With conferees still struggling to strike a bad deal on a $1 trillion food stamp and farm welfare bill, conservative efforts to reform an out-of-control food stamp program and constrain lavish farm subsidies have met stiff resistance from lawmakers and entrenched special interests.
In the midst of the larger effort to separate food stamps and farm programs so that each can be debated and reformed on its own merits, there are efforts to shed light on the federal government’s shameful (and wasteful) campaign to promote big government programs like food stamps.
As America approaches $17 trillion dollars in debt, there has been never been a more urgent need to think of ways to cut spending. Eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) would be a great place to start.
The federal government spends roughly $146 million a year on the NEA that taxpayers cannot afford. In its 2011 annual report, the agency bragged that its “funding made possible approximately 88,000 concerts, readings, and performances; 4,000 exhibitions; and 9,000 artist residencies.”
No rational person would categorize NEA funding as a necessary role of government, though. Funding art projects should be done by individuals and the private sector. As Heritage has explained, the federal government could easily cut spending by following the simple principle of privatization:
[T]he federal government has assumed myriad activities that are beyond the necessary role of government at any level. These should be restored to the private sector.