New Report: Trump administration to cut Endowment of the Arts, privatize PBS
Just ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration was the story that the President will act quickly to approve budget-cutting plans that would outsource public radio and television financing while eliminating all of the federal support of the arts and humanities.
The Hill reported that under recommendations by the President-elect’s transition team, “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.
Brian Darling, a former aide to Sen. Rand Paul and former Heritage Foundation staff member, told The Hill, “The Trump Administration needs to reform and cut spending dramatically, and targeting waste like the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be a good first step in showing that the Trump Administration is serious about radically reforming the federal budget.”
The total budgets of the three entities for FY 2016 is $741 million, according to published documents — yes, nearly $1 billion.
Look for the GOP to take aim at PBS to set Big Bird free from the federal purse as well.
In addition, The Hill reported, “The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.”
Reaction to the report, from cultural organizations across the spectrum, was quick to emerge on social media and from major cultural organizations.
The Trump administration’s plans “are an outrageous abdication of the U.S. government’s proud history of support for groundbreaking research and creative endeavors that have served as engines of innovation and bolstered America’s stature as a haven for free thinkers and a global leader in humanity’s shared quest for knowledge,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN America, which advocates on behalf of writers and editors.
“This proposal sends shivers down the spine of all Americans who value research, scholarship, and creativity and who recognize the mortal blow that eliminating these vital agencies would strike at the heart of treasured sectors of our society. Even apart from the essential resources at stake, the signal sent by this gesture is a slap in the face to artists, writers, researchers, and scholars who are learning that the Administration seems to consider their work worthless.”
“What can one say to this news (if it is true) that has not been said a thousand times before about the (again, just talked about at this point) elimination or reversal of so many extraordinary programs in this country?” Lincoln Center Theater producing artistic director André Bishop told Deadline.
“Day by day one’s heart grows a little heavier. Eliminating the arts and humanities endowments? Who would have thought? To what end? Why are we still surprised every time this happens?”