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US congressional committee calls for 50% arts cut

It’s horse-trading and pork-barrel scraping at its worst, but the House of Representative’s committee on appropriations has passed a bill that would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts by 49 percent. Read here.

America, the beautiful.


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  1. Even if the cuts pass in the House of Representatives, they will not pass the Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats. The majority party in the House is the Republicans, who have — and this is the most charitable way to phrase it — gone completely ’round the bend.

    • Because Democrats haven’t done the same in their own special way? Both parties have gone more than a little loopy in the head lately.

      • No. Quite simply, the Democrats are not perfect, but the Republicans have gone completely insane.

      • robcat2075 says:

        No, the Democrats have not spent the last 20 years beating the drum for an insane economic ideology and sounding red-alerts over imaginary threats as the Republicans have.

        That false equivalency, “Oh dear, both parties are the same!”, is all the smoke screen the crazy people need to slip into power.

  2. Ghillie Forrest says:

    The Rep, Hal Rogers of Kentucky, refers to the arts endowments and the related programmes mentioned as “nice-to-have,” rather than essential components of a culture. That’s what you’re up against with all too many Republicans. Not so surprising in a nation founded on resistance to tax, a philosophy that informs American history, and hardly a shock when the Repubs don’t believe the taxpayer should fund health care, let alone ballet. Apparently the only thing worth the taxpayers’ money is weaponry — and the odd irrelevant porkbarrel project.

  3. If you allow that the Government has the authority to confiscate people’s earned income to promote the arts, then you have to allow that the Government has the authority to confiscate a greater portion people’s earned income for the sciences, since the Government is primarily interested in expanding its empire and it needs scientists and engineers to do that, not piano players.

    Just get the Government out of it altogether and let people keep their earned income and choose for themselves whether to spend their money on war or music. You might be surprised what people will choose if given an option.

  4. Gurnemanz says:

    The way things are going in America, with Detroit bust and California teetering on the edge of it, in the not so distant future any discussion of financing the National Endowment for the Arts will be of a purely academic nature. There simply won’t be any money left…

  5. I just want to point out that, while this debate is important, it is largely symbolic; the budget of the NEA is already so small that it doesn’t make all that much of an impact on the arts in America, beyond some advocacy work. Some large, famous organizations like the NY Philharmonic or the San Francisco Opera might get big (meaning $75K-$100K) grants (a few drops in their huge buckets) but most organizations get nothing, and the ones that do make it through the overwhelming application process are most likely to get a grant of $10K-25K. That’s a nice grant but it’s not funding anybody’s most ambitious programs. In fact, the application process is so onerous that many organizations don’t even bother with it.

    I see this whole debate completely through my selfishness, because the organization I work for applied for a large grant in the last round and I felt confident that we would get a larger award than we have been accustomed to. Now, I feel like we’ll probably get $10K (the minimum) and we’ll be glad to see it.

  6. It’s very misleading to say that they “passed a bill” … the committee cannot actually pass anything, but only propose it. Only Congress can pass a bill, and it must receive a majority vote in both houses before it passes. Then it is subject to presidential veto and must be voted on again before it becomes law.

  7. Michael says:

    Classical music as we know it today has had its support from the rich and powerful, religious organizations and nondemocratic governments. Since the mid 1800s when recording devices were making their appearance music has become democratized. People now have a choice. Unfortunately, many in the classical genre have maintained a parochial/provincial attitude and have not adapted or refuse to adapt to the changing paradigm. No other genre needs support in this manner.

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