Today’s shocker: A Republican Who Wants to Cut Arts Funding!

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has penned an Op-Ed for the USA Today newspaper in which he says he would “eliminate every government program that is not absolutely essential.”

He then goes into specifics and takes aim at the battered National Endowment for the Arts:

Enact deep reductions in the subsidies for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Legal Services Corporation.

His idea would essentially gut an organzation that has already had their budget cut by 6% this year to total $146.255 million.

The Huffington Post provides some context for Romney’s proposed cuts to arts funding, and it appears he isn’t a shining example of an arts champion:

Romney’s track record reveals many attempts to reduce cultural agency funding while governor of Massachusetts. In 2006, Romney tried to veto the creation of a Cultural Facilities Fund, which aids nonprofit arts, scientific and historical organization in construction costs. Legislature overrode the veto and $37 million has been granted by the state under the program. Although, Romney’s view remains in contrast with many of his GOP cohorts that would rather see the programs cut, but it still represents a step to the right for a man who was once known as a relatively moderate conservative.

To put things into perspective, the current budget of the NEA is:

The peak of NEA funding was in 1990, when the organization received $171 million, which doesn’t even factor in inflation.

Btw, let’s not forget the debt-ceiling shenanigans last summer that cost taxpayers $18 million, or 12% of the 2011 NEA budget … because THAT was obviously important.

Remixed images: 12

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

11 replies on “Mitt Romney Wants to Cut Already Measly Funding For the Arts”

  1. Hey man, the Bible is the only book you need. And most of those artist-types are PROBABLY GAY.  Satan will gobble all of us up in the end if we use our tax money to effectively subsidize gay sex. Yes, this is how these people think.

    1. everybody knows by now that funding for gay sex is good business policy. study after study shows that communities that invest in gay sex reap the rewards of revitatlized neighborhoods and increased revenue. i doubt that romney even has a problem with gay sex. he’s just using gay sex as a convenient hot bottom topic.

  2. To be fair, the NEA’s $146 million was way more than the $176 thousand spent on giving blow to quail.

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong — but I seem to recall that the NEA was flourishing under Bush compared to the cuts that have been made under the Obama administration. More districts were served by the NEA under Bush than Clinton for that matter. I’m not defending Bush… but  if we are to assume that all Democrats are pro-art — why has Obama dropped the ball on almost every promise he made to the art community in 2008. Further still, why are you not writing about that?

    1.  And that, if true, is in part because Bush didn’t veto a single spending bill until his second term.. setting a new record.  In fact, part of the reason for cuts now is because of the monstrously huge record deficit Bush created by not cutting any spending and increasing government size by a record level and fighting two pointless wars he never actually put on the books.  Its not so much that Obama is anti-art as much as it is one of those things that will see cuts during times of dire economic need… you know.. like programs for the poor and the taxes of the wealthiest when its Republicans in charge during tough economic times… or during any times, really.

  4. Hey Hrag, you have yet to acknowledge some of the criticism Hyperallergic received for accepting ArtPrize as a sponsor — even though it is directly linked (at least the first year) to funding from the DeVos Foundation… which has fought against gay rights among other issues . Does that suggest that your opinions can be closeted if the price is right? ;p Honestly, I fail to see how you are in the position to call anyone out after that partnership. You were either not aware of those connections OR your bark is louder than your bite when defending the rights of gays.

    1. Brian, you are sad and your suggestion of a black list is scary and pathetic and by “some criticism” you mean you. You are accusing one of (if not the most vocally) open gay art blogger of not defending gay rights? LOL.

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