1044, 1366, 1776 and it’s true now. The only difference is Religion isn’t the only caretaker, which is a step AWAY from a second Dark Age. Ante up. And go back to school. This time don’t go to an online degree mill. : – )

        • I guess the difference is I like government. I like the military protection, clean food and water, roads, bridges and the arts. I like NPR because it is not funded by commercials and so can tell us the truth. I don’t mind paying taxes to get these and countless other benefits. The Constitution says: To promote the general welfare. Without these things, without paying fair taxes and without ‘strangled in the tub’ government, we will spiral down into anarchy, and countless societies have taught us these lessons. You get nothing for nothing. If you don’t want to pay taxes for good government then you’ll get tooth and claw and only the strongest survive the riots. Ever wonder why guns and ammo sell like hotcakes? Anarchy is coming and people know it in their gut and see it growing while the country is divided between the 1% haves and getting more and the 99% having less and less.

          • Anarchy need not come. Armed revolution is unnecessary in America if people grasp what their form of democracy is about.

            Democracy works when people get involved. The single most important thing to do is get disenfranchised people who are eligible to be registered voters REGISTERED. Once they’re registered, most of them will want to exercise their right (“I’ve registered, I might as well vote”): it follows naturally.

            Nothing is more important than this. Find out the deadlines for each state, and network, network, network. Get people doing common-or-garden legwork: the exercise will be good for them anyway. One person can do little. One person can be, and feel, powerless. But one person is not a nation. A nation is a collection of individuals. And in democracies, they can exercise the right to vote, if people are astute enough to empower them.

            Be under no illusion. Oligarchic processes depend on the bulk of people feeling powerless, and in democracies, not bothering to become registered voters. This is where the real campaign is to be held, and Republicans know it far better than Democrats, who seem to consistently miss the point, while struggling to play according to strategems set by their opponents!! Hel-lo?!.

      • It wasn’t a Colorado canyon. Don’t put that on my fine state. We were a short stop on their long pilgrimage fleeing the eyes of the federal government. Blame New York’s canyons! :) Good point as well about Art vs. Entertainment. Art enriches, entertainment dulls.

    • Amy Patrick says:

      Great points… do you mind if I quote you?

    • Oboist, Organist, and Pianist says:

      I understand your point, but I am sure glad we have F-22 Raptors. Let’s not be naive.

      • TweedleDeeThinkAgain says:

        @Oboist, Organist, and Pianist

        Who’s the naive one? The F-22 Raptor has NEVER BEEN USED. It’s a giant $66bn F*@&ing PAPERWEIGHT!

      • Naivete isn’t at work here. the f-22 Raptors don’t work. I had a car that didn’t work once, and I certainly wasn’t glad to have it.

  4. It,s called economics. You don’t keep spending when you are out of money. Its not brain surgery.

    • There is a difference between spending and investing. Giving money to arts is mostly an investment. Giving money to the shareholders in the military-industrial complex is mostly spending.

      It’s about investing in culture. Without culture a country is a collective of consuming apes. Apes with nukes, in the case of the US…
      Sorry apes.

      • Not to mention children who spend time learning things like music and theater have been proven to score more highly on certain types of other academic work (such as reading comprehension and math). By forfeiting these things we are cutting off our nose to spite our face. Put a band-aid on an economic crisis in the future and hope it will be enough to benefit our children when they enter a world where a wide variety of other countries are more learned and competent then they are.

        • Candice LeDoyen says:

          I really wonder where my beautiful 18 year old daughter would be right now if she had not been accepted in the Governor’s School for the Arts in Southeastern Virginia. The public school system was failing her (not in grades, but in expanding her mind) which is hard for me to say, because I am a public school teacher. She is on her way to The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn…and, as I say, I fear for where she would have been had the arts not saved her.

      • Funding the arts isn’t really an investment that furthers the interest of the US as a whole. At least not compared to investing in STEM fields. Romney has expressed support for STEM, which makes sense in a struggling economy. STEM fields are direct investments in this country’s future. Sorry, but being good at reciting scripts or painting pictures doesn’t translate into starting hi-tech companies that employ thousands or pioneering in a new technology that gives the US a competitive edge. Is the US fails in the technology sector, then the economy is gone. Is the US fails in the arts sector then….there is pretty much no discernible adverse effect to our economy and labor force.

        Honest question: For those of you who oppose reducing government funding for the arts, do you think it should be increased? What’s the appropriate government-funded budgets that these institutes should have?

        • You clearly don’t understand the importance of art for the human condition, for education and development of the mind.
          Many of the greatest scientists were musically very active. Einstein played violin.
          Music and general arts education should be supported in schools BIG TIME. It creates creative minds, and creative minds will excel in the sciences and run innovative businesses.

          Unfortunately your line of thinking is typical for the US, where art and the general humanistic ideal of education in art and the sciences equally never really arrived in the frontier bandwagons.

          • I’ve long been an advocate for making STEM a STEAM initiative combining arts and technologies. Arts teaches us critical thinking and how to think outside the box. These are critical skills for any future inventor, engineer and scientist!

          • You’re responding to a point I never made. I’m not saying the arts don’t matter and should not be appreciated. I’ve been playing guitar for 8 years, but at no point did I think it merited federal funding. Do you think athletes should receive federal funding? Sports are just as valuable as art as far as teaching valuable lessons to children. But it’s simply not the role of government to be funding these things (at least not in a time of economic hardship). I 100% advocate private institutions who fund the arts. I praise their efforts to give children an opportunity to live out their passions, especially underprivileged children.

            But this isn’t something that should be receiving this level of funding from the gov’t. There’s a difference between what I advocate and what you accuse me of.

            Again, what do you believe is the appropriate level of gov’t funding that the arts deserve?

          • Ah yes, nothing like a steam driven economy. Spike Milligan would have been most impressed.

        • As someone whose first degree was in the culinary arts and had, unsuccessfully, tried to learn how to play the clarinet as a child, I can testify that the arts have accomplished two major results: it has allowed for the increased creativity and ability to think in multiple dimensions at once ( I am able to look at different viewpoints at once). Secondly, I am close to completing a Masters in Food Science under the top world class starch scientist in the world. My projects include developing a healthy alternative to current food products on the market. This will result in 3 published papers. How did I accomplish this? The Arts. It allowed for the interaction between art and science. To make radical leaps in ideas, formulations and, “seeing” the multiple next steps in scientific terms. There is a difference in being a strict scientist and using the arts within this realm. I have the utmost respect for the scientists and artist out there. Innovation includes the arts, in the creativity that is required to make these leaps, to see outside the realm of what is possible and to figure out how to make it work.

          Besides, the Arts add a richness to life that education can never touch.

          • CSM thinks that funding the arts is just handing out free money to artists. He completely misses the point that a nation’s arts and culture are its true legacy, help to contribute to social stability, health and well-being of a community (both of which save money), and that the tiny amount invested in arts and culture actually drives the generation of literally billions of dollars into the largerer economy.CSMShould visit the website of Americans for the Arts, and get educated about the huge return that a small investment in the arts makes in the U.S.

      • Chris Sandvick says:

        Robbing money from Peter to pay Paul isn’t an “investment”. With a lot of modern art it is rather undistinguishable from any other politicians scam. And much as I love the Opera, “Car Talk” and “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”, they shouldn’t get a dime of tax payers money. Somehow I think this would be an easier argument if people understood that the shoe could end up on some other, social conservatives, foot, and “culture”being defined as state sponsored mega-churches (or pick some other SoCon cultural event that gives you the heebie-jeebies).

    • georgeWdidit says:

      lol, the amount of money he’ll save from this is inconsequential. This is the type of things rethuglicans do because they hate anything liberal and thugs see no value in art. it will feel good to them to get rid of that “liberal sissy crap” but they wont have helped fix the economic chaos they created by 1 percent. They will still have to deal with the real causes of the problem (hint, letting billionaires pay 13 percent in taxes and squeezing people who make less than 30 grand until they go bankrupt and can’t buy your products is NEVER going to work)

    • MIchael, I have good news for you that you will be thrilled about!

      Every dollar that the NEA spends returns 7 dollars in consumer spending and economic activity. Arts spending is a tremendous boon to the economic health of any given community, both in terms of attracting businesses and stimulating consumer spending. It creates jobs, furthers education, and draws more attendees than sports.

      But don’t take it from me, take it from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

      You mention economists and brain surgeons. Go to a symphony concert, I guarantee that you will run into many economists and brain surgeons there, who will be happy to assure you that this type of spending is worth it.

    • @michael – You don’t keep spending when you are out of money? Welcome to the United States – you must be new here.

      • BullMoose says:

        Economics 101, Erik. Prime the pump in good times so you have a safety net in bad. Unfortunately, the former surplus was blown on 2 unfunded wars and lining the pockets of certain politicians and their cronies (yes, a few people made it rich on those wars). As contrary as it may seem, for a government, hard time are precisely when MORE stimulus is needed, not less. When people are out of work is precisely when they NEED that government most. Laying off more people is not how to boost the economy of the country. It does, however, boost the “economy” of certain individuals and their corporations/banks. The more people laid off, the less the government collects in taxes, the fewer people who have money to spend in the economy, and the worse it gets. As Nobel prize economist Paul Krugman says, “Hire back all the teachers, policemen and other public servants” as the first step to stimulate the economy. Funding of the Arts has been proven to be one of the most cost effective and beneficial ways to boost the economy. The facts say so.

      • @ Erik. A favourite line of mine back in the 1970s when I drove a Ford Escort van, was that as the petrol gauge got closer to “E for Enough”, I should drive faster so that I’d get to where I was going before I ran out of fuel. Your point (which applies to other economies in the world) seems analogous to this.

    • Why don’t you go read some Krugman. We couldn’t possibly cut enough to make a difference without a better economy, and the way to get that is to stimulate, stimulate, stimulate. The deficit only matters as a percentage of gnp. Obama didn’t quite have the guts (or the votes) to stimulate enough, is all. Krugman predicted this consequence. In 2008, 09, 10, 11, and now. You austerity fairies (or whatever he calls you) just want there to be enough economic suffering for somebody to pay attention to your Jeremiads.

      • Are you saying we need to spend more? The stimulus packages so far were not enough and we need to do more?

        • It’s primarily not about how much you spend. It’s about what you use it for. If you throw it out of the window, funnel it to your banking and MIC cronies and masters, store it in offshore tax heavens, or if you invest it wisely for the benefit of all the people.
          Using a lot of money for good education, arts and the sciences, is a wise investment AT ANY TIME, economic crisis or boom, because it gives the highest return of investment possible.
          The humongous amounts of money spent for theses silly wars the US engages in, is on the other hand simply wasted form the taxpayers POV. Or even worse, it damages the country, it’s international reputation, it’s attraction for foreign investment, for foreign talent to immigrate etc.

    • Finally, someone gets it, Michael, thank you… was waiting for someone to use their brains. When your 15 trillion dollars and rising in debt, when you have 8.3 national average in unemployment, when the costs of everything rise by the second, cuts have to be made. Painful cuts. It might not suite your wishes if you love the arts, but we are in a really bad way if all of you have not noticed. There will be no arts at all if the country goes bankrupt. it costs the federal government 850,000,000,000 to run every 8 days. The money is not there, so guess what ? the american people might have to feel the pain and loss becasue of living above their means and voting in an idiot. I love PBS too, but i love my family and my country enough to understand that it might have to get worse before it gets better. WE might have to lose some things to gain. Now all of you can jump on this with fists flying i don’t care. The facts are this, There will be no programs soon if we don’t get someone in who can fix instead of sugar coat. Fancy words, artsy speeches don’t help the millions of Americans put food on their tables. Maybe the very weathly 1%ers who are actresses and actors can help keep their passion alive by donating some of their wealth to the arts programs. 13,000,000 or more to act in a movie, is disgusting.

      • If it really takes 850 billion dollars to run the federal government every eight days, and the annual sum paid to the NEA is about 150 million, than the NEA takes less than two minutes to pay for over an entire calendar year.

        But then I think your budget number is wrong, that would put our federal budget annually at almost 39 trillion dollars.

        Look at some real numbers and then get back to us.

      • When actors and actresses and musicians get paid a lot of money, they don’t do it by outsourcing jobs and dismantling American businesses to make a profit like Mr. Romney has done. The arts don’t rob people of they’re jobs, and only enrich the well being of the people, provide jobs, and provide education. For the sake of your argument, take away all the music and movies, the tv shows, the theater, paintings and drawings…. heck with your logic, why stop there?? Lets try to save money by eliminating funding for books, knock out education too, that might save the country .1%, it will also end a lot jobs and take away a large amount of money of the pockets of Americans. I don’t agree with all of Obama’s politics. But if you think that Mitt Romney is going to save America’s economy, then you are not doing your homework, but then again, according to your “tough cuts need to be made” argument, you don’t need research because cutting that will save a couple extra dollars too, and you can just use your simple math to solve an incredibly complex issue!

      • No, you know what you do Ann? The FIRST thing you do is audit (going ten years back) all of the top money makers who have been enjoying their tax cuts and don’t want them to end. If any of them have not used those tax cuts to create jobs, they must pay back All of that money (and the money it created for them) with interest! After all, that is what that stimulous was for.
        Make it illegal to outsource jobs and hide money in overseas bank accounts. Round up all of the people that lied to us in order to start the Iraq war. After all, THAT is why we are in this mess! Make those people pay back every penny they made (plus interest) from that decision. Put them in a special prison charged with murder and treason. Then DEFUND that prison! That is just the beginning of what we do first. AFTER that we can talk cuts to things that actually make the world a better place. ONLY after that!

        • BullMoose says:

          Are there 2 “Michaels” writing here? There seem to be 2 contrasting viewpoints made by “Michael.” Anyway, I agree with this one (and the one who studied culinary arts)!

        • I concur – but I’m not holding my breath….

      • Do you know how much of the federal budget the arts takes up? Did you know how much of the federal budget military waste takes up? I REST MY CASE.


        The value of the arts is not just cultural. There are Billions of dollars made in the arts, which means more tax revenue and also more revenue for related or adjacent businesses. Let’s look at this on a simplified level: If the NEA gives a theatre $1000, and they put up a production that gets them a net proffit of $10000, then the US Gov gets the tax revenue from that profit. But people don’t just go to the theatre, they buy nice outfits (retail $$, sales taxes, more profits to tax, more jobs), they go to dinner before the show, or drinks after (more profit). And of course the theatre employs carpenters, electricians, costumers, actors, ushers, box office staff etc, whose income is all taxed. Be very careful about advocating cutting spending on the arts because there are a lot more things that go along with it than you see on the surface.

    • Supporting the Arts (yes I mean government support) is good economic policy! The link to the article below explains how government (federal, state or municipal) spending on the arts boosts the economy.

    • Susan Henke says:

      Thank you Michael! I am an artist and I work my ass off to make a living as a painter. I have never taken a dime from the taxpayers. we are in desperate financial trouble in this country and if we don’t start cutting the freebies it will only get worse. The world is in turmoil and in many places the threat of all-out war is very real, hence we need to have a strong military and defense system.

      • The tea party and other fear mongers have done well on you, Susan.

        This thought process is scary. It’s the thought process of fear and terror – batten down the hatches, arm ourselves with guns and everybody better get ready because we’re surrounded by WAR!

        Did you ever take an art class in school? Where did you go to college? What art have you been exposed to in museums? What painters influenced you? Where did they paint, and with what resources? Trust me, Susan, you didn’t spontaneously paint – you needed to be exposed to it and learn it. Somewhere along the way you benefited from this country’s support for the arts.

        We’re not speaking about “freebies.” A freebie would be the subsidies handed to oil companies even though they’re the most profitable companies on earth. A freebie would be Mitt Romney paying no taxes while others do. A freebie would be exempting companies like GM from taxes. Freebies would be subsidies to massive corporate farms while family farms get nothing.

        Music and art in school, music on tv – these are vital to our cultural soul, and provide much more economic and social benefit than they cost – as proven in study after study. Teach a kid to play an instrument and he’s far less likely to pick up a gun. So, if you really think we all should head to a bunker and spend everything we have on the military, how about considering that alternative. It doesn’t seem to me that war ends war, after all. But if that’s the kind of country you want, Susan – a country of fear, armed to the teeth against some unknown enemy, with no exposure to art and music, I’m sorry for you.

        I suggest you look into El Sistema, by the way, which uses music to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, and through them, their society.

        • Excellent response, Janey. Well said!

        • Rubbish! My ahh, understanding is that elephants and chimpanzees and little kiddies can all paint spontaneously in the fashion of Pollack :)

          Military-based economies create a well described positive feedback cycle, commonly called arms races (all arms races are positive feedback cycles, but not all positive feedback cycles are arms races – except by way of occasional analogy in describing what a positive feedback cycle is). The arms industry is huge, with a turnover surpassed, last time I paid attention, only by the pharmaceutical industry. So there is a huge amount at stake in keeping these things going, as whole industries, masses of employment, and indeed economies, rely on them.

          Those who unthinkingly buy into their socialisation and enculturation would do well to read George Orwell’s “1984″ and consider the timeless observations he was making. Nothing about a specific prediction (I remember when 1984 arrived and various commentaries were made on how accurate or not his “predictions” were: talk about not thinking!).

          We see incessantly, throughout history, and before our eyes in the history that we are part of, the fomenting of nationalistic fervor to unite ordinary people behind various leaders – especially around election time in democracies – and in other political systems, when the dominating power is on the ropes or a generational change is afoot (we’ve seen this recently, and I shouldn’t have to tell anyone which countries where).

          Nothing new in this. Machiavelli wrote on this, as have others, although Orwell is memorable. Others may point to even more useful writings. I should note on machiavellianism, that Robert Sapolsky has documented such behaviour in olive baboons. So many of our primate behaviours aren’t that unique. We’re just unique in the degree to which we can cause trouble AND reflect on it – not that it makes any difference in practice, as we witness incessantly over time.

    • Why is the problem always spending? Why do we never discuss the elephant in the room…REVENUE!
      We have been cutting both taxes and programs for years and the problem only gets worse. Tax cuts are the problem. If we want good government we have to pay for it. Sure the military is good but when are we going to wake up to TOO MUCH of a good thing? The F22 Raptor has been tested against all existing fighters and it cannot beat anything out there because it is over designed to do too much and can’t do anything well except take off vertically which uses too much fuel and the craft has to go fuel instead of engaging an (imaginary) enemy.

      • Is there really no media outlet in the US that dares to tell the US citizens the truth, that even with cutting the defense budget in half and with ending some pointless wars, the US would still have a superpower military?
        It seems like the military is a big taboo in that country, sacred. Maybe the new religion over there is militarism? Believe in the almighty military that protects us from all evil? :)

  5. Charles Castleman says:

    Reagan’s Secretary to the Arts (!) (a foreign country?)said “private enterprise will compensate if we eliminate government funding for the arts.” I was there when the heads of giving for Exxon and the Rockefeller Foundation responded to him “Oh no WE will not!!!!”

  6. Charles Castleman says:

    They should stand on their own financially, and so should the military and other such luxuries

    • The arts are not “luxuries”. They are essential for the forward movement of our society. What are luxuries are things such as professional athletes making more money in a year than the average person makes in a lifetime. Physical Education, Arts, etc. are permeation of our society and one of the basic building blocks of modern society from Pythagoras and the ancient Greeks. They cannot survive on their own, because the American people have their priorities wrong and this has bled into and become the reason so many people hate politics.

      • Allison Disher says:

        thank you thank you thank you Shawn.

      • Allison Disher says:

        Art allows people to look at different point of views and in different ways- it trains your mind in a completely different way than any other subject can.
        Being able to see things in multiple ways and consider different points of view (which sadly a lot of people do not do and without knowing it) fuels understanding and compassion as well as culture – a future generation with less compassion and growing crazy military science, power and – from what I have experienced- over competitive nationalism – I don’t even want to think about it.
        I am literally scared for this nation if a potential leader of this country refuses to question his own ideas. I believe he, as well as most politicians have much too much pride, not to mention unnecessary amounts of income that could be much more useful for the government’s spending than money that is necessary for the preservation of our children’s cultural, creative and emotional stability.

      • All human interactions involve politics. That Greek fellow Aristotle characterised man as a zoon politikon, or political animal. There is no use avoiding it and making excuses not to be involved. Society is US. Nations are US. Apathy favours oligarchy. Getting involved can make a difference.

        Circa 1976/77, when I was a teenager, the union pertaining to the industry I was working organised a large scale strike – I forget what for, but probably over pay and conditions, the usual story. Because of my role, I did not need to be in a union, and I was one of those who went to work that day (we weren’t picketed or any crap like that).

        I didn’t agree with the strike, and was saying so in the lunch room. The managing director (David) happened to be in the room and heard me. To my surprise, he responded that the problem with unions as he saw it was that people with moderate views tended not to get involved and speak up, leaving the hardliners to run the show (I wasn’t trying to impress him by the way: I wasn’t afraid to disagree with him, which he appreciated).

        Also during those years, I knew an ex-ambulance driver who when I knew him had his own small furniture removal business (Les). Les was a mild mannered fellow who had good integrity and a very pro-social attitude, but who was not afraid to stand up to a biker gang that was once silly enough to harass his family (he was a good, but fearless man). I recall him telling me of a time when he was in a union meeting, and the hardliners were running the show. He had something to say, and they tried to shut him up. Guess what: he refused to be bullied into keeping quiet, and found a way to say his piece in that meeting. It’s so long ago, I don’t know whether he told me of that before the above incident, or whether it came up by way of discussion of the above incident.

        But I remember Les’ tale, and the point is that this was the very thing that David had noted: the need for moderates to be involved, rather than complain and do nothing, which is what I had been doing, and what I see others doing perpetually.

        It matters not in many instances. In the case of a looming election day, it most certainly does matter.

        Many years later, I remembered the advice of these two fellows, and joined a union in the industry in which I worked. Around the early 2000s, I became involved in union negotiations, and was the moderate voice among all the hoo-hah. Improved pay and conditions were fine by me, but I was buggered if I was going to be part of any bastardry. This led to me, and some colleagues, being involved in negotiating and developing a unique collective bargaining agreement.

    • No, arts should not stand on their own. They never have. Art is not a marketable commodity by definition. Art is an expression of many things, mostly of culture. How much you spend for the arts, time, effort, education, money, is directly related to your level of being cultured.

      Now when the country with one of the highest GDP per capita spends for the arts as much as a third world country (per capita), then we have an interesting dissonance in what we could call civilization.

      • Greg Hlatky says:

        No lessons in “culture” and “civilization” please. Europe has had high levels of spending on the arts and indulged itself for the last century in slaughter and oppression. Even the current democratic interlude – a historical aberration, to be sure – is giving way to technocratic authoritarianism.

        Why, if we’re going to use these criteria one could reasonably come to the opposite conclusion: that low levels of public spending on the arts (as in philistine, anti-intellectual Anglo-Saxon nations) correlate with a more stable polity and greater freedom.

        • Typical logical fallacy. Correlation is not causation. Scandinavian countries enjoy some of the highest public arts funding per capita AND are among the most politically stable and free societies.

          I don’t think a reasonable mind can argue though, that traditionally the arts enjoy a higher public respect and image in “old Europe” than in the “New World”.

          And Asian cultures with their generally high regard for education, have a high interest in culture and arts, which for them is mostly represented in European art.

          It would be nice if we could let go our nationalistic sensitivities and look at the facts.
          Regarding the “slaughter and oppression” we can reserve that for the first half of the 20th century to Europe, and the US doing quite a bit of the slaughtering in the second half. Unfortunately the arts do not directly cause peace, in that regard you are right.

    • Shari Aronson says:

      And, the airlines and the banks and all the other state subsidized industries?

    • canyoureadmusic says:

      Arts education is NOT a luxury! It is quickly becoming a privilege. Think back to the days when children were taught in their homes; their education was built of a balanced variety of subjects, including the arts. Music was an important skill, given that it was one of the only forms of entertainment.

    • When Winston Churchill was asked if the British government should stop funding the arts during wartime he responded, “What do you think we are fighting for?”

    • Shawn, Wanderer, Shari and canyoureadmusic, I think your irony detectors have malfunctioned. Go back and read Charles Castleman’s comment again – all of it.

    • BullMoose says:

      Charles Castleman, as in the violinist?

  7. Mark Powell says:

    What’s so entertaining here is that Mittens places these things in the context of a business model – “stand on their own feet” – with “money borrowed from other countries.” Does he really think selling a Treasury certificate is the only way we fund this stuff? The mind boggles at the shallowness of this man’s understanding of . . . . well. . . . a great deal.

  8. The country is on the road to bankruptcy, and orchestras, concert halls, opera houses, music festivals are folding up all over the place. The conservatives are the only ones willing to reverse what is going on, and bring back a sound economy. If the economy grows, the arts will flourish again.

    • You mean the same conservatives that got us into this mess? They don’t understand the value of anything unless it’s a line item prefixed with a dollar sign.

      • You in no way refuted anything that was said. If that was an attempt to make the case for why the arts should get government funding, then I think Romney has his work cut out for him.

      • You see, here’s the thing. If a factory worker gets laid off, he collects unemployment and eventually finds another job. I am a musician. If I lose my already below-modest sustenance, I go on the street.

        • What’s to stop you from getting another job? You think the factory worker will turn down a job simply because it’s not as good as his old one? NO. He’ll take what he can get. It’s your sense of self-righteous entitlement that would prevent you from getting the next best thing you come across, just because it’s not music related. And I know plenty of full time musicians who somehow…don’t think their work should be funded by the gov’t. It’s not the government’s job to ensure you get the job of your dreams. That’s up to your work ethic and priorities.

          • BullMoose says:

            Nobody is saying that the government should pay artists directly! Where did you get that from, CSM? The NEA helps fund projects and gives matching grants to arts organizations, after they have written detailed proposals stating what the money will be used for. Orchestrally speaking, that usually means the organization has to go raise private funds equal to that “matching grant.” Also, many wealthy donors won’t give to an organization unless there is the backing of something like an NEA grant. It’s not so simple. As a performing musician, I have never received money directly from the federal or state government, but even their meager pittance of support to the NEA has made many of my performances possible. Meanwhile, I have spent more than my fair share of time asking kind folks if they’d “like fries with that,” (although in my case it was actually potato cakes, not fries). I also teach. Yes, that other well-thought-of and highly prized discipline in our society. Lastly, though we have more than our fair share of bills to pay, my husband and I give of ourselves to our students above and beyond. I can’t tell you how many times I have taught for free because the student couldn’t afford it, or given of my time to a school or camp to help young beginners. And I do all this so that my profession can be shat upon by nice folks like you! Lastly, telling “Jordan” to go get another job is way easier for you to say than for him to do.

        • So you get a job doing something else, anything to put a dollar in your pocket. How snobbish that sounds that because you lose your job in some government funded position as a musician that you can’t work anywhere else… Yeah all that musical training really doesn’t have you thinking outside the box now does it?

          And here we go again with the “hypothetical argument” If you’re working legitimately as a musician for someone else (school, company, etc.) and you get “laid off” then you also qualify for unemployment… If you work for yourself then the only way you can lose your job is if you’re lazy.

          Go hustle some gigs, play out in town, busk in the park, etc. Plenty of great musicians do it all the time. I have a very successful musical enterprise and I never got a dime of NEA money or went to any school funded by NEA money. I got tuition assistance because I was a Marine but I think that the private community has and always will support the arts. I’m not all excited about the government spending a bunch of taxpayer money to fund a bunch of slackers so they can sit around and smoke pot and fingerpaint which is why I support private funding of the arts. The government is HORRIBLE at administering programs, tracking money and distributing it without corruption and wasteful administration of the programs. Private enterprise makes sure their money has an impact.

          So even if this is true, which it very well could be untrue based upon the campaigning I’ve seen lately, so he cuts funding to the NEA, I’m willing to bet the people most affected will be the people working at the NEA! Anyway, I’ll be glad to have a president in there with fiscal experience who is wiling to make cuts when we really need it. As a country we’re in a tough fiscal position and we need to make tough decisions to get ourselves out of it. No one is going to help us but us so get ready to grab those bootstraps and pull. Listen for the POP!

          Time to pay the piper. What I’d like to see more importantly is some way for us to punish these criminals who are using our tax dollars like an ATM!!

          • “government funded position as a musician” <- that right there proved your ignorance.

          • You received a subsidy for your education from the U.S. Military, and you’re fine with that. But you have no appreciation for how the extremely small federal and state support for the arts stimulates private enterprise as well as making a valuable investment in education, health, and security for a community. You can’t appreciate the service artists provide because you see service only in terms of doing battle. So it’s ok for your service to be subsidized, but not ok for an artist to receive any support. Typical “I got mine and to hell with everyone else” mindset. I’ve got news for you: artists work harder than anyone I know. No real artist sits around smoking pot and finger painting. We’re the ones who always meet a deadline, becauseyou don’t cancel opening night, or the gallery opening , or the concert. I had an ex- army vet tell me that he thought he was tough until he tried acting in a play. The rehearsal schedule kicked his ass. So, memorize and perform a major Shakespearean role six times a week, get rave notices, or even mediocre ones, and then tell me artists are lazy. You don’t have a clue of what you speak.

    • It’s funny how we had a surplus under a Democrat but huge deficits created by recent Republicans. Also funny how we had an overall loss of jobs under the most recent Republican, but even during the recession that this Republican created, a net gain of jobs under the Democrat who came after.

      Today’s Republicans = deficits and job loss. The real results and facts prove it.

      • That’s ridiculous. You do realize that this surplus you’re talking about came immediately after three republican terms with a republican congress and also while Clinton shut down bases, sold off property and underfunded the military which bit us in the ass when we finally went to war because we had no decent equipment, vehicular armor, body armor, etc.. (but by then of course it was Bush’s fault haha)

        During Clinton’s administration I was a Marine living in a condemned barracks on a Major Marine installation within the US; condemned for asbestos, Marines lived in those barracks my entire 10 years in the Marines.

        This recession has been worsened by this administration and its policies. We are looking at the LONGEST period of time that unemployment has been above 8% and that’s being nice, I mean 8% is just people that are looking for jobs, not people who are off the grid or have some money put away who are not bothering to look and people who have multiple part time jobs. The real numbers are much higher and Obama said “Fire him” if he didn’t turn it around… Guess what, we’re not better off than we were when he came into office. Not by a long shot.

        • Actually, Clinton came in with a deficit and a recession. Two facts that rather undermine the rest of your comment.

          As for the Obama administration worsening the situation, unless you are God or omniscient, you are guessing. In fact, I believe, as do others, that the policies have staved off a depression. Of course, neither one of us can prove it. Still, I distinctly remember predictions of a depression in 2009, along with predictions of numerous huge corporations failing, including our car makers. Glad to see that didn’t happen.

    • BullMoose says:

      James–where were you between 2000 and 2008? The conservatives created the very problems you’re now expecting them to get us out of! Of course, so-called liberals have their share of blame, too. Glass Steagull should never have been cancelled and ought to be re-enacted, but that’s a discussion for another time and place. Yes, the government is running on borrowed money, but the only way to raise money is through taxes, and unemployed people don’t pay much in taxes, and that includes artists! Yes, government can save money by cutting the budgets, but that also usually increases unemployment, which decreases the amount of money in the economy.

  9. The far right has been threatening this for years and it really is a laughing stock. The nation that spends more in its military industrial complex than the next 17 combined contributes less to the arts than the city of Berlin. THAT is the saddest commentary.

    Problem is that the followers (i.e. lemmings) hear this and think that the Republican nominee and subsequent platform are talking vast dollars when it is no more than “chump change.”

    • “The nation that spends more in its military industrial complex than the next 17 combined contributes less to the arts than the city of Berlin. THAT is the saddest commentary.”

      Yet many from that nation never get tired, to call themselves “the greatest nation on earth”, to (better not) pick up on a recent topic here.

      Has anyone seen Romney ever at a classical concert? Or even worse, has he ANY interest for any kind of music? Or is he as dry as a dried fruitcake can be, no interest for the arts whatsoever, except for the “art of tax evasion”?

  10. Eric L Broomfield says:

    What is really sad is how many musicians and artists I know that will vote for Romney. They will vote against their own interests. So sad.

    • This is VERY scary indeed. Republicans don’t seem to learn their lessons when they get “screwed” as Ohio and Wisconsin did last year. Yet, there are still artists, educators, etc. continuing to support the Republican extreme ideas.

    • Stanton Nicholas says:

      I see that in my own circle of friends as well. We’re all government employees (covered by unions), and Mitt has said in several interviews about how he would continue to slice and dice us and take away our collective bargaining rights. Still several of these friends are vocal supporters. It’s hard to fathom, but if he wins and they’re suddenly unemployed it will be on their head, not mine.

    • I know a lot of professional musicians, being one myself. I’d have a hard time finding a Romney supporter among them.

  11. I wonder how many people who are complaining on this list, walk past the donation envelopes and donation boxes, membership desk, as well as throw away literature asking for donations that comes in their mail and email, then go out to eat that night – or even drop by the coffeeshop everyday for a $4.00 coffee. Charity begins at home people!

    • another orchestra musician says:

      Very true, LS. But are we doing anyone a favour by helping transform public elections into a fundraising contest? Education, and open, honest dialogue would seem a better path to take. An exceedingly difficult one, albeit, given our increasingly polarized, echo-chambered electorate, and the willingness of organized religion to encourage the political expression of xenophobia.

    • Charity??? I’m sorry but art is not about charity. Art belong to the cultural essence of a society. You make it sound like art is the handicapped or homeless entity in the society, when it’s actually the creator of civilization, together with science.

    • Lynne Downs says:

      Here, here, LeAnn…exactly…sadly we are nothing if not our hypocrisy…

    • I would wager that most people commenting on this list do indeed contribute greatly to the arts. I don’t know why you would assume otherwise.

    • I like what LeAnn has to say.

    • It’s not charity.

    • Why, in this country of such ridiculous wealth, should we have to choose between a cup of coffee and the chance to go see a Symphony Orchestra?

  12. Derek Bermel says:

    Maybe Romney will be a hero and bail out the N.E.A. singlehandedly. He’d still have a nice chunk of change left over.

  13. Guy Martin says:

    Reading these posts really disappoints me with the mindset of some of the American people. Perhaps most of these posts are simply an emotional response, not well thought out? Military, a luxury? Give me a break. I guess that could mean that any sort of security measures could be considered a luxury,i.e.; locks on the doors of your homes, businesses, and automobiles. Electronic security on all of the same? Of course, there is waste in our military expenditures, but the facts are: this is a necessary system in order to conserve the rights of the citizenry of this country. You can always tell whose ox is being gored by the group which screams the loudest. In any critical budget situation, the areas of the greatest importance to life and well-being are the ones receiving the most support. Food and water, housing, utilities, medical, and security are among those deemed by most reasonable people as being the most important. Unfortunately, government spending to support the arts is some what of a luxury, enjoyed by the population, but hardly deemed a commodity necessary for life support. I feel that if new directions toward our national finances are initiated, life as we once enjoyed will be returned in a fairly short period of time. For now, I’m tightening my belt, and looking for better times.

    • “…Of course, there is waste in our military expenditures, but the facts are: this is a necessary system in order to conserve the rights of the citizenry of this country…”

      20% of your current military budget would be sufficient for that.

      And art is not a luxury. It is one of the columns of civilization.

    • We spend more money on military and defense then the next top five countries military budgets combined. Think about that for second. And if you really believe arts are a luxury, sell your tv, car stereo, iPod, and get rid of all your books, magazines, music, ALL OF IT, cause you don’t deserve it. Do you realize how big “the arts” actually are? Yet still the budget for the NEA is $160 million. So a lot is produce from a relatively little amount of money. Sounds like a winning business to me.

    • BullMoose says:

      @Guy, you failed to see that the reference made regarding the military being a luxury was tongue in cheek–at least that’s my interpretation of the comment. Let me rephrase it: “If the arts are a luxury, than so is the military,” I believe is what the writer was trying to say.

  14. Martin Bookspan says:

    The barbarians are at the gates. They MUST be prevented from crashing through…..

  15. maybe it would be best if we limited our “limited government” as written in the Constitution to only those things
    that the Federal Govt should and can do. Defense being one of them.

    then lower the tax rates so we ALL can give money wherever we like to support whatever causes we desire.

    the whole problem with the Govt “choosing” where to allocate money is that friends, whether Dem or Rep friends get rewarded via Crony=ism. that is not healthy or Capitalism in any sense of the word.

    Limit Govt, and support whatever all the causes you like, the arts in cluded.

    • Exactly right

    • BullMoose says:

      I assume, that in addition to removal of any “state” funding of the arts and humanities, you would also cease all the corporate welfare to big agriculture, big pharma, the military industrial complex, banks, sports franchises, and subsidies to any and all corporations? The average American, as they bitch about their taxes and complain about teachers’ salaries and funding for the arts and humanities (a mere pittance in the overall scheme of things), fail to see all the billions and billions going to those organizations and corporations who already have the most! Most concert-goers don’t realize that a percentage of the taxes on the ticket to the orchestra or opera performance went to pay for that shiny new ball park/stadium that was just built for the millionaire players and billionaire owners! If you don’t believe me, here’s a real life example (though a bit out-dated): Taxes on tickets to the then Denver Symphony at Boettcher Concert Hall went to the building of the Mile High Stadium for the Denver Boncos, er I mean Broncos. Classical concert-goers paid the tax in silence. Can you imagine the uproar that would have occurred if a tax had been placed on the football tickets to fund a concert hall? Big cities are frequently held hostage by billionaire franchises and businesses to give them tax subsidies and other goodies to locate or stay there. Meanwhile, the infrastructure is falling apart and the city is dying because it does not support its own soul! The government already chooses where to allocate our taxes, and it is to the highest bidder and loudest noise-maker. Those who already have, get more. The things of the greatest value typically get the least. The arts and humanities are indeed an important pillar of a society without which that society cannot stand for long. There is much evidence that clearly indicates that when the arts thrive, society as a whole thrives. There is no price that can be put on that.

  16. Maybe this might help explain Romney’s um (note, although this reads like a text out of a Dickens novel, it’s not fictional; it’s in the category of “I couldn’t make this up”…. “Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul stated last week that “there has been no year in which Romney paid zero taxes”. In 2008, this was true. He earned $23,425,316 and paid $412.18 in federal income taxes. This calculates to a federal tax rate of 0.0018%. How did Romney get his tax burden so low?”

    • Stephen Owades says:

      That story is intended as satire, and everything in it is “made up.” It sounds like you’ve missed all the clues and taken it at face value. I don’t disagree with the author’s point, but if someone really believes it’s a factual story, that author may have been too subtle (even though it seems obvious to me).

  17. Public support for the arts pays for itself many times over in the long term. To eliminate this support is to undermine the already slender level of cultural benefit and strength we now enjoy. In my thinking it’s reckless and rank stupidity.
    Yes, we give and support as individuals, but the National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, and such deserve continuing and increasingly stronger national support..
    Under the pathetic leadership of the governor of my state, Kansas, arts funding and other important subsidies have already been cut, and many of us are outraged. The next election will hopefully reflect our beliefs and feelings.
    If Governor Romney publicly expresses negative views on this subject, I trust that people like myself will respond to elect those who support not only the Arts, but the many facets of education and public service that enhance life for our citizenry.

  18. In a time of economic hardship, Romney’s position is prudent. He has asserted his support for funding of STEM fields, which is exactly what this country needs. Investing to ensure that ballet dancers, painters, and aspiring actors have funding isn’t going to propel our economy forward, help the labor force, or make the US any more competitive.

    Investing in STEM is an investment in our future and Romney is right to focus funding in those fields instead. At the very least, the arts should take a back seat to these other fields until the economy recovers. I’ll admit my position must sound very harsh to artists, but objective pragmatism is more important than ever.

    LeAnn S also brings up a good point. The left far too frequently shifts personal responsibility to the government. How many of you get personally involved to help the arts?

    • “At the very least, the arts should take a back seat to these other fields until the economy recovers.”

      Do you actually mean to say the arts occupy pole position in the field of political preoccupations right now? Or ever have? Few politicians ever think about art other than in terms of how to reduce its (already reduced) budget.

      • The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities have a combined budget of approx. $300,000,000. While it may be small compared to what the fed gov’t spends total, it’s not insignificant. Times of economic hardship call for more disciplined spending from the government.

        Resources spent funding the arts would be better spent funding STEM fields since they can provide for this country what the arts cannot. How many of those artists are leading research into nano tech, alternative energy, robotics, stretching the limits of computing, or starting hi-tech companies that will employ thousands? Those efforts will help rebound the economy and make the US more competitive. It’s an investment in the future of the US. Our resources can be better spent.

        • Nobody calls into question the need for disciplined spending in hard times, nor even the fact that sometimes (as in any fields) large sums of money ar waisted in the domain of the arts or unequally spent on a few “chosen ones” (star singers, conductors, etc), but that’s another discussion (well adressed by the author of this blog, by the way).

          “How many of those artists are leading research into nano tech, alternative energy, robotics…” This is just ridiculous. We educate our children to be who they want to be, to pursue what will make them happy and give them a place in society. And now you want to blame the few who chose to be artists (and had the talent and willpower to get there!) that they didn’t become rocket scientists? And by the way, where did all this “advancing of the economy” get us in the first place? On the one hand guys like Romney, who have enough money to feed half the planet but won’t because of some misguided belief that they earned it themselves, and that anybody else can just do as them; on the other hand a majority of people who believe that happiness is owning as much stuff as they can, whether they actually need it or not, are encouraged to get loans, get in debt and are threatened with the loss of their homes by the same banks that got billions to get out of their own so-called misery.

          Sorry, I’m getting a little worked up over the people who make a big deal out of a field that represents 0.008% of the US Federal Budget, and heaping loads of guilt on the heads of those making a living in that field.

          Just to make it more clear: the US Federal Budget amounts to $3,598 billion for 2011, according to wikipedia. Take out $300 million and that will leave you with… EXACTLY the same amount!

          • “And now you want to blame the few who chose to be artists (and had the talent and willpower to get there!) that they didn’t become rocket scientists?”
            - You’re somehow got the idea in your head that being denied fed gov’t funding = punishment. The fed gov’t has a very limited scope (or at least it should) of what it can fund. I love playing guitar, but I don’t think the government should pay me to study it and make a living out of it. If people want to become artists, then great. I wish them all the success in the world. Me wishing them success doesn’t = they should get gov’t funding. HOWEVER, those who ARE pioneering into new technologies that will translate into thousands of jobs for American’s should receive fed gov’t funding.

            “people who make a big deal out of a field that represents 0.008% of the US Federal Budget, and heaping loads of guilt on the heads of those making a living in that field”
            - The guild you feel is your own. No one wants you to feel guilty about your career. Just don’t walk around with a sense of entitlement and think you deserve to make a living on the backs of taxpayers. LASTLY, it doesn’t matter how much $ the arts gets from the fed gov’t. Inappropriate spending is inappropriate. If I found out $10,000,000 was going to pay for corvettes for residents of LA, I’d oppose that policy too. The amount is irrelevant.

          • BullMoose says:

            A big part of the problem here is that CSM doesn’t have the foggiest idea how actual funding of the arts works. I began playing my instrument at age 9–45 years ago. I have never ever been paid by the federal government to study my instrument or to play my instrument, and as an amateur guitarist, you’re right not to expect to be paid by the government either. I make my own living, thank you. The hours of daily practice for decades were mine, and mine alone. Sure as heck no one paid me to be there. HOWEVER, were it not for the NEA, there would have been fewer opportunities for me to play and I would have been playing to a less educated audience. Again, other than 1 Guaranteed Student Loan I had, I have never been paid directly by the federal government and have never expected to be. You, CSM, are the mis-guided one.

        • The arts are as important as science. If you can’t see that then you are simply ignorant. Simple as that. Do your research instead of spitting out republican conservative limited thinking propaganda.

          • Not only are the arts as important as science, many if not most of the best scientists in a range of fields, be it paleontology, physics, mathematics, biology, and other disciplines such as sociology, psychology, anthropology etc are inspired and informed by the arts. Some of them are also artists. There is an interaction and feedback between the arts and science, which has been written on by many scientists, such as Stephen Jay Gould and John D Barrow. And I haven’t even pursued that particular line of inquiry, other than becoming aware along the way of my wide-ranging readings over the years. So there will be other examples, probably many better than these.

            The Republican propaganda machine has just taken a dangerous turn, with the release of the film “2016: Obama’s America”. This film is pure propaganda. This is shades of certain regimes of the past which were the antithesis of democracy: the antithesis of the very thing that America is said to stand for. We are getting into dangerous territory with this film.

      • “Investing to ensure that ballet dancers, painters, and aspiring actors have funding isn’t going to propel our economy forward, help the labor force, or make the US any more competitive.”

        It is truly amazing how people can write off the importance of the arts within a given culture. Culture IS art. It’s the only thing truly sets apart one nation from another. If you honestly believe that the arts don’t make the US any more competitive with other nations, I encourage you to do a little research into European history. The European states realized that what truly makes a great nation is a unifying culture that their people could latch onto and claim as theirs. They paid artists well to make their nation a cultural hub. However, I digress with the history lesson. What matters is the here and now, and I know that if the arts are not supported in these troubled times, there isn’t going to be much left for our soldiers to fight for.

        • ” I know that if the arts are not supported in these troubled times, there isn’t going to be much left for our soldiers to fight for”
          - I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think this nation’s heroes have been willing to sacrifice their lives so that artists can keep their federal funding (partly because these endowment institutes were created in the 60′s and we’ve had the military for much longer than that). You’ve grossly perverted the intent and mission of the military, which gov’t is explicitly authorized by the Constitution to raise (the arts…not so much).

          I’m not denying that the arts are important, but being important isn’t synonymous with warranting federal funding. The arts certainly have their place in society, but that doesn’t include being on the taxpayer’s dime or the fed government’s budget.

          • If you believe the arts are important, and that they have their place in society, and if you were willing to accept that art does have economic value, what is so terribly wrong with the government investing in it? Even if it’s not explicitly written out in the constitution?

            In whatever way you see it, art is dependent on some kind of funding, whether by patrons and benefactors or a political body. You simply can’t sustain orchestras, ballet and opera companies, museums or historical buildings with paying visitors only. The thing with art is that it has intrinsic and immaterial value which deserves to be accessible to as many persons as possible. At least, that is what most people seem to agree upon. Since the job of government is to advance the common good, it only seems logical to me that arts funding is part of what it does. Anywhere between 0.5 and 1% of the overall budget seems reasonable to me (being European, as you may have understood).

            Lastly, if you don’t want artists to feel guilty about their careers, why then do you accuse them of 1) not doing anything to advance the economy, like those working in the field of technology, and 2) making a living over taxpayers’ backs (which is a gross misrepresentation of reality)?

          • PJ, the site isn’t letting me respond to you directly, but thank you for answering my questions directly, addressing all my points head on, and posing some thoughtful questions.

            “If you believe the arts are important…what is so terribly wrong with the government investing in it?”
            - Just because something matters doesn’t mean it deserves federal funding. Sports are important, but they don’t deserve federal funding. Exercising is important, but it would be ridiculous if the fed gov’t began subsiding gym memberships for people to go work out. Same for the arts.

            “art is dependent on some kind of funding, whether by patrons and benefactors or a political body”
            - It’s a common misconception that if something can’t get funding from the private sector, then it falls on the government. If anyone should be pressured into giving money to the arts, it should be the rich artists who’ve made it big. Arts institutions should be demanding funding from people like Nicki Minaj, Justin Beiber, and Shia LaBeouf.

            ” Since the job of government is to advance the common good, it only seems logical to me that arts funding is part of what it does.”
            - But I don’t accept the premise that funding the arts advances the nation’s common good, at least not in a time during economic hardship. Another issue is justifying giving $ to the arts, when giving that same funding to technological research is more likely to yield explosive growth affecting a vast majority of people and resulting in new companies and ventures.

            The economic impact of performing artists compared to that of engineers and technologists is staggering. The latter’s work simply translates much more effectively into jobs and economic opportunities. New tech results in a flurry of start up companies and expansion of existing ones. This impact can be easily quantified. Lastly, technology can fluidly operate on three fronts: B2B, B2C, and C2C.

            In a time of economic surplus, you have a stronger case because people have more disposable income to contribute to the arts. Simply put, in tough times, the money can be better spent.

          • Thanks for your answers CSM. I’ll pass on your idea to have the New York Philharmonic ask Justin Bieber for a couple of his millions to finance their next season, if you’ll excuse me… However, as you may know, record companies often use the money earned with their most popular artists to finance more “serious” projects which otherwise, on their own, wouldn’t make a profit, purely out of artistic conviction.

            “It’s a common misconception that if something can’t get funding from the private sector, then it falls on the government.” Well, not quite. Here in Europe it’s rather the contrary: politicians have the idea that, if governments withdraw from arts funding, businesses will take over. The truth is quite the opposite: if government drops a cultural institution, private investors equally lose interest. Ideally, both sectors should be present.

            “Just because something matters doesn’t mean it deserves federal funding.” Well, that’s your opinion, but I still don’t hear your argument for it (other than a matter of principle). Funding arts or sports institutions is quite different from paying gym memberships; I have a hard time taking this kind of comparison serious. My point is that government’s job is to invest in a nation’s common interest. Science and technology are an important part of this, but so is a vibrant artistic life, high performances in sport, and, yes, healthy people: a government may not pay for a membership to the gym, but it may very well encourage people into a healthier lifestyle – through ads, education or legistation.

            “The economic impact of performing artists compared to that of engineers and technologists is staggering.” You mean, in the engineers’ advantage, I suppose? Well, the impact of the latter may be more direct and more easily quantifiable. But the economic impact of the arts has been found to be very positive, showing a return upon investment of, if I remember right, about 1 to 3, sometimes less, sometimes much more. That this is not taken more seriously is beyond me. It’s easy to see why, by the way: put a theatre in a city and you will create jobs, attract businesse, and have a micro-economy developing around it (restaurants, shops etc). Businesses looking for a place to settle are more likely to go where there is a rich and diverse cultural life. Local governments, therefore, have every reason to invest in culture.

            But there are so many more reasons: young people who engage in artistic activities tend to succeed better in scientific subjects; studying Bach and Beethoven and learning to listen to their music shows just how far human imagination can go; engaging in art awakens curiosity, enriches the human experience, creates more understanding of who we are. And to consider all this simply a LUXURY?

            “But I don’t accept the premise that funding the arts advances the nation’s common good”. Well, if you’re not willing to accept at least for a bit that there might be some truth in it, if you consider the common good only in terms of whatever will create the largest profit, and all the rest just fun and games, then I’m afraid you will remain deaf to any argument I could think of.

            Even so, I believe it is unjust to demand from artistic institutions a greater effort in economic hard times than anybody else. Why would the defense budget take (a wild guess) a 5% cut, whereas the arts budget would take 20% (as is proposed in some European countries) or be killed off altogether? Considering the small proportion the arts represent in the overall budget, as I have already stated, this is not only ridiculous, but highly unjust and a good reason to get upset about. All the more while not a single artist has contributed one bit to this financial crisis caused by irresponsable bankers, stock brokers and their bosses, fueled by greed and the illusion of the unbound free-market. Nothing against the free market, but within necessary limits.

          • ” if government drops a cultural institution, private investors equally lose interest”
            - I reject that completely. There is strong pride in the arts here in the US. This isn’t Europe; we don’t take our queues from the gov’t on what to appreciate. If the government stopped funding groups like the NEA, then I bet that would serve as a catalyst for private institutions and donors to be even MORE involved to pick up the slack. The arts can and will be kept alive and well by the citizens. Don’t be so quick to scoff at personal responsibility and survival without the government. The NEA didn’t even exist until the 60s FFS.

            “Funding arts or sports institutions is quite different from paying gym memberships; I have a hard time taking this kind of comparison serious.”
            - The comparison has merit to it. It’s in everyone’s interest to exercise. Therefore, to supply all citizens with means and access to appropriate facilities on taxpayer dollar (under your logic) should be permissible. Or similarly, you should be in favor of the fed gov’t starting an organization that subsidizes people to form sports teams because sports are important and teach you lessons about team work, discipline, strategic thinking, and stamina.

            Your rebuttal concerning making “eat healthy” ads is invalid because this isn’t the equivalent to funding the NEA to give out grants. The equivalent to the NEA would be paying for gym memberships. The equivalent to encouraging people to eat healthy is to encourage people to pursue the arts via ads. You made a significant category error.

            “You mean, in the engineers’ advantage, I suppose? ”
            - No. I addressed this point in my previous post. If technology only provided an engineer to engineer advantage, then it would be foolish to fund it. Tech innovations operate on B2B fronts as well as B2C and C2C. The arts don’t translate nearly as effectively into these 3 transactions. The mere fact that I have to defend the merits of technology against you harms your case. Attacking the advantages of tech innovation is a terrible attempt to bolster your case.

            “put a theatre in a city and you will create jobs”
            - The vast majority of these theaters are paid for by wealthy private donors who get to have the buildings named after them. Example: I used to live in Cleveland, and Severance Hall housed the world famous Cleveland orchestra. Severance Hall was funded by John Severance, private donors, and Case Western University. No help from the fed gov. And when government is involved in these initiatives, it’s usually at the city level. This whole debate is about the role of the fed government’s role. Lastly, theaters aren’t built to employ the staff, they’re built to attract audiences. Good luck selling tickets during economic hardship…unless you want fed gov’t to fund those too.

            “But there are so many more reasons: young people who engage in artistic activities tend to succeed better in scientific subjects…And to consider all this simply a LUXURY?”
            - Wow…you don’t need the NEA to listen to Bach (unless you’ve advocating the gov’t subsidies ipod purchases). I really hope you haven’t become THAT dependent upon the gov’t. I’m well aware of the benefits of music. I’m an avid guitar player, but that entire paragraph of yours is a red herring because young children get arts education through their schools, which is beyond the scope of NEA. Someone else already funds that. IDK why you mentioned that because it has nothing to do with the NEA. I never said arts education is a luxury. I think it’s a must for all young students.

            Defense gets gov’t funding for a secret reason, and I’ll let you in on the secret: it’s in the Constitution. Plus branches like the DOD and DARPA lead research into tech like robotics. THANK GOD they get funding.

            Lastly, NO ONE is advocating to kill the arts. If you end fed gov funding, the arts still thrive. Donors and organizations still keep the fire fueled.

          • “Attacking the advantages of tech innovation…” I don’t know where you got the idea that I would attack tech innovation. We must have misunderstood each other on that one.

            “Lastly, NO ONE is advocating to kill the arts.” Sorry, but many are these days. The question whether art matters has become one of mere opinion, not necessarily founded on any knowledge. But it’s not what I said: I referred to the title of this article.

            “If you end fed gov funding, the arts still thrive.” Unfortunately, you’re too optimistic, at least for European standards; here, end of subsidy often means end of the road for a cultural institution. I’ve seen it happen and it’s threatening to happen again in many places. One of the bonuses of government funding is that in times of economic hardship, even if some sacrifices have to be made, some kind of continuity can be assured.

            Anyway, it would be much easier and more enjoyable to have this discussion face to face. I am glad that at least we don’t disagree on the importance of arts. As for the role of the central government… I remain convinced that it should somehow support the arts financially, to underlign its importance for society. This, by the way, is often part of the Constitution in European countries. However, things are changing right now. Many politicians here look to the US for guidance and would like to introduce the American model of almost exclusively private funding for the arts. They don’t realize that we are a world apart from the US in this respect, and won’t be able to sustain our many cultural institutions and historic sites with private money only. I’m not being pessimistic, but it’s going to be tough in the next decade or so.

      • The arts simply make people better in a thousand different ways including raising scores in academic testing. It also enriches people’s lives and helps them become more creative and expressive as individuals. The arts also make a lot of cities thrive economically. And lastly, in this day and age of being overly connected and constant multitasking, a Harvard study showed that the Arts can actually make people concentrate better and focus for 45 minutes at a time on something that is actually great.

      • Eric L Broomfield says:

        It is a myth that the arts do not add to the economy. To make such an assertion on a forum like this is beyond credulity.

    • CSM (and others), with regards to STEM, you should check out this article, which comes from the Pittsburgh Business Times — not an arts magazine. It regards transforming STEM to STEAM, with the Arts added into the mix. You can read more about it here:

      You have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing, but here are a couple of choice excerpts:

      “STEAM is different. Clearly, we want more art in the classroom, but, instead of focusing on STEM, think how art and science have a natural affinity and why is it being bifurcated,” said [Babette Alina, director of government relations for the Rhode Island School of Design]. “STEAM is a way to think about natural innovation by combining our strength in art and science.

      “Where is the interdisciplinary opportunity? How do you advance discovery? How do you advance innovation into products? For us, STEAM is about competitiveness.”

      In the last century, STEM, which is based on critical thinking, has driven tremendous advancement, said [Mickey McManus, CEO of MAYA Design's Luma Institute, which teaches Fortune 500 companies cultural change, creativity and agility,] to the point where people and businesses can make anything.

      “Once you can make anything, and make it right, civilization faces a crisis of imagination and creativity,” he said. “If you can make anything, what is the right thing to make?”

      • I think you’ve presented the best strategy so far. If you want to secure funding for the arts, then characterize it as belonging under the umbrella of STEM, which most ppl agree deserves funding. Good tactic. However, I disagree with the idea for the following reasons:
        - Art has a similar relationship to technology as marketing. Art isn’t necessary to invent or to lead research into the tech, but it is necessary to sell it to human users. Designers and artists address the usability portion of technology.
        - Without artists, technologists still invent and create. Without technologists to invent/create, artists have nothing to contribute to technology. They don’t share equal burden and therefore, don’t deserve an equal platform in STEM.
        - Adding art to the mix also seems like an attempt to equivocate art (which seems intrinsically subjective) with fields like math and science (which are objectively evaluated). The basis on which they’re evaluated is completely different and it seems to echo the efforts of those who try to bolster the credibility of humanity fields by appending “science” to their names like political science. STEM and art stand on two separate pillars, with differences that can’t simply be hand-waived away.

        • - “Art has a similar relationship to technology as marketing. Art isn’t necessary to invent or to lead research into the tech, but it is necessary to sell it to human users. Designers and artists address the usability portion of technology.”

          That is completely wrong. Art is about training and educating the imagination and refining aesthetic judgement and perception. And without those, you can’t invent anything. Only if imagination and knowledge both excel, you have minds that are creative in the scientific sector or anywhere else.

          “Art is … necessary to sell [technology] to human users.” Wow, what a sad and empty world that must be, where someone comes to such a technocratic conclusion.

          The term often used for such individuals that are lacking the wisdom about the connection between imagination, knowledge, art and science is “Homo Faber”, rather than “Homo sapiens”.

          • “Art is about training and educating the imagination and refining aesthetic judgement and perception. And without those, you can’t invent anything.”
            - Your argument has huge flaw that you ignored. You would have a good argument IF the arts were the ONLY way to develop your imagination, but they aren’t. There are numerous ways people can develop their creativity. Other people on this site have used arguments like you by saying “listening to Bach and Mozart has been proven to help you score better on tests.” News flash: you don’t need the NEA to listen to classical music.

            “what a sad and empty world that must be”
            - I take it you are speaking out of ignorance and have no experience with developing user interfaces? That’s commonly where graphic artists contribute in software development. You commonly see the intersection of arts and technology in video games, CGI, GUIs, and HMIs. However, so little of what the NEA funds is remotely related to this field, and many other arts like acting, singing, and dancing cannot contribute to those developments like graphic artists.

            My following point still stands: Without artists, technologists can still invent and create. Without technologists to invent/create, artists cannot contribute to technology. They don’t share equal burden and therefore do not merit converting STEM to STEAM.

            You’re strategy is all wrong. You’re trying to counter my points by claiming that art is fundamental to the development of the imagination. I NEVER said it wasn’t. I’m saying the arts don’t merit NEA funding because STEM shouldn’t be changed to STEAM. You never addressed the topic at hand.

            This is the case you must make. I’ve reduced it to a simple syllogism for you:
            *** technologists and artists share an equal synergistic role in the invention of new technology. Once the NEA stops funding the arts, then tech innovations as we know it can’t continue. Therefore, the NEA deserves to keep it’s funding and STEM deserves to become STEAM***

            If you cannot prove this, then you have no argument.

        • Eric Rudnick says:

          It sounds as though you think the artists and technologists are two different people. Please go online & watch Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stamford. He makes the case right there, beautifully. The arts improve everything about life, because they ARE life. We can cut funding to the arts, but, as with many ideas of those on the right, what’s not considered is how those currently getting that funding will be changed if it goes away. It should not be looked at as only “cutting spending,” but as “taking away something that sustains.”

    • another orchestra musician says:

      CSM, it is fair assumption that most of the readers of this blog contribute actively and regularly in a material way to arts organisations – be it by attending performances (purchasing tickets), donating money, or or donating their time.

      It is also a fair assumption that most of the readers of this blog pay a larger percentage of their income in tax to their respective central governments than does Mr. Romney, although they be far less wealthy than him.

      And however fiscally prudent Mr. Romney’s economic thinking may appear, thus far Mr. Romney has scrupulously avoided making known the actual numbers he would strive to legislate. The only numbers we do have, at present, are Mr. Ryan’s – which defy the laws of mathematics, and which Mr. Romney thus far says he agrees with but also doesn’t agree with.

      • Apart from a few ad homs against Romney and answering a question with an assumption, do you have any substantive reasons for why the arts should retain federal funding? If so, do you think sports should receive federal funding? What’s the difference? What do you think is the appropriate level of federal funding for the arts?

        • another orchestra musician says:

          The substantive reason why the arts should continue to receive funding from the federal government is that removing this funding would do far more harm than good.

          An overarching priority of any central government should be to ensure social justice, without which, any society whose members possess the means to communicate amongst one another will collapse from internal strife. Democracy’s fundamental presumption is its intrinsic, albeit non-linear tendency toward social justice: members of a democratic society, knowing that they themselves, for reasons both within and beyond their control, could find themselves at any place within their society, will strive to create a society that treats everyone fairly.

          I like philosopher John Rawls’ definition of a just society. Rawls said that “a just society is a society that if you knew everything about it, you’d be willing to enter it in a random place”. If federal funding for sports is required to achieve this, then so be it.

          I also like former US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates’ insistence that America should do far more than it presently is to strengthen its soft power. Bombs can kill people, but only ideas can defeat ideas.

          • “removing this funding would do far more harm than good.”
            - Not true. As I have stated before, giving the funding to technological/scientific research will almost certainly translate into more good for more people. Scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs result in others picking up the torch to launch their own research, start their own companies, expand their companies, and hire more people to increase production and revenue.

            I’m sure I don’t need to describe the business model behind technological innovations nor go in depth on the immediate and wide-spread pay-offs behind these innovations. This simple fact is this: the burden of the economy carried by tech cannot be carried by the arts. Tech is simply more effective at translating into economic growth than art. For this reason, gov’t money is better spent on tech than art (at least in a time of economic hardship).

    • Prudence has nothing to do with this position. These are tiny organizations that have large cultural implications, I just do not believe that eliminating them makes more sense than to scrutinize the military budget which is humongous and make smart tax reforms that allow more money to be in general circulation. It seems to me that it’s a platform to take because it’s easily explained and defended and on the surface seems practical. In the end, it’s unnecessary and detrimental to the societal health of our nation. The economy is a massively complex body, but Romney is feeding the nation simple solutions. In this case the simple answer can collapse the economy, look to history. There is a huge psychological element to this as well, which is why people are saying the arts are not a luxury. Removing things like NEA don’t make people willing to spend more whereas a strong arts culture (which requires government aid) gives people hope and a purpose and they spend small amounts of money buying tickets and buying concessions and making an evening of it even if one can’t afford to do it often. The arts encourages money circulation which is healthy for the economy, without encouragement even this circulation lessens.

    • When Republicans cut the hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies provided to oil companies – the most profitable companies in the US – when they stop forcing the Pentagon to pay $50 million per plane for planes they didn’t order and don’t want, and when they stop allowing millionaires to pay 12.5% in taxes while non-millionaires pay 35% – THEN, I’ll consider the idea of saving a whopping $150 million by eliminating the N.E.A.

      In the meantime, how about you read the numerous reports already posted here that show that the positive economic impact of arts funding vastly outweighs its actual cost.

    • tutu much says:

      “Investing to ensure that ballet dancers, painters, and aspiring actors have funding isn’t going to propel our economy forward, help the labor force, or make the US any more competitive.”

      This sentiment shows how little you know about what the arts actually entail. As a former professional ballet dancer I can assure you that the way the arts develop the brain is actually very conducive to enhancing a person’s creativity level and helps develop more creative solutions instead of merely following the usual ways. Do you really know what it takes to learn a ballet? Aside from the physical aspects, it is a huge intellectual undertaking with a mix of knowing where you must be in relation to music, other dancers, positions on the stage etc. After I retired from dancing I began designing websites. When looking at the data for a site, it’s very much like a ballet – how do all of the sections interact, where do individual snippets of code go? I now have my own small business that contributes to the economy, as do my best friends who I danced with. They are business owners, accountants and economists. I think we’re the perfect example of how the arts train a person to really contribute and to think more creatively. Or we could just stay on the path that Romney recommends because that has worked so well in the past…

  19. “…At the very least, the arts should take a back seat to these other fields until the economy recovers…”

    It’s already in the back seat. But people like you want to push it even out of the bus.

  20. Richard Haden says:

    Todays GOP [the Grand Outdated Party]

  21. As a musician who performs with 5 different orchestras and other local musical organizations here in my area, not even a dime TRICKLES DOWN to us from the NEA. Ditto National Public Radio.

    • BullMoose says:

      Pete, are you kidding? So, if the NEA and NPR are de-funded, you think that won’t hurt you and your colleagues? Where do you think your orchestras get the free advertising for their concerts? Where does the general public learn about and gain an appreciation for the works your orchestras are playing? Maybe you don’t listen to your local NPR station and never hear any of the 5 conductors or guest artists interviewed? or the weekly program by a local music history professor that often previews the works in one of your up-coming concerts, and so on!? Where do you think your audience comes from? They’ve been educated in part by arts organizations like NPR and the NEA. As a performer, do you have any idea where each of those 5 orchestras gets the cash to pay you and your colleagues? Do you think your pay comes from ticket sales?? Are you kidding?? Ticket sales never come close to covering the actual cost of an orchestra concert. And big donors usually only donate if there’s also government funding. If it weren’t for the NEA, I doubt any of those 5 orchestras would exist. Period. Get out your tin cup, bud, and head for a choice street corner! (FYI, I have been a professional orchestra musician for 25 years. Were it not for the NEA, I’d be asking you if you’d like fries with that . . .) Go see the management of any one of your 5 orchestras and find out the nitty-gritty details of where your per service pay comes from. At least some of it at some point has come from an NEA grant. I guarantee it. Regardless, de-funding the arts isn’t going to help you one bit, but it WILL hurt you. You’re really clueless. I have a right to get pissed at you because we’re in the same field! Educate yourself before you go flapping your mouth in the breeze.

      • I am on the board of one the orchestras I also perform with and I know very well where and where not the money comes from. None of it has ever come form the NEA.

  22. HOW DARE HE!!!!… first of all its just PENNIES towards fixing the budget…if even that!!! MAYBE if mr fat cat romney ACTUALLY PAID HIS FAIR SHARE OF TAXES (and all the others like him) that money could be used to keep these alive… and then some!!! just another reason why guys we need to vote OBAMA 2012!!!! KEEP THIS LOSER OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE!!!!

  23. There is ample data to support the economic benefits of the arts and to support the cognitive advantages conferred by the arts in education. However, it is amazing to me that so many Americans fail to recognize how important the artist is to the survival of a free society.

    Art and artists play a role that is very different, but no less important than that of the military. Artists sit atop the walls of civilization and look not only out, but inward as well. It is the artist who asks the difficult questions. “Are you really sure black people should have to sit at the back of the bus?” “Are you certain that we should be fighting a war in Vietnam?” “Don’t you think we should look more closely at what is happening in Bosnia?”

    How is it then that we fund our military at a rate that is out of proportion with any other nation on the planet but we will destroy the funding for the NEA to save pennies? We should be funding the arts like our lives depend on it.

  24. Seriously? says:

    Really? The military is a luxury? Here is a reminder for what a luxury is. Luxury: free or habitual indulgence in or enjoyment of comforts and pleasures in addition to those necessary for a reasonable standard of well-being.

    I’m sure my husband finds his living environment when he is deployed extremely comfortable and pleasurable. I’ll have to remind him of this the next time he is deployed.

    And by the definition of luxury, yes, the arts is a luxury.

    • Yes, at least 50% of your military spending is luxury. Unnecessary for the security of your country.

      And art & science is what makes the difference between ape and human. Apes understand the point of a military force though…

      • Germany and Europe has had a free ride courtesy of the American military and taxpayer at least since the end of the Cold War. ( “wanderer” – you would be speaking Russina by now if it wasn’t for the American military.)

        Perhaps we should just remove all American military from Germany and they can fend for themselves.

  25. We want to advance and continue to grow as a civilization but how can a scientist come up with new ideas if he has no imagination?

    I’m more concerned for schools and the kids. They are the future, right? And if you take away their outlet to express and imagine they will become even more disinterested in school. Not every child is an academic. What happens to those students who excel in the arts but aren’t good at math and science? They just get to take a back seat at school and accept the fact that they can’t grow into their potential? Or worse, never find out what their talent is!

    This goes the other way too. If children who are involved in music and play an instrument statistically have higher test scores and are generally smarter than children who don’t play an instrument or read music – how does that benefit us?

    As sad as it is, I actually decided not to go to college to be an art teacher because I knew that it would be impossible to find a job.

    Why don’t the ‘entertainers’ like basketball players in the NBA and football players in the NFL take a pay cut? How is that not the first on the list? Or why doesn’t Romney offer to use some of his BILLIONS OF DOLLARS to help support the arts?

  26. Helmuth Gripentrog says:

    It is interesting how perspectives change. In another Lebrecht column (about the violin of Yuzuko Horigome) Mr. Wanderer stated: ‘Funny to read all the vitriol and rotten stereotypes about Germany, Merkel, German shepherds and Rottweilers’. And here he himself uses a rotten stereotype for Americans, as he calls them ‘apes’ and ‘apes with nukes’. It is pitiful that people expressing themselves on the Internet (especially the ones with synonyms) have a habit of downgrading their fellow human beings by mocking them with inappropriate names.

    • I didn’t call Americans apes. I call ANY human without understanding for art & science an ape. And if they happen to have nukes, then they are apes with nukes.

      • Excuse me, but there haven’t been any apes which developed nukes. This is an interesting fantasy to blame the intelligence of the people who have such equipment on the socially acceptable derogatory use of the word ape; but the fact remains: apes have neither manufactured or operated any nukes.

        As to whether apes understand art or science see: And they understand enough about science not to be the cause of global warming; unless you want to say that how they are imprisoned in various science labs by humans is their contribution. But again, I think it’s the humans who have a lack of understanding of art and science, in regards to this.

  27. Checking out the grants given in music in 2012 shows tiny grants given to the most established institutions which would not even cover the salary of one supported program administrator. Nowhere could I find the administrative costs of the NEA itself compared to the grants it gives. It is easy to find these numbers for the Red Cross.

  28. The arts reflect the human spirit…of course they want to do away with the arts…Their budget does not reflect the human spirit or generosity…with its cuts to those who are in desperate need. I sure hope these two mean spirited guys are not elected to run our country.

  29. When you find a painting or a music piece that protects the people in this nation let me know.I’ll take a Raptor over a Stickman drawn on a napkin in a second. Without our defense,you so called artist,would be picking rice and tending to camels all day.So buck up.No one owes you anything! Einstein played a violin ! HAH.He probably sucked at it and its a good thing he Did suck at it ,or he wouldn’t have been a mastermind at what he did.Instead he would have been palying music notes in an orchestra.

    • Allison Disher says:

      Intelligence and creativity are all linked along with compassion

      Einstein had all three of those and if you knew more about the man any other’s like him you might relize the skill he is famous for is not all that he stood for.

      He was a great humanitarian and influence in activism and politics because he could connect with people on multiple levels and not just science.

      By making assumptions about anything as complicated as the importance of different sections of our society shows your ignorance on the subject. How about ditching your pride and look at some other point of view and talk to some artists and TRY to understand rather than judge,

    • @Jack W — “We Shall Overcome” — “Over There” — “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” I could go on, but mostly “We Shall Overcome.”

  30. Ok! So let me understand!

    It’s a know and proven fact that music education increases your GPA. Studies have proved that. Our nation, based on overall nations is dropping in the IQ department.

    What has changes in ou education that would produce lower IQ’s? Could it be less funding to our arts education? And, Romney wants to take more away or drop it? Why don’t we just stop education all together and become a third world country and ask other countries to help our nation. The government doesnt do enough for our own education by taking away the program’s that enrich and broaden our minds. Our major universities recruit by giving money to those who for play sports.

    Why not do a study to see how many of our scientists, doctors, and engineers performed in the arts in their early years and then decide where the funds should go. How about invest more to our education and improve the national GPA and quit making our nation dumber than other nations. My gosh, why is this nation trying to be a lesser world power? In 50 years from now we will be known as the lowest educated nation.

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      Some 50 years ago, classical music figured quite prominently in the public life of the United States. A viewer could see classical performers on The Ed Sullivan Show or the Bell Telephone Hour. Classical conductors were the subject of cover stories in Time magazine (George Szell in the February 22, 1963 issue). Perhaps Mr. Lebrecht can supply a more accurate figure but I seem to recall that classical music was about 25% of record sales. There was no National Endowment for the Arts and spending on education per student was $2,808 (in constant 2008 dollars, Now we spend on the order of $11,000 per student and for all that classical music has almost completely disappeared from the public consciousness.

      Perhaps progressives should look to the beam in their own eyes before pointing out the mote in those of conservatives. Conservatives weren’t the ones chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Western Civ has got to go!” It wasn’t a conservative who said, “Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Balanchine ballets, et al. don’t redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history.” It wasn’t conservatives who coined the epithet Dead White European Males. It wasn’t conservatives who so relaxed educational standards that most students now graduate from college with a diploma and a mountain of debt but no education. It wasn’t conservatives who established those cesspools of hyper-political pseudo-scholarship, the Grievance Studies departments. It wasn’t conservatives who larded educational administrations with highly-paid positions for drones, for example Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (

      For the last 50 years, progressives have systematically denigrated Western civilization and its fruit, among which classical music is among the most sublime. They’ve succeeded: no one cares any longer. They’ve burned down the city, salted the fields and now stand around scratching their heads wondering why there aren’t any tourists. Then again it would be tragic – if it wasn’t so comical – that progressives always seem to think that – come the revolution! – they’ll be in the Politburo and not in the Gulag.

      • BullMoose says:

        Conservatives have done their fair share of all that you describe. It is not so simple as to blame any one political group or viewpoint for the state of our educational system and artistic climate in the USA. Also, as a progressive, I have done none of what you claim “we” have done over the last 50 years. Quite the contrary. Perhaps your definition of “progressive” needs re-vamping. Perhaps our entire political structure needs re-vamping.

        • Greg Hlatky says:

          Oh, great. Up to now this whole comment thread has portrayed Americans in general and Republicans in particular as apes, philistines, “rethuglicans,” etc. and now we’re to be all nuanced and it-is-not-so-simple?

  31. Mr. Romney is more than willing to cut Arts programs but absolutely will not start at home. Why not start cutting the perks you as an high paid government employee enjoy and can certainly pay for yourself? Why not do it for all high paid government employees or those whose annual salary are in the tens of millions? There should be a difference between government worker / employee and public office. Start with yourself Mitt.

  32. Why the arts and music is important no matter what the budget problems are:

    “Arts and culture are a necessity in our lives. Not just as individuals but as nations in the world and is about our spirit and our health. It’s also about how much we expose young people to the arts and arts education and this isn’t about people who wants to go into the arts, this is about what it does to peoples sense of confidence, to peoples self esteem and what they can learn about themselves.

    Even President Lincoln went to the theater often and he understood that he needed the arts to replenish his soul. He craved for art and poetry.

    Embracing arts and culture is the most important export that we exchange around the world. Countries may go to war but it’s culture and the arts that unites us, it educates us, it teaches us to be better. Our culture is what brings people to the United States, they want to share it, they want to experience it. And we send it all over the world too and it doesn’t know borders, it doesn’t understand when it’s crossed a border and had an impact on someone in another state or another country around the world.

    Don’t people understand what would downtown be without its performing arts, it wouldn’t be cities anymore. And we don’t have cities for downtown shopping anymore, the cities exist in America today mainly because of the culture and downtowns exist for that reason.
    It doesn’t have to be about lovers of music and poetry and beauty and grace and what the arts give to our country this is a fundamental issue about ideology….

    Winston Churchill, when he was prime minister was told that there was going to be major cuts in arts and culture because of the mounting costs of World War II, he responded with a simple reply, then what are we fighting for. ”

  33. So much delusion!

    The US military spending has been in decline as a portion of the federal budget and GDP for the last 50 years due in part that the military does not drive the technology as it once did.

    If your looking for money, how about the current administrations foolishness. To name just a few: 1.2 trillion to failed solar companies, 25 billion and growing taxpayer loss to GM. If GM had been allowed to go into bankruptcy the creditors would have restructured the company and had it back on its feet in less than a year (ie air lines). Instead the investors had the government take all their money (for many, it was part of their retirement portfolio) and give half the company to the union as payback. 200 billion to Brazil for oil drilling, millions to a Finland auto company. Billions to to Chrysler, a foreign owned company. 716 billion taken from medicare (a program for the poor and elderly). Billions unacounted for. The list goes on. But we don’t care as long as they are liberal and have good intentions.

    To name just one: The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is 20 million in dept, that is criminal and folks belong in prison. And you want the taxpayer to give more money so the country and the symphony can go further in debt.

    You demand the tax payer subsidize and then berate those artist and companies that can make it on their own. To be subsidize means you are unsuccessful and haven’t learned the art of being profitable or at least break even. And yes running a successful business or organization is an art and requires a developed talent.

    How many folks make millions from the art that you want subsidized? A recent article on this site whining that Norway won’t give prize money for and award to the multi-millionaire Domingo would be just one example. Since they so benefit from the arts and are part of the 1%, they could do some reinvesting…Oh, excuses me, I had a delusional moment.

    Liberals don’t like our Constitution and just ignore it because it takes work to change it…You have to convince and show just cause.

    • “To be subsidize means you are unsuccessful and haven’t learned the art of being profitable or at least break even.”

      Wow! By this definition the list of “unsuccessful” artists, who’s work is currently held in the collections of the world’s most prestigious museums, would be staggering. The terms art and entertainment are not interchangeable. Though, many find it comforting to think of the latter as the former. “. . . the art of being profitable”? What would the world’s antiquities look like if only the work of “profitable” artists were collected?

    • “To be subsidized means you are unsuccessful”.

      Something tells me you understand next to nothing about the economy of art.

      Art is, ideally, not primarily about making money, making a profit, or even being popular. Business is. There exists a “business of the arts” where huge amounts of money are made by a few people. But this is, as I stated before, another dicussion.

      In short, art is about a person, or a group of persons, expressing themselves in some way. The economy of art consists of more than just people buying tickets or art works. It’s one way to make a living for an artist, but if Mozart and Van Gogh were to be judged by the number of tickets/paintings they sold, or at least the profit they made in their lifetimes, they were hugely unsuccessful. (Others, more business-minded, were, by the way.)

      Art has always been driven by people, other than the artists, recognizing their talents and enabling them financially to do what they’re good at. Governments have taken on this role, especially in Europe, not only to stimulate art but also recognizing the economic value of a flourishing art life for a country (or a city, or a region). Now you CAN argue about the compass of government involvement in subsidizing the arts, and the part of the budget which should reasonably be spent on it, but equalling the need for subsidy with “being unsuccessful” is just another right-wing talking point that has no substance at all. For instance, the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic are very succesful orchestras, drawing full halls and rave reviews as a general rule, but neither could survive as an institution without public funding. But you shouldn’t forget that research has shown that public funding for the arts, rather than money just disappearing, turns out to be a sound investment especially for local governments, increasing tax returns and business activity.

      Lastly, it would be a good thing to end this stereotype of the lazy artist holding up his hand and waiting for his un-earned money to flow in, once and for all. ANY project that ANY artist wants to realize starts with the question: how am I going to pay for this? A large part of an artist’s life is filled with looking for funds, be it private or public. Many are those who simply don’t succeed in finding them. Being subsidized – in other words, finding recognition for the quality of your work – is thus, on the contrary, rather more equal to being succesful!

      • The facts are the arts were doing well before the NEA; now they struggle. Once government is involved you are its slave and subject to its whims as pointed out on this site. Those noble Russian classical artists have been silent about the arrest conviction of other artist – slaves of the state-.

        Famous unsuccessful artists. Lets loose the delusion and face facts, many have mental and or emotional issues and the lived under government/religious systems where there is no opportunity except from the government…serfdom anyone?. Those systems still exist today and are growing thanks to your support.

        I love your comment about artist spending time looking for money. Try earning it. Its what the rest of us do. Even in hard times, you demand my hard earned money and never a thank you, only derision, and you wonder why.

        • Funny how ordinary people, once elected into government, suddenly become dictators enslaving people to their whims. In an actual democracy (Russia is not exactly the finest example), people can expect certain things from their government. Using taxpayers’ money to finance what is in the public’s general interest doesn’t seem particularly villainy to me. Talking about whims: a democratically elected government is (ideally) neutral about the things it subsidizes, especially arts. Private sponsors (and dictators) are more likely to impose their taste – since they “paid for it”.

          I AM earning my money, thank you very much. When I said “looking for money” I should have said “looking for investors”. Sounds better? Founding a business or a music festival really isn’t that different.

          Nobody DEMANDS anybody’s hard earned money. There’s nothing extraordinary in getting upset about a government wanting to take money away from a sector who contributed nothing to the economic mess we’re in, and who represents such an utterly small part in the overall budget.

          As for derision, where exactly do I deride you? And why would you want me to thank you for paying your taxes like anybody else? I’d be more than happy to thank you if you decide to donate to the musical association I run. With a free concert, for example. ;-)

          • I certainly would not want the government to be neutral about its subsidizes; its my had earned money. Some of the money has gone to truly offensive, disgusting and political tainted works and I am stuck paying for it because no one else would.

            “Nobody DEMANDS anybody’s hard earned money.” You most certainly do when you demand money from the government…Where do you think it comes from? Try the hard working producers of this country. The economic mess we are in is because folks have a sense of entitlement to other peoples work.

            “As for derision, where exactly do I deride you?” Just look through this site and read the disgusting comments about successful businesses, people and artists. Those that are successful without being subsidized and pay a lot of taxes.

            “And why would you want me to thank you for paying your taxes like anybody else?” A true sense of entitlement you have. You want my hard earned money for your purposes and enrichment (I doubt you are doing it for free), money that I took great risk to earn and never a thank you.

            “I’d be more than happy to thank you if you decide to donate to the musical association I run. With a free concert, for example.” I donate to a number of charities and nonprofit endeavors. Further, I attend a number of classical performances, art shows, museum etc each year. But I have already given money to your musical association through my taxes.

        • I’m sorry, but applying for a grant or subsody is not the same as “demanding” money. English is not my native tongue, but to me, if you demand something you expect to get it since you believe you’re entitled to it. As much as you seem to believe the contrary, I do not feel anything close to entitled to anybody’s money. But when you pay taxes, I’m sorry to say so, it’s not your money anymore – it’s become public money and elected officials decide how to spend it. You may or not be happy with the way it’s spent – I would be the last to deny that some of it is used irresponsibly and that too large amounts are squandered in a lot of domains, including the arts – but having to thank you (or to be thanked myself) for abiding the law and fulfilling your civic duty in paying taxes is beyond me. I’ll do it if it makes you feel better, though! ;-)

          As for the derision, again, I would be the last to make fun of anyone for making money and being successful. I AM critical of the belief that making money equals success, and making lots of money equals lots of success – maybe in a business-sense where the goal is to make as much profit as possible, but in an artistic, social or “overall human” sense: no. Which, of course, does not mean that financial and artistic success are automatically incompatible.

          Most of the derision, or outright contempt, goes exactly in the other direction in my feeling: that institutions and artists who are able to do what they do with the help of public money would by definition be unsuccessful, lazy, even incompetent and, last but not least, arrogant if they dare to question the voices that propose to end their funding. This is what upsets me, this and the inability of some to revise their preconceived ideas, even in the face of sound arguments.

    • Hardtack48 says:

      Wow, $50 billion loss in GM bailout. We get a return of 7:1 on NEA grants. Looks like arts win out over business for ROI.

      Very little of NEA money goes directly to artists. Mostly, it is matching grants for arts organizations, whether it be symphony, dance, or museum. Typical direct grants to artists are on the order of $2500. This may have been a lot of money in 1965, however, it doesn’t go very far today.

      But these are just incidental arguments and detract more than contribute to a solution. The best argument for the arts has already been laid out in some earlier posts. Training in the arts provides for a more fluid way of thinking and a new way of solving problems. It engenders the ability to see many sides to a problem and hence a new solution for it. Artists and scientists share the ability to make an intuitive leap and provide new ideas for humankind. You really cannot profit by attempting to separate the two.

  34. “1.2 trillion to failed solar companies”

    would you please qualify that weird claim with facts?

    • another orchestra musician says:

      I second the motion, and request that Michael qualify his other weird claims with facts, too.

    • 400 million to Abound – fail
      535 million to Solyndra – fail
      2 more on the ropes…….

    • Thank you for catching my error. It should read Billion not Trillion.

      To name a few:

      Solyndra LLC, received $535 million – Bankrupt
      Abound Solar Inc., received $400 million Bankrupt
      Solar Trust received 2.1 billion – Bankrupt
      SpectraWatt received $500,000 (peanuts???) – Bankrupt

      Losses = more than $3 billion

      The solar energy business want another $10 billion in start-up funds from Congress

      • BullMoose says:

        Fine. Take it out of oil and gas industry subsidies. Yes, big energy companies are among the greatest welfare recipients in this country.

      • Hardtack48 says:

        re: Solar Trust they filed bankruptcy after their major (70%) stockholder (Solar Millenium of Germany) became insolvent and reneged on funding promises. A loan of $2.1B was guaranteed by the DOE but that sum was not provided.

        Even so, investment in R&D for future technologies is necessary and desireable. Obviously, STEEP (Shell Texaco Exxon and Electricity Providers, the OPEC of the US) can’t be expected to fund any research to keep themselves in business.

        • Greg Hlatky says:

          ExxonMobil had 358 basic (first) patent publications in 2011. Shell had 351. Rest assured, they fund a lot of research.

      • I have to laugh Michael. DoD wastes this in a week.

        Just a few items found in 5 min. googlingof gross mismanagement, waste and outright fraud.

        Republicans and Dems. both share the blame.

        Take a look at the last paragraph from the GAO

        10 Nimitz class carries at $4.5 Billion each = $40.5 Billion. Do we really need 10? By the way this does not include the replacement of each carriers air wing with new more expensive models which the GAO estimated at $120 billion for what they wanted.

        “• Both DOD documents and GAO’s work have shown that, at any given time, there is roughly a billion dollars in spare parts on order that the Department simply does not need, but the Pentagon inventory system doesn’t allow for the order to be changed. This is in addition to the tens of billions of dollars in unneeded spare parts already in the military warehouses.

        • USA Today recently reported that the DOD racked up $720 million in late fees for shipping container leases by not returning the containers on time. This $720 million in late fees was on top of the cost of the actual lease.

        • The Commission on Wartime Contracting found earlier this month that there was an estimated $31 billion to $60 billion in DOD waste and fraud related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Commission further described these losses as largely avoidable.

        • The GAO has also detailed billions of dollars in cost-overruns for major weapon systems. The GAO noted that several factors, including major inefficiencies in the defense acquisition system, have led to $402 billion in total major weapon system cost overruns. This total is up from $42 billion in Fiscal Year 2000 and $295 billion in Fiscal Year 2007.”

        • So your argument is because there is waste we should continue to waste. Any program run by the government has extraordinary waste…its what governments do. There are very few things the government should be doing then it would be small enough to control waste.

          As far as containers and other wartime wastes are concerned, the military is engaged in multiple wars, continued buy the current administration. Nothing goes smoothly, on schedule or within costs in a war.

          Some of the items you mentioned are research and development. There are always failures in the development of most anything especially complex systems.

          And I do agree there is waste, it exists in all branches of government and it should be resolved. But we need to get the budget under control and balanced.

          • Michael,

            “So your argument is because there is waste we should continue to waste”

            Where did you get that idea from my post? I merely pointed out the waste AND fraud in DoD and never said I condone it!

  35. Petros Linardos says:

    I am shocked at the number of comments in support of the Republican approach to the budget, which is penny smart and pound stupid, hypocritical and, according to many economists, including Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, ineffective.

    The cuts the Republicans support on arts, health care and education funding are minuscule compared to defense expenses.

    There better places to save money on than the education and future of a country.

    And there are obvious places to increase government revenue. The richest 1% control 40% of wealth in the US, and are taxed by lower rates than the remaining 99%, primarily because of 15% capital gains taxes (Reagan raised capital gains taxes from 205 to 28%). Twenty five years ago, i.e. days of Ronald Reagan, the richest 12% controlled 33% of wealth. For more see The Republicans want to lower taxes to the wealthiest.

  36. Paul F. Wilson says:

    The Arts, the true Arts, have _never “stood on their own.” Governments or The State or The Ruler (l’Etat c’est Moi” — Louis XIV) have _always_ supported the Arts. Where would Michaelangelo have been without the Vatican? Shakespeare without the Queen? Mozart without the Emperor of Austria? Today every nation worthy of the name has a national theatre — except the U.S. If all you want is art that “stands on its own,” you’re not going to get Art — you’re going to get more FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, endless comic-book-movie franchises, and commercial television.

    • There’s a very rocky grasp of history at work here. Until the 20th century, governments and monarchs never supported the arts. They (and the church and nobility) used the arts not from any sense of altruism and duty, but to further their own glory. Artists benefited at the time; we benefit now. It is what is known as our cultural heritage. Incidentally, I’m not aware of any evidence that Elizabeth I ever directly supported Shakespeare and the amount Mozart received from the imperial coffers was miniscule.

    • Hardtack48 says:

      Paul, maybe that’s the problem. They haven’t figured out how to add commercials to a symphony. “Ladies and gentlemen, this next movement is brought to you by Metamucil, the gentle laxative.”

  37. Bluntly Honest says:

    This is no surprise. Romney was caught on mic in April at a fundraiser saying ““I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go…Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later.” (source

    This man scares me. Normally; as a Moderate, I can at least see where the candidate is coming from even if I don’t necessarily agree. Romney priorities are not in the right area.

  38. Caddy Rowland says:

    Just one more reason not to vote for Romney. Art is the mirror help up to society. Without art, we have no soul.

    Romny turns off one group of people after another. Let’s see:: artists, LGBT, women, minorities…if these groups all get out and VOTE we won’t have to worry about him being President. Just enough women voting could do it. Why do Republication want voters to need a picture ID? So poor minoriites can’t vote. Once that is done, they will figure out a way to make women unable to vote again. Pretty soon only rich white men can vote. Hmmm. Isn’t that the only grouop who benefits from their bigotry and ass kissing of the wealthy?

  39. It’s obvious that Norman touched off a storm of replies by the NEA. post, but in the end the National Endowment for the Arts was a very new concept here in the States founded back in 1965.

    There never was (to my knowledge) any government support of the arts in the US until then. As others have pointed out the governments main job was to protect the rights of the people, our way of life and defend them.

    Support for the arts came from the responsible wealthy ( the very same we rail against here) with the idea of bringing culture and fine orchestral music to the people. Men like Carnegie, H.L. Higgins ( founder of my own local band the BSO) and many others were very successful in doing this. Over time as incomes rose people of far more modest means followed their example (my self included) and did likewise. You can talk all you want about the NEA, but it has never amounted to more than a blip on the radar here.

    In the end aren’t we foucusing here is more on the demise of large professional orchestras and nots arts in general? What is the real reason for this? In europe it may be do to the loss of government support but here in the States it’s the loss of donor support and ticket sales. As a donor I pulled my support of the BSO/POPs and cancelled mt subscription because of the endless repetive programming of a few composers. I love Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, etc. but I have heard them performed Sooooo many times! Why have I never heard a performance of Glazunov, Kraus, Alfven, Borodin, Erkel, Balakirev, Ketelby, Cui, Suk, Sullivan, Offenbach, Gliere, Wienberg, Pagannini, among many, many others at Symphony Hall. Is their music not worth playing? Why is it that management endlessly asks us for our money but NEVER ONCE about performance opinions, suggestions, or what we may like to hear played? One poster mentioned that we might pick up a donation envelope and give. Why is there not an evelope to ask us our opinions about the pieces we just heard? And what about the players? Do any of you ever stop to ask a patron or concert goer their opinions or if there a piece they really like and would want to hear or even thank them for coming? Do you voice your concerns (outside of wages and rehersal schedules) about declining attendance and lackluster propramming and what should be done? Do you even care? The BSO offers occaisionly post concert receptions with wine and a buffet on certain evening performances as a way of thanking thanking concert goers. I have met a few soloists, and even maestro Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos came by to say hello (a most gracious classy gentleman), but I have never seen one orchestra member. The seems to be a wall between the audience and players.

    For the first time in two years I have renewed my BSO subscription for all 25 performances (I continued to go once a week even though I let my subsciption lapse) at least I could save $138 in handling fees! For the most part it’s basically the same old recipe, but at least it some way of supporting them. And no matter what my reservations are, I still think it’s important.

    Folks in Europe have been spoiled over the years by having government subsidies of your large orchestras and other artistic venues. We’ve never had it here in the States. Sadly, if you want it you will have to pay for it yourselves like we do.


    • Very thoughtful article. i know a few people in Cleveland who share your opinion.

      • Thanks Pete,

        Whether the NEA stays or goes is not the real question. For major orchestras, it lies with management, players, patrons and those who purchase tickets and subscriptions. Management will always be unresponsive, Everyone rails against the unions here and wring their hands about substandard or repetitive concerts. But the well heeled players got all their substantial benefits and pensions through their union. And as they are some of the best players in the world I think they deserve every last penny of it. But meanwhile the number of concerts are cut back, contract players who I have seen for over 20 years at the BSO/POPs ( and who sometime make up 1/4 of the players on stage, especially 1st and second strings) are kicked out and have had their pay cut. Meanwhile guys like Malcom Lowe (first chair) play less than some of the remaining contract players!
        Tenured players are making more and playing and rehearsing less but are still getting a raise. While contract and house crews get paid less and lose their jobs! I’m not saying all tenured players are like this. Second chair BSO violinist and 1st chair POPs is there for almost every concert. She’s my favorite violinist and a real trooper. I spoke to her once and she told me in that wonderful Siberian accent “They tell me to come in and play and I play”. Shes the best!

        BTW a very good friend of mine that retired from the BSO 5 years ago played with your band under Szell. He came to Boston in 1969 and has some great stories while working at Cleveland. I also notice you are being served up the SOS in Cleveland as here in Boston and other places! I’ve heard them all many, many times. Before I take the big dirt nap I’d love to hear (dare I say it!) Overtures to Zampa, Reinzi, Pique Dame, The Wanderer, Czardasfursten, Delibes Sylvia or Coppelia or (gasp!) Rosenthal’s arrangement of Offenbach for Gaite Parisienne or MacKerras arrangement of Sullivan for Pineapple poll, among many, many, many more more. These were once staples of the concert repertoire (as I said, among countless others), but have vanished completely. So sad.

        Between an unresponsive management (as far as programming goes), cynical players that don’t really care about us or what they play nor their contract brethren (at least here at the BSO) and everyone moans about about the decline of Orchestral music and berate the ASO for backing up Il Divo to make a few extra bucks.
        What the heck are they going to do to stay afloat? They are up to their nostrils in quicksand and about to go down!

        Again I ask there is the input from the well heeled major players in the big US bands? The only one I’ve seen is a contract player in the BSO/POPs who I saw the first time in 5 years last season, when before she played almost every concert. If anyone from the BSO or any other major orchestra has something to say, pony up, give us your real name (mine is Paul D. Sullivan) and let us hear your side of the story.

        OK, rant over.


  40. As an educator, I’ve seen firsthand the differences between students that participate in the arts (band, drama, choral) versus students that participate in no organizations at all. This is not to say that sports are not beneficial to students, but only so many students can be on teams and not all students have that ability. Whereas with the arts, students, at least in my experience, are always excepted – regardless of skill – and they learn. These students have proven time and time again in my classroom to be more disciplined, organized, social, and perform better academically. This is a rule, and as with all rules, there are exceptions, but students that participate in the arts are typically more creative, vocal, and contributing members of my classroom. They are academically engaged. Students that participate in no organizations at all are more likely to be tardy, disruptive, unorganized, and unsuccessful.

    I feel that the argument may be that students could learn these things at home with the parent, but with many homes being single parent or students being raised by other family members, who’s to say they’ll learn? The students that could benefit the most from the arts are likely in homes where parents are working two jobs to feed their children because of problems in the past.

    I’m sure that the military may be a good excuse for learning to be vocal, contributing, and organized, but how is this beneficial for anyone to learn after the age of eighteen? Even if arts funding may not be cut in the schools from this, the president’s blatant lack of disregard for the arts will make students fail to realize the importance of these subjects and how they enhance learning. Saying that he appreciates something isn’t a band-aid on a bullet hole.

    Teachers are already teaching their subject matter, teaching manners, playing parents to children, working overtime at out-of-school events, paying money out of pocket for supplies (since August 1st, I’ve spent $200 on school supplies), doing an overload of paperwork due to cuts to secretarial staff, writing grants to try to find more money, dealing with financial problems due to the fact that teachers in my state haven’t seen increases in pay for years, playing psychologist because counseling staff is reduced, playing nurse because funding can’t pay for those either, and just when that isn’t enough, I’m sitting at home right now still working because school closed before I was finished working. Are we supposed to teach music, art, and theater too? I already teach English which is now comprised of reading, grammar, and writing.

    I’m sorry, I don’t even know why I’m ranting about education at all since that also seems to be one of the first things that gets cut when it comes to spending. Like arts, I’m sure that education is something that should be able to stand on its own as well.

  41. Pintobeans says:

    All–are you aware of the percentage of career politicians who make it to the top of the heap that become millionaires while in office? Do you realize that those politicians who had insider information about the ensuing collapse of the economy could use that information with concern for later penalties, legal or otherwise?

    Do you realize that sometimes the drive to make it to the top has less to do about the people than it does about power and wealth.

    The complexity of our country’s government is certainly far greater than whether or not the government should subsidize the arts.

    I can’t even imagine the conversations that are had behind closed doors that decide what we can be made to squabble about while the fox robs the chicken coop. Come on, people! I am disgusted that we are so easily hoodwinked!

  42. Allison Disher says:

    Art allows people to look at different point of views and in different ways- it trains your mind in a completely different way than any other subject can.
    Being able to see things in multiple ways and consider different points of view (which sadly a lot of people do not do and without knowing it) fuels understanding and compassion as well as culture – a future generation with less compassion and growing crazy military science, power and – from what I have experienced- over competitive nationalism – I don’t even want to think about it.
    I am literally scared for this nation if a potential leader of this country refuses to question his own ideas. I believe he, as well as most politicians have much too much pride, not to mention unnecessary amounts of income that could be much more useful for the government’s spending than money that is necessary for the preservation of our children’s cultural, creative and emotional stability.

  43. You can’t support science without supporting the arts. That’s like saying you can make great scientists, but they don’t have to be able to think. It’s like saying that you are going to feed people but you don’t care about how what you do effects the quality of the soil. You don’t make cuts on what nurtures human thought and expect to have by some inclusive logic suddenly what requires human thought. It’s like saying you’re going to build a bridge but the supports for the bridge are a luxury.

    It might even be like saying you want to limit government, and do this by using government to give elite privileges to the very people who are controlling government so that it’s NOT there for the very people who are supposed to be helped by limiting it. And then when this is accomplished, it’s again the fault of the government or the people that know better.

    It’s easy to say don’t tell me what to do, but when you don’t even know what you’re doing anymore; and try to destroy what might create the intelligence to find out; it doesn’t matter what anyone says anymore, as long as it doesn’t address that the problem isn’t being fixed, you can blame it on what would fix it.

  44. Sorry that was supposed to be “You don’t make cuts on what nurtures human thought and expect to have by some exclusive logic suddenly what requires human thought.”

  45. Wade Pinhorn says:

    I’m just so grateful to be Canadian. I pity the poor choices that Americans have to choose from.

  46. Irene asbury says:

    Thanks CSM and the likeminded.
    In the previous comments,many refer to the arts in our public schools. How much of the NEA funding is spent in public schools? None in my school district. The % of funding for art and music programs here are determined by school board, superintendantand in small factor the state. When music funding for band was cut; the community support increased to the point that we actually got new uniforms sooner than planned and new instruments.
    To me it’s a crying shame that we have required classes about taking federal standardized tests in hopes of increasing scores in order to getting a slice of the pie. I believe this is waste. Cut this and other waste and perhaps we could have language offerings before the NINTH grade.
    Also due to the cuts, we have increased donations of basic school supplies from pencils to backpacks from community members and businesses.

  47. If the amount is such a small, pitiful 155 million, why don’t the movie stars and recording artists pony up? Lady Goo-goo has a zillion dollars and Dark Knight has grossed like $400 million – if every movie production/sound production donated 1% of profits to the NEA, the problem would be solved without politicos and tax dollars. Then they’d have to find someone else to scapegoat and cut funds.

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      Grand idea. How much is Oprah worth? Or David Geffen, or Steven Spielberg, or George Lucas. How much do Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise make per film? I can’t turn on the television without seeing some self-congratulatory awards show. I’m sure they’ll be happy to contribute to support of the fine arts.

      Let’s reinstate the excise tax on gross movie receipts that was repealed in the mid-1950′s and extend it to DVD sales, downloads and admission and ticket sales, with exemptions for 501c(3) organizations. Let’s also make copyrights held by corporate entities renewable at 28, 45 and 60 years for a progressively higher fee, like the maintenance fees for patents. After 75 years, the copyright expires and the work enters the public domain (copyrights held by individuals would continue as under current law).

      How could any Hollywood liberal object to these moderate and reasonable proposals for promoting the arts?

    • Why don’t the Halliburtons and Exxons and all the other warlords of this country pony up to pay for the obscene defense budget, which they mostly profit from, while for the people app. 20-30% of the defense budget would be absolutely sufficient to pay for the security of their country?

      And the defense budget actually matters. The 0.0009% that go to the NEA do not.
      One could slice 1% from the defense budget and invest it into the arts, increasing thus art funding by the factor of 100 or more, and thus invest in thriving urban centers, education and a well functioning civil society.

      But that’s socialism. Let’s keep spending the tax dollars for the warlords and corporate cronies. That’s what the founding fathers really wanted. Good job. You are well assimilated, Steve. Big Brother is proud of you.

  48. Since everyone wants to talk about economics, here’s a real story. A recent study of Dubuque, Iowa (population c. 60K) arts organizations and their audiences demonstrated that the arts generate over $47 million for the local economy. And, remember, a decent amount of those dollars go to support musicians, artists, etc. who–in turn–spend their dollars elsewhere in the community. The arts–the ultimate “green technology!”

  49. looks like all the art teachers will have to take up arms. I am ready.

  50. America is better than this concept. We have worked for generations to build this nation into something we can be proud of. We are a Democratic Nation, we do have values, we care for our brothers and sisters, we delight in Art, Music, Literature,dance, Film, all the arts. Healthcare for every American is vital as is access to freedom to vote, freedom to decide your own fate. If we give in to Ultra Republicans we lose so very much and it spells disaster for our Hard Fought Rights so important to our Nation.
    As a person who tries to make the best of life. I can not see giving up any right I’ve earned. I will not go backwards.

  51. Birdarise says:

    The arguments made for continuing massive defense spending usually cite jobs, as many many people are employed by the DoD & its contractors. Every Congressperson wants to keep$$ coming to his or her district. Never mind that the Pentagon doesn’t even need or want many of the projects Congress wants. As long as $$ flow, do do the votes.

  52. If you all were not so hard headed you would notice the reason on why Romney has said this. He isn’t saying he is going to cut the programs because they are insignificant. He wants to cut the money to programs like the NEA because if these programs were really helping the communities, then the communities would be supporting them. They can support themself if and only if the Community is involved and believes in the programs. I agree with cutting the money to the NEA because there are better programs that need to be worked and programs in existance that need to be re-done because currently they are more of a burden on this country then a help to the country.

    • The communities can’t print money… only the Fed can… and this is how the deficits are paid for decades.

  53. Priscilla says:

    You’re looking at this backward. Romney is cutting taxes, therefore putting more money in our pockets to do with as we will. NEA already tells us that the vast majority of funding comes from private contributors, not from tax dollars. If Romney is (and he will) saving us tax money, then we have more money to put where we WANT to put it, including NEA and other organizations.

    In addition, because of the state of our nation currently, we simply CANNOT continue to sustain the kind of spending happening under the current administration. If we don’t make cuts somewhere, we’ll be FORCED to make deeper and more painful cuts.

    And this coming from someone who’s career is in the arts.

    • You didn’t get the news, that Romney’s tax plans mean that the middle class will have to pay more taxes bottomline/have less disposable income. Romney will cut taxes for his 1% class. And we all know by now that trickle down doesn’t work, don’t we?

    • Pricilla,

      Please, listen to Wander! (unless your in the 1%)! When the corporations and Republicans hijacked the system to the 1980′s They destroyed the few unions left and massively inflated the DOD with their useless multi billion dollar don’t need it weapons systems and wars. My wages plummeted over 30% back then. It took until 1993 to make what I made in 1979. Now at 61 I have been laid of and new contracts in my profession have been cut 30% again, so I’m back to square 1. I live in Mass. and we had this guy as Gov., he’ll say ANYTHING he thinks people want to hear (liberal or conservative). When he was Guv, he resurrected and old Reconstruction law that prevented people FROM states (where marriage between black and white were forbidden) to adopt the same stance here in Mass. if one person came from that state. He cynically used it to prevent any gay couples from states that had a similar law to marry here. What a guy!

      I agree heartily that the country is on the brink of a debt crisis! But what are you talking about the “current” administration? Wasn’t it Bush one that gave all our money to bail out the greedy deregulated S&L’s, that took small homeowners money and invested for their own failed profit schemes? Wasn’t it Bush two who threw away hundreds of young American lives and trillions in Iraq and Afganistan bloating the deficit with the ridiculous Homeland Security, the onerous “Patriot Act” (with the loss of individual freedom ) allowing even more shady contractors to suck on the treasury teat? I’m a mariner and for the past 12 years I worked on American ships carrying cargo between American ports. The greedy controlling corporations that owned the terminals we visited saw their chance and under the umbrella of the “Patriot Act” reused to let US citizens leave the ship in a a US port. Then they thought of a better idea. They decided to charge the shipping company up to $1000 to have a “security” van (the driver/guard made about $10 and hour) drive us the short walk to the terminal gate. Needless to say the company refused and we were left restricted to the ship in our own country. Thankfully our small union had a clause that paid each man $5.00 and hour for restriction to the ship. The company started screaming to the terminals and finally some (not all) lowered their prices. You still had to pay though.

      I’m not saying the Dems are not much better as it was the Clinton administration that removed the Banking laws put in place during the 1930′s that prevented them from separating their consumer and speculative investment loans, which caused the vast derivative crisis. But a least he left us with a budget surplus. Eight years of further deregulation, foolish foreign wars, allowing rapacious credit card companies to charge usurious rates to foolish borrowers and thieving banks loaning money to those want a house, but don’t have the income and shouldn’t be buying one much less given a loan. All this happened under Bush 2.

      Obama’s not doing much better. Granted he inherited the mess from GB2, but when he had the chance to rein in the banks, with Geithner’s advice he gave away trillions with no strings attached.

      If you think anything will change under Romney, you are mistaken. Probably nothing with Obama also, but I’ll take the lesser of the two evils.

      Take a look at the much maligned (at least for the right) PBS Frontline documentary on the financial melt down.

      It’s a 2 part series and both are free (with NO ads) at their website.


    • Priscilla, you must be a millionaire, because that’s the only group of people who stand to pay fewer taxes under Romney’s plan – according to every non-partisan tax group that’s studied it.

      Romney has even signed on now to Ryan’s tax plan, which eliminates capital gains taxes.

      Romney himself calculated during a debate that he’d pay “zero” taxes if capital gains taxes were eliminated, instead of 12.5%, which he now pays (as opposed to up to 35% for most Americans). So, under Romney’s tax plan, his taxes would be zero (a 13% cut), while my taxes either wouldn’t change or would increase to make up for the loss of capital gains tax. Sounds great, eh?

  54. Lewin Barringer says:

    So there’s a guy who doesn’t understand what “culture” is. Art is one of the most important factors in what a culture is based upon.

    Think “Cultural experience” or the “Culture” in France, Italy, Spain etc….

    Not based in the financial world. And if we Americans lose our Arts, what is our culture made up of?

    Yet again he demonstrates his disconnection from reality and what really matters.

    • Sean Hellems says:

      Government doesn’t make culture. We do, so fork out some of your own money and send to the NEA to make up for the modest cut. Otherwise be quiet.

      • You’re right Sean. We’ve basically be doing in for many, many years, way before the NEA was established in 1965.

        • Sorry, but the culture in the US was pretty poor, except for a few exclaves in the cultural desert like cities in the North East and San Francisco. Relying on financial support from the commoners only has NEVER worked for the arts anywhere.

          • Please Wanderer, get your facts straight!

            Budget over $2.5 million:


            Youth Orchestras:


            Check out this from the League of American Orchestras”

            “The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of approximately 850 orchestras across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned symphonies to community groups, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement for managers, musicians, volunteers, and boards. Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform music lovers around the world about orchestral activity and developments. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners. ”


            ” Relying on financial support from the commoners only has NEVER worked for the arts anywhere.”

            What an elite over the top statement! I’ve never even made 50% of what an entrance level player in the BSO makes. But for many years I donated 4% of my gross income to the orchestra. I only pulled it when programming became stagnant and repetitive. Then I shifted it to the NEC. I’m proud to be one of the thousands if not millions of commoners that support the Arts here in the US.

            And aren’t even reading any of the posts hear? We NEVER HAD any government support for ARTS in the US. Would I like some? Sure! But so far us “commoners” have done fine, thank you very much!

            Your comment, ” Sorry, but the culture in the US was pretty poor….” What a boorish statement! Culture here may have hit a bumpy road but it continues to thrive here from the east to west coast and all on our own.

            If you come back to reply, I would like to ask you where do you live? In the US, if so where. Why don’t you spend 5 minutes doing a bit of “common” research. Take a minute to go to youtube and type in “U.S. Orchestras”, U.S. college Orchestras”, U.S. youth symphonies”, you will find it runs the gamut from rank amatuers to seasoned profffesionals.

            I look forward to your reply.

          • America’s orchestras, ballet companies, opera companies, repertory theater companies and museums (the Washington museums excepted) were founded by, and have always been funded by, “commoners”. They are not now, and never have been, government-run and government–funded institutions.

            How many billions of dollars are contributed, annually, to those institutions by corporations, foundations, charitable trusts and individuals? The figure is staggering—it would, no doubt, exceed the gross domestic product of Sweden—and renders the paltry annual budget of The National Endowment For The Arts irrelevant.

            You would be dumbfounded if you knew how much money a single privately-owned company, Minneapolis-based Cargill (and the many Cargill-related charitable trusts and offshoots), donates to the arts each year, all without having the Cargill or MacMillan names plastered everywhere. The figure probably equals—and perhaps even exceeds—Sweden’s annual arts subsidy.

          • @Paul
            sorry I hit a nerve. Let’s look at some facts.

            The US is spending about $ 6 per capita on the arts. Germany or Finland spend around $ 90 per capita. That’s FIFTEEN times as much as the US spends. and corrected for the difference in GDP it would be somewhere around TWENTY TIMES the arts funding per capita.

            Germany has 23 times the number of professional Symphony orchestras per capita than the US and 28 times more full-time opera houses than the US.

            In Europe, publicly funded cultural institutions are used to educate young people and this helps to maintain a high level of interest in the arts. This blog is testament to that…

            fantastic article about the subject:

            “With only one percent of the military’s $396 billion budget, we could have 132 opera houses lavishly funded at $30 million apiece. (That much funding would put them on par with the best opera houses in the world, and as noted, likely lead to forms of expression more distinctly American.)

            The same sum could support 264 spoken-word theaters at $15 million each. It could subsidize 198 full-time, year round world-class symphony orchestras at $20 million each. Or it could give 79,200 composers, painters and sculptors a yearly salary of $50,000 each. Remember, that’s only one percent of the military budget. Imagine what five percent would do. These examples awaken us to the Orwellian realities of our country and how different it could be. Given our wealth, talent, and educational resources, we are losing our chance to be the Athens of the modern world. ”

            …and instead the US chooses to be the Sparta of the modern world…

          • Paul, Mr. Wanderer is from Sweden, a nation that has never had a single world-class orchestra, world-class ballet company, world-class opera company, world-class art museum or world-class university. Stockholm, along with Oslo and Helsinki, is the most provincial and culturally barren of all European capitals—slightly more sophisticated than Tulsa, slightly less sophisticated than Saint Louis.

            Even the hillbilly Swedish royals (as is true for all the hillbilly Scandinavian royals) are sent to the U.S. for their educations—and then return to their native land in order to marry their personal trainers. They are immune to whatever Harvard, Yale and Princeton can teach them—or the University of Oklahoma, for that matter.

          • I’m sorry, but I have to respond to Drew here because you’re just talking plain nonsense. Oslo is where Mariss Jansons rose to fame at the head of the very distiguished Oslo Philharmonic. Sweden has several excellent orchestras, one of them until only recently headed by a certain Gustavo Dudamel. Finland has one of the finest music academies in the world, the Sibelius Academy. These are hardly culturally barren places. They may not be New York, London or Vienna, but you can hardly expect that from countries whose population is amongst the least dense in Europe.

          • Swedish orchestras play at precisely the same level as middle-tier German provincial ensembles. The best American parallel with the orchestra in Gothenburg would be the Rochester Symphony, fully professional, nowise distinguished—although Gothenburg is much more lavishly funded.

            The fact that a Latvian conductor once worked in Oslo makes Oslo culturally important? I don’t think so. Is Pittsburgh culturally important simply because that very same conductor once worked in Pittsburgh? (And it was Jansons that put the Oslo orchestra on the map, not vice versa; the Oslo orchestra was nothing prior to his appointment.)

            I’ve visited Oslo. Salt Lake City has a livelier cultural scene. In fact, Norway’s most famous living musician, Leif Ove Andsnes, left Norway a couple of years ago and relocated to Copenhagen, telling Danish newspapers that he had bought a house in Copenhagen because Oslo did not provide him with the cultural and intellectual stimulation he needed.

            Bloomington, Indiana, is home to one of the world’s most important music schools. Its presence does not make Bloomington a cultural center, any more than the music academies in Finland make Helsinki a cultural center.

            I’ve been to Helsinki. Helsinki is pure provincial backwater. It reminded me of Duluth. Both cities have lovely coastlines.

            Are you aware that many American firms with Scandinavian operations or subsidiaries are forced to conduct their Scandinavian affairs from London or Hamburg or Frankfurt simply because the Scandinavian universities are so bad they do not produce qualified personnel, even at the graduate-school level?

          • Drew, you assessment of the Swedish orchestra scene is awkward and not realistic. Oslo is a relatively small city, as Norway has a very small population. But Norway now has phantastic facilities and a lively classical music scene, the new Opera House in Oslo is testament to that. You want to compare the Utah Opera to the Oslo Opera? You are in for great comedy entertainment.
            Norway also has a fantastic government funded classical music training program, so does Finland.

            Helsinki has a fantastic brand new concert hall. So has Copenhagen. Also a new Opera house in Copenhagen. The academies in Finland have output many of the worldwide leading classical musicians, especially conductors.

            And Leif Ove Andsnes is back in his home town Bergen for many years, he has a family to raise after all. His Copenhagen apartment was necessary because he was teaching in Copenhagen. He was polite to his Danish hosts, praising their cultural life in interviews. Of course rural Norway is not London, New York or Vienna, but per capita Norway is one of the most resourceful countries when it comes to classical music.

            American firms operating from London or Germany for their Scandinavian operations do so because the Scandinavian markets are often too small to justify dedicated subsidiaries plus the tax codes are more favorable in before mentioned places for them.

          • Drew, I post two pictures here of the Utah opera (hosted in the Capitol Theatre), where a whopping 4 weeks a year operas are performed:


            and the Oslo opera house, a year round full-time operation:


          • I suspect current production of buggy whips is more robust in Oslo than Utah as well.

          • I’m not so sure, but you know Salt Lake City better. All I know is that in Oslo the alcohol consumption is approx. 100 times that of Salt Lake City per capita. And it’s about the same with the arts funding.

          • Paul D. Sullivan, Arlington/Boston US says:

            Very true Wander, but with an income of some 555,000 bbls. a day of North Sea oil per 1000 citizens and cheap hydro electric energy ( 2nd per capita in the world) spread among 6,000,000 citizens, they have the luxury of a complete social state with all it’s benefits and drawbacks. They can even afford the Arctic Culture Center in Hammerfest. (pop. 9,934). With the surplus cash Norway has they could build a concert hall and opera house in Hammerfest if they waned to. With no access to N. Sea oil I wonder where they would be? For a small western nation they compare more to the wealthy oil producing countries of the middle east.

            You seem to ignore the facts that have already been stated here. There has never been a mind set of funding arts in the US. Up until 1965 there was no federal funding and that was tiny. With our current economic problem, and a government controlled by a multinational corporate plutocracy there is currently little hope for change in the near future. We here will have to do what we can as private citizens to keep it going, as we have done in the past.

            US seems to be the whipping boy in this thread, but for all our faults and misguided wars there is much good we have accomplished also. It’s a shame everyone here wants to jump on and insult each other.

            I spent over two weeks in Stockholm back in 1983. I found Swedes to be the warmest and kind people in most of Europe. Most people I met had been to the States and looked forward to returning.
            So at least those folks didn’t find us all that bad.


          • True Paul, the oil revenue helps a lot to pay for all the cultural investments, but that’s circumstancial, not crucial. Finland has comparable public spending than Norway or other Scandinavian nations for the art, culture and art education, yet Finland has no oil revenue. It’s the mindset of the people first how to spend their public money. Scandinavians do not have a parasitic military-industrial complex to maintain like the US.

            To your second paragraph: I don’t think I ignore facts. I said the culture scene in the US is (relatively) poor, got then jumped at by some US supremacists who can’t stand being back row second fiddle, and I then showed some numbers to prove it. If there was no mindset of public funding for the arts in the US, that might explain it why there is so little support for culture, arts and arts education.

            To your last paragraph: In 1983 many people all over the world found the US a great country. That has changed radically with the unilateral and belligerent policies of G.W.Bush or probably more precisely with the policies of Dick Cheney.

  55. Art funding helps create every student architect and engineer, every motion picture ever made. Curious, every scientific creative idea has come through our connection and education to the arts.

  56. RailroadMike says:

    Anything to save a buck for the rich. Third world countrys set aside music programs for their kids and start them on the path to music at age 2 !

    • Sean Hellems says:

      Good Good, then you should have no problem doing that on your own, for your own child, right? Why are you waiting for someone else to fund the NEA? Why can’t you send in a donation? The government isn’t the maker of our future, we the people are.

      • An individual can’t set up a nation wide arts education program. A government can. Duh!

  57. Romney isn’t doing this to save money. This is just a publicity ploy to pander to his base. Most of his die-hard constituents think of the arts as something the “elites” do and are disparaged by Joe Sixpack. Those of you who are arguing that this is something Romney is doing to help the economy need to wake up.

    • Allison Disher says:

      here here! I agree!

      • another orchestra musician says:

        Absolutely. It’s a continuation of the Culture Wars, with Romney fishing for the support of the pickup truck and shotgun crowd. As Republican politicians have frequently done in years past, Romney is hoping that by appealing to less-educated voters at a visceral level, he can prevent them from using their brains. Romney and his ilk well know that the privilege they enjoy is paid for largely on the backs of America’s working class, who have to be tricked into voting against their own best interest if Romney is to have a chance at the Presidency.

  58. So if the NEA gets cut, will arts programs in the military get cut as well? Don’t forget there are military bands too. Who will play in the military bands if arts programs for kids disappear?

  59. It’s plainly clear that Mr. Romney will cut significantly the taxes on folks like Mr. Romney, who already pays a smaller percentage of tax on his income than I (and it should be noted that–until last week–I was unemployed since June 2010.

    That being said, since everyone loves to argue about the Constitution and the intentions of our Founding Fathers, I offer these words from John Adams: “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, natural history and naval architecture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain.”

    Need anyone dare to say more?

    • Sean Hellems says:

      I’m sorry…but where does the government fit in? Adams says he’s studying those things, so that his sons may have the liberty to do those things–not that the government would do it for them. The NEA doesn’t get most of it’s funding from the government—only a modest amount. If you’re so concerned, why don’t you fork out some of your own money?

  60. If youve ever been to Utah, Salt Lake City, you’ll see how religion has turned civilisation into robots, drones. It’s a like a horror movie, even the ‘beer’ is de-alchoholised. Beyond Crazy!!

  61. Sean Hellems says:

    You all make the assumption that if the federal government, which has no authority to fund the NEA, doesn’t fund the NEA, then it won’t get any funding. Why don’t you fork out some of your own money and send to the NEA? No. You’d rather have the government steal from others to do so. I’m all for ending wars and corporate welfare, but why don’t you quit complaining and stop acting as if you’re entitled to have someone Else’s money pay for the arts. This isn’t the role of the federal government. It’s time to cut back–ACROSS THE BOARD. If you want the NEA to still get the MODEST amount of money that it gets from the federal government, then why don’t you send in more taxes, or why not just send in a donation to the NEA, instead of complaining and whining about someone else not paying their fair share. There’s a role for the government, and this isn’t it.

    • @Sean Hellems
      Does this sound familiar? ” We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

      It seems to me that small seed funds from our federal government to NEA, NEH & NPR qualify as actions taken to insure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty. That is indeed a function of government. Including modest, leading contributions to these venerable institutions acknowledges the work they do as a public good.

      The focus of the NEA is to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The mission of NPR is to work in partnership with member stations to create a more informed public – one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.

      Creativity, innovation, knowledge of history, an informed public. In what universe are these “luxuries”? Allocating less than 1% of our national budget towards these efforts is a very small price to pay for a vital investment in the American public. As Thomas Jefferson said, “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic.”

  62. Can we keep those things and just stop spending billions & billions of dollars on hyper sonic planes that are incapable of flying without crashing into the ocean? I like it when my money isn’t wasted in a fiery crash. I’m sure there are other cuts like this that can be made.

  63. Despite the current example, the presidency is not an oligarchy from which summary edicts are made. We all still have representation in government whom we elect to carry our will to the table of government as part off our checks and balances.

    This story and its chest -beating takes advantage of the paucity of knowledge regarding the limitations and capabilities of our civil architecture and permit broad accusations influence our reactions then we deserve precisely what these sort of spin-meisters intend as the effect of such fear mongering. Civics is not only for ninth graders.

    This is a distraction from issues of substance, made inflammatory by targeting “the arts” to a selected (also known as “discriminated”) audience. If you really support the arts, do you patronize them? When was the last time any of you went to the symphony, opera, ballet or museum besides some day when it was free (usually sponsored by those evil corporations to boot)?

    • @ asc — Does nine years and counting of volunteer (as in non-paid) services as a producer of monthly free public concerts qualify as supporting the arts? I think so.

      Alas, Mr. Romney’s cut out the NEA, etc statements are largely ,as another earlier poster wrote, mostly intended as a means to rally his base against the “undeserving others” in this case, the “elite artsy folks.” It’s a companion piece to the FALSE statements made about welfare. (“the lazy poor”) Talk about your blame tactics! There’s no substance here.

      The meta-message is blame the tax & spend Democrats. An actual serious consideration of the federal budget would require a close inspection of much more than the low hanging fruit making up less than 1% of the total budget. And let us not forget that NO president from ANY party can wave a magic wand and turn the economy around. It’s going to be a slow slog no matter what. So are we going to protect our most vulnerable or turn on each other “every man for himself” while justifying such as a temporary measure?

      That said, you are correct that we still have a say in our government. I stay in regular contact with my representatives and keep a close eye on their stances and voting records. I let them know when I think they’ve done well as well as when I am unhappy with their actions, and I offer concrete suggestions. I back this up with grass-roots efforts supporting my candidates of choice.

      Finally, to the Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Kennedy families (and others) thank you very much for what you’ve done as philanthropists.

  64. Sorry reality hurts but I agree with the comment by Sean Hellems. I’ve been in the arts for 30 years and never asked or expected a handout from anyone. The government needs to be run like responsible people run their households. Yeah, it sucks when I can’t buy the Windsor Newton series 7 brush until I sell my next painting but when I do get that brush, the strokes that flow from it are really going to mean something.

    A little fact that we all take for granted is that of all us get to have this open free conversation mainly because of the sacrifice of the people who went down in those fiery jets you talk about. Do you really understand that FREEDOM is not FREE. China is on it;s way to owning us and your rights as an human will be threatened not just your paint supplies. Grow up people. I too would love no war and hostility in the world.

    Maybe Putan who just imprisoned the punk band and the Jihadist’s who would love nothing more than to see your CHILDREN burning to death right before your eyes can stop by for some tea and discuss peace and freedom with us.

    Give me a break and get back to painting, sculpting, writing, and composing and be grateful for what you have earned and help others who are in need.

    • “The government needs to be run like responsible people run their households.”

      That is exactly what Romney wants you to think, because it allows him and other 1%ers to tell you bald faced lies and convince you that you need to turn out YOUR pockets to chip in to clean up a mess caused by special interests controlling sums of money so huge that you can’t even fathom them. There is a tiny tiny population of people controlling not only the vast majority of wealth, but also playing by their own set of rules. And they are spending billions of dollars to delude people like you into believing the garbage that you just typed out. You are a slave doing work for your masters and you don’t even know it

    • “The government needs to be run like responsible people run their households.”

      How come this argument is always applied to ‘small-drop-in-the-bucket’ items like NEA or NPR funding, but not to the ridiculous war&defense&homeland security budgets?

  65. Naturally, Romney would cut the funding for the Arts! The Mormons are tight fisted, non-original entities contributing very little to the arts over the years.
    Okay, we do have Donny and Marie and the lovely Tabernackel choir but I can’t think of one artist whether it be a musician or a hands on artiste’, actor or director that has done anything spectacular for the arts in this country. Maybe I am wrong. I do hope so.
    I had heard that public broadcasting was too liberal and leftist sometime ago and should be defunded from the government. That is a shame, for sure.
    Years ago, many school programs cut out the arts from their curriculum and grade point averages plummeted.
    Young people need the expression and chance to use their creativity to think and develop properly. To create something, to read something, to listen to or create music, to go to a museum, is all part of our society. Can you imagine what life would be like without introduction to actual music or art? It would be graffiti and hip hop. OMG.
    I am so afraid of this man, Mitt Romney. Life isn’t all about money. It is about our senses and our ability to enjoy the more pleasurable things in life.

  66. Pat Roison says:

    Romney seems to have a problem with America borrowing money from other countries – but I don’t see him calling for an end to that.

  67. Why doesn’t he steal lunch money and kick sand in our faces too….

  68. Richard Wenninger says:

    Why is the government involved in ART anyways?? What does that have to do with governing? Isn’t that akin to stealing art supplies from your neighbors!?

    • because as many people here have noted, when the government gives money to arts organizations, it results in a net POSITIVE gain for the economy. So by giving money to these orgs, communities, minds, bank accounts, and the deficit are all improved.

      Still think we should we just cut it all away like Romney wants?

    • It’s the same reason why the government is involved in rocket science. Or at least it should be.
      To push civilization forward for the common good.

  69. Don’t you think that this is just a token statement? I really don’t believe Mitt Romney cares a fig about the arts (actually I know it). His culture is that of money and only money, aside from his dancing horse, which belongs to his wife, anyway.

    I think he’s saying this because he believes that there are people who would vote for him because he is against the NEA. After all, they support all sorts of controversial (read anti-Christian to a neo-cultural-conservative) displays of expression. (Remember the stink about Mapplethorpe’s photographs?)

    That he doesn’t care about music is evident. I think his singing of America the Beautiful demonstrates that state of his ear. Let’s just hope that he leaves the public eye after this election is over, and the presidency remains in Presiden Obama’s capable hands for another four years.

  70. Only the ignorant would object to support of the arts by all of us. Without the arts, we have no culture. We will revert to cave man status. Is the wealth of a nation not intended to provide a good living environment. Why not finish cutting down all the trees, while they’re at it. There’s money there.

  71. Sorry NEA. You lost my support when you sponsored “Piss Christ.” When you decide once again to elevate the human spirit and what is best in man, rather than waste tax dollars to go for shock value, I might have more sympathy.

  72. Romney says that those programs must “stand on their own”? Just like he did when he started Bain? He did not stand on his own. He relied on the blood money of the same Salvadoran families that were funding death squads in El Salvador. Mitt Romney has never stood on his own. He has stood on the backs of others, and relied on the blood money of others. Pitiful creature.

  73. If Mitt has a problem with the US borrowing money from other countries, why did he borrow foreign money (Salvadoran death squad families) to start Bain?

  74. I’m an artist and an art teacher. I dont think the government should pay for anyones ridiculous art projects. down with the National Endowment for the arts, I’m all for it. I think PBS is an important asset. We need a source on TV that isn’t funded and swayed by private interests. Romney’s still an idiot. Ron Paul 2013

  75. I love the casual air of slight regret Romney offers as he takes out the axe (“I very much appreciate and like what they do…”), but he’s fooling no one. I’m sure he buys the line of the hard Right that the arts–which by definition means things that don’t “stand on their own” (What arts-related endeavor does? Is he including the Dark Knight Rises and The Hangover 2?.)–are made by and for people on the Left, people who will never vote for them, people who do them no good. And in the empathy-challenged atmosphere of the Right, those who are not like you, and do not walk in lockstep with you, or who dare challenge you, deserve nothing. Not content to support the arts because it is a crucial statement that a nation can make to the rest of the world about it’s culture and way of life (a statement that most places in the world are happy to put public funds toward), for Romney the arts must ape the business world, and make cash registers ring for him to acknowledge their existence. Museums don’t turn profits, ballet companies and symphony orchestras don’t turn profits, regional theaters don’t turn profits. They exist ( to the extent they still do) because people believe in them, believe they are worthwhile.

  76. Reading all this makes me really glad that I live in Europe and not the USA. I am Scottish and live (now) in Germany. Years of working in the Arts has made me understand how important the Arts and Culture are to both local and national communities, both in terms of aesthetic enrichment and financial stimulus. Europe is a part of the world where the majority of politicians realise that funding, no matter how limited, is necessary for a population that has a rich artistic heritage historically. Despite recent cuts, some small and some large in different countries throughout Europe, the Arts – Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, Museums, etc, etc – and Arts education remains an important and essential part of life. It enriches the whole area both in terms of personal aesthetic fulfillment and as an industry, an industry well worth investing in for the employement it offers as well as the multitude of benefits it offers the general public. Luckily, for all of us in Europe, the majority of the politicians who have any clout know that the Arts is not a part of life that makes much difference to a national budget deficit, and most governments here continue to acknowledge that funding of the Arts and Culture is a way of life. In the old days it was done by patronage of rich and royal. Nowadays it is no different, it is just the royals have for the most part been replaced by enlightened governments.

    • Paul D. Sullivan, Arlington/Boston US says:


      I may agree with you that you are better off in Germany than Scotland or the US. But this denies history and cultural facts. The US was first populated by European immigrants, first as workers to enrich the European nobility, then by tose looking for Religious, economic and social freedom. For better or worse these are the founding tenets of my country. We are a relatively new nation and have never had the deep cultural roots of Europe. We are an immigrant, multicultural country founded on principles of a Laissez-faire government which has swelled to the monster we have now over time controlled by special interests, religion and multinational corporations. Europe, until recently, has consisted of homogenous racial, religious and class oriented societies leaving little or no political, economic, religious or social freedoms to the disenfranchised, which is why, in the past, and today people still emigrate here. Most no doubt didn’t come from the aristocracy.

      So again I state that for better or worse, public funding of the arts/culture was not and is not part of our past, and those who say it is duty deny the facts of history and culture (no matter how dumbed down it is here and many European countries also).

      I would also venture to say Ks that the enlightened view of a German government is also a very recent phenomenon. People rail here about our ridiculous wars and massive defense spending. I would like no better than to pull all of our troops, Navy and forces out of every single base outside of the US and bring them back. I’m sick to death of it, and the horrendous cost to the US taxpayer. Many people thought this way in WWII. Even if Britain and the US had not invaded Europe, the USSR would still have won and occupied all of Europe. It nearly bankrupt Britain and I wonder how West Germany would have fared under Stalin, instead of under the umbrella of Britain and the US who nurtured their first democracy and contributed hugely to the rebuilding, and of their nation. Even today the much maligned US military has contributed to a long phase of global stability. I’m sick of it and would like to see the EU and Japan take over. We are in decline and can no longer afford it. It’s your time now. But there is little discussion of this.

      Our country is now going through a social and economic, and political upheaval, and there is little time to worry about art and culture. There are more important issues at hand. Our time is done. You can now deal with the Chinese.

      One thing that really strikes me about this site is the mean-spirited and lack of any real solutions to problems. People are just as polarized here as in the States. Constant denigration of of any classical artist that trys to think out of the box. Anyone that likes the lighter side side of the classics are looked down upon, when an orchestra tries something to appeal to a wider audience they are jumped on. I see little hope of anything changing under these circumstances. Why does no one offer solutions instead of constant whining. Why not tell us your ideas to bring in a new and younger audience who are not or ever will be highly educated in classical / orchestral music. I’m almost afraid to admit to the pieces that I first enjoyed at concerts through fear of being stomped on as uneducated. They all seem to have disappeared from the stage now and we are told by the pundits they are not worth listening to. Oh well, at least I still have my ipod.


  77. Romney’s proposed reduction of arts funding is the least of the worries for not just America, but I suspect the world at large, with political and religious polarisation almost certain (but hey, if he gets in I’d be happy to be wrong on this).

    Obama’s campaign makes a very big mistake to focus on trying to match the campaign funding of the Republican oligarchs, especially if this comes at the expense of feet on the ground getting people registered to vote.

    It is true that part of what the Obama team are up against is that most people get their information from popular media, which I understand is awash with misinformation from the oligarch-funded Republican campaign.

    But most of the disenfranchised voters are potential Democrat voters, and the Republicans know this well – have done for many decades and many campaigns.

    The income distribution curve is right-skewed, with the bulk of people in the lower income brackets. Funny how economists and economic commentators tend to discuss the mean or average, which is always above the mode in such right-skewed distributions. The bulk of the voting population is to be found in the mode, not the mean. The mean favours Republicans, the mode is where – as far as I can tell from my readings over the years – potential Democrat voters are.

    There is one window that matters. This is the voting window on voting day. Prior to that, the registration deadline in each state is the target to watch. All Republicans have to do is keep the Democrats distracted long enough for these deadlines to pass with minimally registered potential Democrat voters, and the Republicans may well cross the line.

    The Republicans know this. I have seen commentary in past elections pertaining to tactics to minimse voter registration.

    Conversely, if the Democrats get enough people registered, it might come down to some farcical thing like hanging chads again. Then the Republicans need the right people in decision making positions to create arbitrary cut-offs (as occurred in Florida – counting was discontinued before it was completed), and they may cross the line. But it’s tougher of course, because there is some accountability in the process, just not enough sometimes, and sometimes those sometimes count! The Republicans don’t care HOW they cross the line. Only THAT they cross the line. So they will not hesitate to cross the line in order to cross the line! Of course, some may say the same of Democrats. But in my observations over the years, I have seen more high-handed unscrupulous behaviour from the oligarchs, some of which is not criminal but borders on it.

  78. I would say to anyone here who is unhappy with the Republican agenda, and who lives in America. If you are a capable person, you need to do more than just whinge and bitch on a blogsite. You need to get involved, get feet on the ground, and get people registered to vote.

    Talking in circles or among self-reinforcing cliques does nothing practical. If you are actively involved, good on you. I talk from experience, not as a couch potato

    I don’t live in the U.S. of A, but I have been involved in political campaigns, where we had far far less resources than our opponents. We were hands on. We didn’t win, but punched above our weight, and kicked ass, knocking out an opponent from a major party along the way. We made a difference, which in our particular case had a ripple effect, flowing onto a couple more elections where we really did make a difference. Not only that but our candidate got head-hunted and ended up influencing some key government policy. But you have to be involved. And you don’t have to do hatred towards your opponent. We didn’t. You just have to be actively involved. That’s how to make our forms of democracy work.

    Never mind the ephemeral epiphenomena of talkfests, other than as a vehicle to generate practical outcomes. If a practical outcome is not achieved, it’s all in vain.

    Of course, Republican supporters may take note and get involved. But actually that’s part of the point. They are far more likely to.

    And if they win because of getting involved while Democrat supporters didn’t well, I may disagree with the Republican platform, and I may think oligarchy reigns supreme, but I could hardly condemn the fact that they made an effort.

  79. Am volunteering to drive people to get Voter ID’s and registration. That said, I think Romney’s intentions speak to his values. He obviously places no value on art and humanites which to me is an indication that he has no soul, no authentic self. Additionally, he’s sending our standing with the rest of the world further back down the ladder.

    • Good on you Wendelyn. You are doing not just a good thing, but the right and practical thing. In doing so you empower yourself and others: this is democracy in action. It is what nationhood is about: individuals who alone are not the nation and can do little, but collectively ARE the nation and can do good as a nation.

      As a non-American, watching events unfold throughout the world over the decades, I do think that Obama is a better option. Indeed I’m impressed with the man and admire his wife. The election of Obama in the first place was significant for the message America as a nation sent to the world, and many people throughout the world celebrated this fact. Overall, it was a happy moment on Earth itself.

      Of course, he inherited a poisoned chalice. The Republicans knew that, as did every intelligent, rational observer throughout the world, regardless of their leanings (and regardless of whether they’d be prepared to acknowledge this publicly). Obama was faced with a major catch-22 situation from the outset. As in a game of chess, or a political or military campaign, he made a forced move.

      From the Republican camp, it was just a matter of waiting, because there was no way his administration could turn the situation around in the space of one election cycle. Anyone who follows socio-political phenomena anywhere in the world knows that.

      But as every good political campaigner knows (and especially Republicans, who are among the best campaigners of all), over time, you can insert doubt into the minds of voters (who after all are caught up in the contingencies of living their own lives), with the theme of “yeah, how come he hasn’t fixed things up?” – the theme is at time explicit, but often implicit. The seed of doubt is all that’s needed for ambivalence to set in. And if said ambivalent person isn’t even registered to vote, well, he or she may not bother to take that step. And if they don’t take that step, they cannot influence the election outcome, which is the only goal that matters.

      It matters to say what we think, that we can say what we think, and that others who we disagree with can say what they think. I could never condemn that, though I might challenge rhetoric that has a secondary (or even tertiary) disempowering agenda. Speaking up and speaking out is part of what makes societies that we are fortunate enough to be born into worth wanting to live in.

      I would say only to people that there are times when action matters. Sometimes words are the action. In the present case, words matter, but voter registration is the clincher. Everything else becomes irrelevant on voting day. And every good campaign strategiest knows this.

      The Republicans know what really matters: voting day, and what is possible ON that day. If, in the lead up to that crucial day, some possibilities have been negated because the Democrats were distracted, this raises the odds in favour of the Republicans (hey, one less variable to worry about: reduce the variables to that which you have control over: and pitch some balls from left field so the opponents are chasing their tails at the crucial moment. Are we there? Yassiree. Eat mah grits. Eeehah). Whatever we think of them and their platform, Republicans are consumate campaigners.

      In my own experience campaigning, and observation of campaigns over the years in various countries, I have seen poor arguments succeed with good campaigning. And good arguments fail with political naivety and poor campaigning. And I should note that some of the best campaigning that I’ve seen was behind the scenes: I’ve been part of them.

      So what you are doing matters. It’s also highly educational in the process, in ways that only experiential phenomena can be. I would suggest that you see if you can get others to volunteer, and encourage them to get others to volunteer: get a snowball going. You can’t stop an avalanche: you have to get out of the way.

  80. Art is a necessity, not a luxury!

  81. Art is a necessity. There have been a lot of studies lately linking arts education as a necessity to the more cognitive driven workplace we are operating in these days. America is now an intellectually driven economy and to craft the best thinkers that can propel innovation forward, we need people who are creative across platforms, well educated and intellectually diverse. So cutting education and programs that fund the arts is counter-intuitive to what America really needs from its next generation of people. Also what everyone was saying at the top is also true. Government arts funding pales absolutely compared to spending on Medicare, Social Security and Defense Spending. Medicare and Social Security are two of the largest government expenditures, with I think Defense Spending coming in even after that. Understanding finances is not difficult, you can either cut what you spend and you can increase your revenue. I hear a lot of talk these days about cutting what we spend and almost no talk about increasing revenue aside from taxing “rich” people. This is exactly the kind of arena where we need the cognitively creative thinking that the arts and a creatively rich education would provide.

  82. This is such bullshit. if these idiotic self-serving republicans would finally give up on their lie that tax cuts increase revenue, and that “job creators” (who rarely create jobs but seem to be very good at creating offshore bank accounts)invest and grow the economy we might get somewhere. Deficits boomed under Reagan and Bush Jr because of this tax cut foolishness. If we really want to spend more than all the other nations in the world combined on defense then let the more affluent pay a bit more taxes. The endless tax cuts to the wealthy and to industry only create wealth for those people, they create nothing lasting for society. They don’t educate children or offer different visions of the world or compel your imagination to flower. These Romneys and Ryans are terrible shallow people, take this jerk called Mitt, born into a privileged background all he could think to do was to make his own exponentially larger fortune and then live some kind of nightmarish Ozzie and Harriet life. Who could stand to be married to that terrible plastic lady who was shipped into the twenty-first century for 1950. And what can any of these people even talk about or imagine, except this little narrow selfish vision of life. These cuts would drastically further the US in its rush into decline, its determination to be small stupid and greedy, and well, we have to hope that the extraordinary difference in life style, and values, between the Romneys and the majority of the rest of the country will beevident, and that we can get Obama reelected, with all of his flaws. At least he seems to be an interesting and provocative thinker.

    • @Nathan. As you say, Obama seems to be an interesting and provocative thinker. Indeed I think his intellect is self-evident. As I’ve said before, the main game for those who live in the U.S., who care, and who are able to, is to get involved. Network and get people registered to vote.

      In campaigning though, it matters not to hammer on people’s heads, to use a phrase once said to me in relation to health promotion. The trick is to encourage people to empower themselves by registering and voting, not make them feel they are being coerced to vote for a given candidate. The bulk of disenfranchised voters are likely to be Democrat voters, so it’s a numbers game: and if some of them vote for the other guy, well that’s their right, and what democracy is all about.

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