Donald Trump’s budget plan should be horrifying for anyone who cares about the arts in this country. The ”blueprint” released today confirmed that the president would like to do away with funding for National Endowment For The Arts, the National Endowment For The Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That last move would deal a huge blow to PBS and public radio, should it be approved by Congress.
Now, in a statement that is best read in the firm yet soothing voice of Laura Linney doing those Downton Abbey intros, CEO Paula Kerger has responded to Trump’s proposed cuts by succinctly explaining the value of PBS to U.S. citizens.
PBS and our nearly 350 member stations, along with our viewers, continue to remind Congress of our strong support among Republican and Democratic voters, in rural and urban areas across every region of the country. We have always had support from both parties in Congress, and will again make clear what the public receives in return for federal funding for public broadcasting. The cost of public broadcasting is small, only $1.35 per citizen per year, and the benefits are tangible: increasing school readiness for kids 2-8, support for teachers and homeschoolers, lifelong learning, public safety communications and civil discourse.
CNN explains that the world of public broadcasting does have a “playbook for these fights,” and indeed, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Patricia Harrison also came out with a similar statement. “There is no viable substitute for federal funding that ensures Americans have universal access to public media’s educational and informational programming and services,” she said. “The elimination of federal funding to CPB would initially devastate and ultimately destroy public media’s role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions—all for Americans in both rural and urban communities.”
Trump’s aim is to increase defense spending by $54 billion; The Washington Post has a handy story that breaks down just what that kind of money would mean to the agencies he wants to trash.