The Playgoer: GOP vs NEA

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Friday, October 07, 2005


Will Katrina relief and the cause of "offset spending" finally give Republicans the cover they need to cut the NEA? No. They're seeking to eliminate it.

An advisory panel composed of over 100 Republican members of the House of Representatives has recommended ending all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)....The Republican Study Committee recommended that the two agencies be eliminated as part of its "RSC Budget Options 2005" report.

The "RSC" eliminating the NEA? No doubt the irony is lost on them.

Read the full details in Backstage. The report tried to quell fears by reassuring us most of these cuts (including $105 mil in federal NEA funding) "could easily be funded by private donations." Easily, huh. I'm not sure Development Directors would put it quite that way. (What conservatives always neglect is that federal grants are essential "leverage" in securing those very same "private donations." One begets the other.)

Other highlights:

"As with the NEA, the general public benefits very little" from the NEH, the report declares, "and it could easily be funded by private donations. Savings: $2 billion over ten years ($769 million over five years)."

..."CPB and PBS [saith the report] continue to use federal funding to pay for questionable programming, such as a documentary on sex education funded by the Playboy Foundation. Additionally, much of the programming on PBS, such as 'Sesame Street,' could bring in enough annual revenues to cover the loss of federal funding. Savings: $5.6 billion over ten years ($2.2 billion over five years)."
The report does not indicate specifically how programs such as "Sesame Street" could raise that revenue.

Oh, and in case anyone thinks the states will pick up the tab, check out what's going on in Michigan. 17.5% cuts. Under a Democratic governor!

Keep up with the ongoing struggle over at Americans for the Arts.

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