Mitt Romney Will Eliminate National Endowment For The Arts

220px-Mitt_Romney_by_Gage_Skidmore_6In an interview for the forthcoming issue of Fortune Magazine, Mitt Romney explained (finally!) some specific things he'd do as president of the United States. Some of his plans were excellent, though outside the actual bounds of presidential power. (Presidents cannot, say, single-handedly will an American return to industrial dominance.) Presidents really do have extraordinary control over the United States' federal budget, however, so it's worth taking Mitt seriously when he says:

… there are programs I would eliminate. Obamacare being one of them but also various subsidy programs — the Amtrak subsidy, the PBS subsidy, the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases, but I just think they have to strand on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf.

At WashPo, Ezra Klein why this won't actually save very much money, though it'll certainly delight math-impaired deficit hawks.


  1. Wavin' Dave says

    What a vile little man is Mittens! I only get one vote, but it will never be for someone so disgusting and ignorant. C’mon November!

  2. Randy says

    If you want to save the country money, you need to cut down defense to a justifiable level. That must be the first action.

  3. Hue-Man says

    More Willard lies! Should read: “I’ll kill PBS and National Endowment for the Arts so I can cut MY taxes from 13% down to 0.89%.”

  4. says

    Guess that he’s not getting Big Bird’s vote. It’s not like PBS has any useful or educational children’s programming that has been proven to help children learn in their early years.

  5. OldGuy says

    Every Republican candidate comes up with this old chestnut. The fact is most of the boards of Symphonies, Opera companies and museums are fat cat Republicans. It is just a bone for the Teabaggers to gnaw on and basically nothing will change

  6. BeckieSays says

    What subsidies WONT he cut though ?

    This list is a list to appeal to the Tea Party freaks, who need to be motivated by the ideologies of vengeance, fear, hate, and anger.

    You can bet the midwest bible thumping soil destroying corn and soy monoculture subsidies would remain intact.

  7. Paul R says

    He’s delusional. Were he to try to cripple Amtrak and PBS, the response would be vicious. He and Ryan’s economic “plans” make no sense. Ryan wants to cut non-defense federal spending by 91% over the next 40 years. No sane economist of any inclination would support such an absurd notion.

    Jesse Helms tried for years to eliminate the NEA (because of Mapplethorpe), with no success. Lynne Cheney was head of the NEH with the stated goal of gutting it. She failed too. Public programs are popular because the public likes them. This is akin to privatizing the postal service and social security. It’s just talk.

  8. Guy says

    Mitt, hope you think that businesses should stand on their own too. No more bailouts for your banking friends. Or your farmer friends. Or your manufacturing friends.

  9. RWG says

    Eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities? And he has the nerve to call us “small-minded” because we insist on seeing his tax returns? If the American electorate are stupid enough to elect this cretin and his greedy cohorts to the highest offices in the land, we will deserve what we get.

  10. cbhermey says

    While we’re at it, let’s cut out the grants for upgrading and new airports, boost the road tax in fuel to a level that actually covers the cost of building and maintaining our highways, privatize the air traffic control, boost landing fees to a level that actually covers the cost of airport operations, eliminate TSA, privatize or eliminate the Postal Service…
    I could keep going, but the list would be too massive. Or… we could simply cut the military budget in half and we wouldn’t have to do any of the things that MR has suggested, and we’d still be ‘safe’.

  11. it isn't just me, is it? says

    “Penny wise and pound foolish” comes to mind. He doesn’t seem to have such detailed plans when it comes to tax loopholes.

    Enough people voted to put Obama in, let’s hope they can keep him in and give him a Congress that isn’t stalled by minority rule.

  12. walter says

    what about cutting oil subsidy payments or to corporate farms? cutting amtrak subsidies will us the only industrialized country without major passenger rail service and would increase dependency on oil. of course that would aid the cock brothers.

  13. Zeta says

    He can’t be serious. What is wrong with the half of America leaning towards voting for this doofus?

  14. mikenola says

    I always love hearing the crap the republicans like to pull concerning the debt. The facts are too easy to check.

    On the linked Romney page there is an interesting graphic. It says that the first 43 Presidents created a National Debt of 6.3 Trillion, and that Obama has created a 6.5 Trillion debt in his first 3 years. There are some problems with that claim.

    The first two years of Obama’s administration approximately 4.5 Trillion was added to the debt. The source of that debt however is where the problem lies. Bush Left an unfunded war, undocumented expenses and unaccounted for expenditures from both the wars he started.

    Bush left TARP undone

    Bush left a tanked economy, manufacturing segment in the toiled and the banks about to collapse.

    and he left 10 Trillion in unpaid debt, money borrowed from China to pay for his wars and tax cuts.

    During the Bush years the national debt grew 89%, during his presidency the National Debt per captia was 75.20

    Obama, so far has a national Debt per captia of 37.6 %.

    The icon of Republicans, Tea Partiers and Dominionists –Ronald Reagan, drove the National Debt up 188.60%

    His National Debt per capita grew to 168.2 %

    That is the era of political “expedience” that Romney, Ryan and the rest want us to return to.

    if you would like to see the a table of National Debt by president you can go to

  15. ncman says

    Are we borrowing money from other countries to pay for DEFENSE too? Or, is it only programs republicans don’t like that are funded with borrowed money?

  16. Tony says

    Since recent surveys show that more Republicans than Democrats watch PBS, I can only assume Mitt will be making a huge donation?

    Silly me…never mind…that would require following up what you say with action.

  17. Paul R says

    @MikeNoLa: I abhor Romney and Ryan, but it’s not debt per capita, which would have to be expressed in dollars. It’s as a percentage of GDP. Sorry if I sound like a jerk.

  18. Jesus Christ says

    Paul Ryan’s proposed budget includes elimination of corporate welfare and crop subsidies. Therefore the accusations of crony capitalism made by many of the commenters here are invalid.

  19. andrew says

    I am a liberal democrat and intend to vote for Obama/Biden. However, I agree with Romney that the government should stop funding the Arts, Humanities and Public TV. They should stand on there own or fail if not enough private citizens are willing to fund them.

  20. Gast says

    Can we continue to live on borrowed money? No!
    I don’t know about you my dear gay brothers and sisters, but what I read just now makes sense.

  21. Daniel Berry, NYC says

    by his so-called reasoning, i.e., money borrowed from other countries, a huge chunk of the Pentagon’s funding should be eliminated. We could never have gone into Iraq and Afghanistan without Chinese capital.

  22. EchtKultig says

    And cutting taxes on the 1% from 15% to 0% ISN’T crony capitalism? Romney would be the crony-in-chief! Paid trolls, please abandon these waters. Raise you white flags of surrender and leave. You’re not going to make a dent or a ripple here. You’re just wasting our time.

    Agree that the stupid agriculture subsidies have to go. President Obama signed a bill into law that ended most of the ethanol subsidies and import taxes. The right wing used breathtaking leaps of reasoning to call this a “tax increase”. Basically, anything Obama does to them has some hidden socialistic agenda.

  23. mike128 says

    Republicans always want to cut funding the NPR and the arts because educated and cultured citizens tend to vote Democrat. We already live in a country dominated by corporate (non)culture. The last thing we need to do is cut the meager amounts of money we have dedicated to actual creative programming.

  24. says

    Concerning important government programs he does not like and refuses to compromise about or at least discuss, Romney is like the Red Queen: “Off with their heads!”

  25. andrew says

    If fat cats want to go to the opera and museums, let them pay for it. It is a good place to start cutting government spending. And although, I am a strong believer in the need for a safety net for those in need, there are MANY people on welfare, food stamps, disability etc who are frauds. They are taking the tax dollars of hard working people fraudulently. This is an area where democrats are laxed in the oversight of these programs. Just as republicans ignore the billions in military waste.

  26. MMcMahon says

    Ryan “means it” when it comes to eviscerating government as a tool to help the middle class and improve society:

    He would end Medicare and replace it with inadequate vouchers, thereby causing recipients to pay $6,000 – $13,000 more per year. Ryan would raise taxes on the middle class by up to $2,000 per year. And he would destroy the government’s ability to invest in infrastructure, education, and other necessary things.

    But when it comes to reducing the deficit, Ryan is as much if not more of a fraud as virtually every other conservative has been for the past thirty years. The “savings” from all of Ryan’s proposed cuts and tax increases wouldn’t go to reducing the deficit. Instead, they would go to increasing military spending, and to $4.3 trillion in tax giveaways to millionaires and billionaires. Under Ryan’s plan, Romney would have paid less than 1% in taxes in 2010.

    As for the national debt, Ryan’s proposal would lead to an increase in the national debt from its 2010 level of 60% of GDP to a peak of nearly 175% by 2050 and remain at 100% or more of GDP through 2080.

    In short, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney aren’t offering a serious conversation about deficits. Instead, they are offering the GOP agenda of taking from the middle class to give to the wealthy on steroids.

  27. alex says

    @Andrew: “If fat cats want to go to the opera and museums, let them pay for it.”

    The NEA is much more than opera and museums. NEA programs include: 1) concerts at US military bases across the globe, 2) an arts-based recovery/therapy program for veterans returning from active duty, 3) educational programs for public schools, 4) a program to encourage reading in the US, 5) a public speaking program for high school students, and, 6) money for cities to improve low-income neighborhoods through the introduction of arts.

    But, let’s add some perspective. For 2012, the NEA appropriations amount was $146,020,992. That’s $400k every day.

    The 2012 Defense budget was $671 billion. If I did the math correctly, that’s $1.2 million spent every minute.

  28. andrew says

    Mike 128: “Educated and cultured citizens tend to vote democrat”. As a life long democrat, I would like to believe that, but I don’t because it isn’t true.

  29. AdamA says

    I mean, there’s always the chance he *genuinely* doesn’t understand what the benefit of such programs are, as he never had to. But *this* kid grew up in poverty and watched PBS, went to musicals, listened to This American Life, read poetry, and learned to paint–all in large part due to government funding. These funds exist to make sure that even in hard times, poor folks are still able to know what art is. It’s how you maintain a civilization in lean times and fat.

    And all to cut the tiniest fraction of a debt manufactured by a system that benefits the mega-rich? If you’re gay and you’re voting for this man, you’re betraying untold numbers of gay kids who really need things like this to convince themselves that life is worth it.

  30. STLMan2 says

    Seriously, I don’t have tons of money to give but I donate as much as I can to the arts. I donate modest amounts every year to Saint Louis local NRP, PBS, STL Contempary, STL Art Museum, STL Library, STL Symphony, Missouri Botanical Gardens. My partner and I take pleasure in supporting these local intuitions more than anything.

    Think about where you live and what art your enjoy. Support the institutions which give your area distinction and diversity. If Mittens is elected, the Dark Ages will be a reality.

  31. andrew says

    @Daws: I hope that you are right. However, the republicans may already be in the process of stealing the election with the passage in 19 states of voter photo I D laws. And Shelden Adelson, the Koch Bros and a host of other billionaires are going to spend some of their fortunes to politically destroy Obama.

  32. Diogenes Arktos says

    “Paul Ryan’s proposed budget…”

    it sounds like Romney hasn’t read it yet — not even during the vetting process for the VP! He even admitted as much when asked about Medicare.

  33. JellyBean says

    Has anyone thought what’s behind this? There are a lots of Gays in the arts. His hope is that these “artistic people” would have to go to other countries to work. He got rid of the Gays!

  34. noteasilyoffended says

    Why stop with eliminating those subsidies. Lets also eliminate the OIL SUBSIDIES and FARM SUBSIDIES. It is ridiculous that they even exist.

  35. busytimmy says

    @Andrew: Cutting funding to the NEA is ridiculous and anyone who supports such a move is ignorant of the contribution the arts make to our economy. Furthermore, an NEA grant is often a kind of seal of approval that allows arts organizations to pursue grants from other private foundations. The arts and artists are huge contributors to the economy, especially in cities, and if America wants to be competitive globally we need more arts, not less, especially in education.

  36. says

    makes sense. every country around the world that has felt they were losing the ability to control the plebeian masses wanted to attack The Arts. Why? Because Art changes things.

    Art is not just a mirror held up to society, it’s the hammer that smashes the glass ceilings. all through history, in every culture, you see art that screams and defies the norms of the time to point toward a greater truth. we have musicals, songs, plays, films all condemning racial intolerance and prejudice at a time when courts of law still favored racist ideologies over facts.

    if you want to see the politicians that want to keep people stupid, look no further than those who want to do away with arts.

  37. it isn't just me, is it? says

    Mitt is just dangling another red herring to distract voters and provide a little red meat to his supporters. Meanwhile, what the hell is he afraid of in his tax returns? He’s not ashamed of being wealthy, in fact, kinda flaunts it. He’s not embarrassed about charity donations to the Mormons. Did he use one of the amnesty programs when tax evaders were allowed to come clean without going to jail? Are his deductions so over the top ridiculous that even Republicans would gasp at the audacity of it all? Are his overseas holdings so vast that he must have been contemplating renouncing his American citizenship to avoid taxes? What could it be?

  38. Opinionated says

    So the republican party’s idea of having culture rings to the tune of guns, violence, and war since those are the items they leave untouched whereas the Democrats idea of culture includes, the arts, affordable health care for ALL, and education as the means of eliminating poverty. The GOP is seriously on its way to RIP they are so incredibly outdated.

  39. andrew says

    @Noteasilyoffended: I totally agree with you about the elimination of oil and farm subsidies. Even though I am a veteran and a supporter of our military, I believe that we should close scores of U S Military bases around the world. Why do we still have 30,000 U S forces in Korea almost 50 years after that war? Why do we still have military bases and tens of thousands of military forces in Western Europe about 65 years after WWII? The list of wasteful spending is almost endless.