Trump Eyes Endowment Eliminations

President Donald Trump’s first budget plan has some winners and some losers, the latter including funding for the arts, which could take a big hit if the proposal is passed as is. Among entities that would be completely shuttered are the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Mark Humphrey/AP
– President Donald Trump
Speaking at a rally in Nashville, Tenn.

The endowments were created when legislation was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 and this is the first time a president has proposed getting rid of them. The two endowments combine for an annual budget of $300 million; total annual budgetary discretionary spending is $1.1 trillion, according to the New York Times.

The Washington Post listed several of the worst-case scenarios with the passage: the demise of Bert and Ernie, of course, along with programs like community orchestra performances, new plays from an emerging playwright, library classes in Braille, and art therapy for returning veterans.

The NEA has a $148 million budget, the NEH a $148 million budget and the CPB a $445 million budget, according to the Post. “The idea that civil society is going to step in and take up all these shortfalls is farfetched,” one activist told the paper.

Robert Lynch, head of Americans for the Arts, added that in 2013, for example, 42 percent of nonprofit arts groups operated at a loss. Last year, the NEA sent $47 million to 50 states and five jurisdictions, the paper said.

“The hotel will feature important restaurants and entertainment venues that will host many family-oriented activities and entertainment events year-round,” Young said. “Where can a high-roller send his kids? … This complements every casino in the city.”