What Are the Priorities?

Should the federal government provide funding for the arts or National Public Radio?

My own view is that both the National Endowment for the Arts and National Public Radio are largely subsidies for the upper middle class, they can well afford to fund both themselves (and largely do), that public radio in particular is an idea whose time has past, and I would rather see the federal government spend money on evidence-based programs that help inner city black kids than on the NEA or NPR.

I recognize there’s a fallacy in my response: even if funding for the NEA or NPR were zeroed out it’s unlikely that additional money will be spent on programs that help inner city black kids. How about the program most likely to help inner city black kids: jobs for their parents?

This discussion is an excellent example of the main advantage conveyed by holding the White House and majorities in both houses of the Congress—the power to set the agenda. Why are we talking about this? Because the budget submitted by President Trump cuts funding for the NEA and NPR and increases military spending.

My agenda would be drastically different from either Democrats or Republicans in that not only would I defund the NEA and NPR, I’d cut military spending commensurate with a reduction in a reduction in the missions we’re asking our military to perform.

Maybe it’s my own blockheadedness but I fail to see why we should be deploying special forces to two-thirds of the countries in the world. I also recognize that there are others who think we should be spending a lot more money on the NEA and NPR and spending more on our military. I wonder where they expect to get the money to do it? Especially since we’re already extracting about as much money from the private sector as at any time in our history with the exception of the depths of World War II.

5 comments… add one
  • Gray Shambler

    They have to want jobs first. Mexicans will travel anywhere to work, and always find it.

    About military spending, you can make any argument sound good.
    What’s a few billion more dollars if it saves even one American life?
    I think Trump just has too many generals in his cabinet. What else would they advise?

  • Fiddle dee dee. Illegals’ labor is discounted by 20% or more. Of course they always find work.

  • Andy

    My view on this hasn’t changed – I love NPR, listen every day, and support my local station, but I don’t believe it needs federal funds anymore. As for the arts, I think the feds should limit expenditures to commissioning public art projects.

    I think you are right about NPR and the upper class. My local station (Orlando) has small advertisements asking for corporate sponsorship. As part of the pitch they point out that the median income for station listeners is $92k a year, or almost double the state median income.

    However, I really would like to see a 2-3 year transition period to give organizations time to plan and adjust but our political system doesn’t believe in planning or the long term.

  • Gustopher

    Balance NPR and the NEA against sports teams, and it’s not so egregious. NPR is funded in part on a national level, while sports teams are local, and NPR appeals to upper-middle class while sports teams appeal to a lower class, but that’s about the only difference.

    People want to spend a bit of their tax money on entertainment.

    I live in a city that is richer for having both, even if I think the sports teams are stupid.

  • Jimbino

    The big gummint racist sin, leading even that of public universities, is the acquisition and maintanence of public lands, like national parks and forests, which are no more than country clubs for our senior white citizens. I challenge you to show me that our Black, Brown or even Red ciizens are treated anywhere near fairly in that racist spending of our national patrimony.

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