As Trump and his merry band of anti-government fetishists continue to lurch towards the White House, details continue to leak out about the terrifying reality that awaits us on the other side.
In Today’s example, we have the Trump team’s announcement that they are considering killing funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and public radio. And making good on Mitt Romney’s veiled threat four years ago, Trump plans to kill Big Bird.
Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds everything from PBS to NPR to over 360 public television stations. The National Endowment for the Arts is used to fund America’s first-in-the-world art programs and push the country to ever greater artistic achievements.
Trump justifies this assault on America’s cultural legacy by suggesting these budgetary slashes will help “reduce federal spending.” What he doesn’t mention is that funding things like the National Endowment for the Arts represents a minuscule amount of America’s spending.
The $146 million budget of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) represents just. 0.012% (about one one-hundredth of one percent) of federal discretionary spending.
Killing funding for the arts will yield America roughly no extra money. In the trillions of dollars Congress allocates each year, 0.012% is like a rounding error.
Sadly, this won’t stop Republicans who, led by Paul Ryan, can’t stop salivating at the idea of killing the budget to justify cutting top marginal tax rates for the superwealthy. They’ve wanted to do this for years.
Similar proposals have in the past won support from Republicans in the House and Senate, who believe they have an opportunity to truly tackle spending after years of warnings about the rising debt.
Many of the specific cuts were included in the 2017 budget adopted by the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus that represents a majority of House Republicans. The RSC budget plan would reduce federal spending by $8.6 trillion over the next decade.
It should be noted that the planned savings from defunding things like NPR and PBS is more than offset by the deficit dirty bomb Republicans are about to set off by repealing the Affordable Care Act. In a recent estimate by the Congressional Budget Office, once the ACA is gone, the deficit will grow by $350 billion – and 45 million people will not have health insurance. Oh and the people who do have health insurance will see their premiums skyrocket.
Featured image via Steve Pope/Getty Images