Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gov. Mike Huckabee Stands Up For NEA Funding

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee
Here's an unexpected Republican plea to President Trump on behalf of saving the National Endowment for the Arts, which Trump has proposed eliminating entirely.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is an amateur musician himself, pens this op-ed for the Washington Post in support of the arts program that makes up .004 percent of the federal budget.

Huckabee doesn't miss his chance along the way to take a swipe at "high-dollar Hollywood stars," though.

An excerpt:

Donald Trump wasn’t my first choice for president. I was. But he was my second choice, and I’m proud that I supported him. In tackling the federal budget, he faces a debt that has doubled to $20 trillion in the past eight years. No doubt a chainsaw seems more appropriate to the task at hand than a carving knife, but I would urge my president and friend to hold back from one tiny area of the budget whose elimination would cost far more than it would save.

Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts might seem expendable — especially given how often celebrity artists insult and even threaten the president. But such hateful high-dollar Hollywood and music-industry stars don’t receive anything from the NEA, and they shouldn’t. Not because of their insufferable political whining, but because they get rich selling their talents to the highest bidder in the private sector. I have zero interest in spending a dime of tax money to prop up those who hate the president and the tens of millions who elected him.

I do care greatly about the real recipients of endowment funds: the kids in poverty for whom NEA programs may be their only chance to learn to play an instrument, test-drive their God-given creativity and develop a passion for those things that civilize and humanize us all. They’re the reason we should stop and recognize that this line item accounting for just 0.004 percent of the federal budget is not what’s breaking the bank.

Participation in the arts leads to higher grade-point averages and SAT scores, as well as improvements in math skills and spatial reasoning. Do we want students who are less likely to drop out of school and more likely to have academic success, particularly in math and science? Music and art deliver, especially for students likely to get lost in an education assembly line that can be more Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” than about creative thinking and problem solving. Creativity finds cures for diseases, creates companies such as Apple and Microsoft and, above all, makes our culture more livable.

Huckabee closes with the admission that, while he's all for saving federal dollars and cutting government waste, "I’m not for cutting and killing the hope and help that come from creativity."

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