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.