Tuesday, August 5, 2008

50 Days, 50 Ways: National Endowment for the Arts

Americans spend over $27 billion each year on non-profit arts funding. Americans give $11.5 billion in charitable donations, buy $14 billion in tickets, and all levels of government kick in an additional $1.3 billion. That doesn't include arts programs in the private sector.

Art and music are good things. But not every good thing needs to come from the federal government.

The $126 million we spend each year on the National Endowment for the Arts isn't much compared to what we spend on arts programs overall, but it does politicize art. By using tax dollars to pick one artist over another, we are promoting one point over another. And when taxpayers protest that they should not be forced to pay for art that they find offensive, or simply bad, they are right.

The government should never be in the position to shut down unpopular artistic expression. Likewise, it should not be promoting it. Eliminating federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts would remove this unnecessary government intrusion, and save taxpayers $126 million a year.


Matt said...

Have you looked into how the money is spent? The NEA has been out of the market of choosing artists f a long time. It eiminated direct grants to artists years ago. The majority of funds goes to projects like "The Big Read" - a campaign to encourage Americans to read more - and projects that help soldiers share their experiences in Iraq and Afganistan. If you're looking to cut costs, I'd start with the "Comfort Capsules": http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/17/AR2008071703161.html

Grant Bosse said...

Thanks for the comment. I have no doubt that the NEA and the NEH provide funds for some very valuable projects. But the federal government should not be the source of funding for every valuable project. With the enormous amount of arts funding available in the private sector and through voluntary contributions, I simply can not support taking taxpayer dollars for the NEA, however sympathetic some of its beneficiaries.

We need candidates willing to stand up for taxpayers, and put a stop to runaway federal spending. That means opposing popular programs, as well as unpopular ones.

Again, thanks for the comment.