2012 Election | Art and Design | Mitt Romney | Music

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.

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  1. 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.

    Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC | Aug 18, 2012 8:01:53 PM

  2. 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.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Aug 18, 2012 8:05:22 PM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: mike128 | Aug 18, 2012 8:29:47 PM

  4. 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!"

    Posted by: trees | Aug 18, 2012 9:02:53 PM

  5. 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.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 18, 2012 9:08:43 PM

  6. Good one on Romney by former Judge and World War II veteran:

    Article about - and YouTube video embedded:


    Posted by: MMcMahon | Aug 18, 2012 9:46:37 PM

  7. 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.

    Posted by: MMcMahon | Aug 18, 2012 9:47:58 PM

  8. @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.

    Posted by: alex | Aug 18, 2012 10:29:54 PM

  9. 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.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 18, 2012 10:32:09 PM

  10. Don't worry, Exxon-Mobile's tax breaks and subsidies will be secure.


    Posted by: Ryan | Aug 18, 2012 10:37:42 PM

  11. How about the $32.8 million in NASCAR subsidies?

    Posted by: Shawn | Aug 18, 2012 11:46:39 PM

  12. 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.

    Posted by: AdamA | Aug 19, 2012 2:15:56 AM

  13. 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.

    Posted by: STLMan2 | Aug 19, 2012 2:47:23 AM

  14. Well, on the plus side, he's not going to win so none of this really matters.

    Posted by: daws | Aug 19, 2012 3:26:56 AM

  15. @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.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 19, 2012 3:51:44 AM

  16. "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.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Aug 19, 2012 6:52:22 AM

  17. 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!

    Posted by: JellyBean | Aug 19, 2012 9:23:20 AM

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

    Posted by: noteasilyoffended | Aug 19, 2012 9:30:34 AM

  19. @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.

    Posted by: busytimmy | Aug 19, 2012 10:16:43 AM

  20. 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.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Aug 19, 2012 12:09:29 PM

  21. 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?

    Posted by: it isn't just me, is it? | Aug 19, 2012 2:53:52 PM

  22. 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.

    Posted by: Opinionated | Aug 19, 2012 3:25:36 PM

  23. @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.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 19, 2012 10:45:19 PM

  24. Of course Mittens wants to eliminate funding to the arts - keeping the peons stupid makes it easier for the GOP to feed them lies and get away with it.

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Aug 19, 2012 11:40:00 PM

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