The Trump Administration is preparing its first budget proposal, and the list of government programs on the chopping block includes the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which helps fund PBS and NPR). Trump wants to trim government spending, but cutting the NEA – on which the U.S. spent a $148 million in 2016 – ultimately has more to do with politics.
Why? While $148 million certainly sounds like a lot of money, it’s not in the context of the overall U.S. budget. NEA spending amounts to just 0.003 percent of annual federal discretionary spending. (The Corporation for Public Broadcasting budget, at $445 million, accounts for another 0.01 percent.) As the Washington Post pointed out, for a person who makes $50,000 a year, it’s the equivalent of less than $10. It’s also possible, but difficult to know for sure, that the government will spend more to protect First Lady Melania Trump in New York City than it does on the NEA.
Here’s some context on what the NEA actually costs in the context of government spending – and in the context of the music business.
Estimated cost of President Trump’s first three trips to Mar-a-Lago, according to a Washington Post investigation.
2016 U.S. spending on the National Endowment for the Arts
Gross ticket sales from Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour,” according to Billboard Boxscore.
Amount allocated in the 2016 budget from the federal building fund to consolidate and improve U.S. government office space.
Estimated cost of the 2017 presidential inauguration. The cost was shared by taxpayers and private donors.
$240 million - $300 million
Projected cost of the New York City Police protecting Trump and his family at Trump Tower for four years, according to the NYPD police commissioner James P. O’Neill.
Worldwide box office gross of La La Land, according to Box Office Mojo.
Projected cost of the proposed Gravina Island Bridge, which would have connected the island with Ketchikan, Alaska, and became known as the “Bridge to Nowhere.” The project was ultimately cancelled.
Amount Canadian Prime Minster pledged to invest in arts and culture over the next five years.
Live Nation just announced another record year with double-digit growth in revenue, attendance, sponsorship and advertising with revenue up 15 percent to $8.4 billion.
$12 billion to $15 billion
Estimated cost to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Other estimates have been as high as $25 billion.