Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dear NEA: Art Is a Bad Investment

Spencer P. Morrison

Donald Trump's proposal to scrap federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has again put him in the cross-hairs of liberal ire. His opponents point out that arts funding represents but a tiny fraction of the federal budget – just one-tenth of one percent – and that cutting it would have a big impact on local communities, without meaningfully reducing America's deficit. They also argue that funding the arts makes economic sense. 

 In fact, Patricia Harrison, the president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, goes so far as to claim that "public media is one of America's best investments." Still others argue that investing in non-profit art makes economic sense because it makes America's workforce more creative, and creativity drives economic growth.

But is any of this true? 

 Does it really make economic sense for the federal government to invest in the arts?

No. Gargoyles and Corinthian columns may be great aesthetic investments, but saying they make financial sense is simply untrue. The claim is based on bad economics and even worse psychology................More

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