Donald Trump plans to cut the funding for the NEA, the National Endowment for the Arts.
The budget for the NEA is $150 million annually.
To the average person, $150 million a year sounds like a lot of money. But since $150 million is actually only .006% of the annual budget of the federal government, it’s actually quite small.
Here is a list of some other things the U.S. Government spends $150 million on.
What The Government Spends $150 Million On
Cost of one year of housing for a handful of private-sector mercenaries in Afghanistan: $150 million
The annual cost of a teacher leadership program in Iowa: $150 million
The cost of building a website, Healthcare.gov: around $150 million
The single-day cost of Donald Trump’s inauguration: $150 million
Amount cheese farmers want from the government for their 90-million pound cheese surplus: $150 million
What a single fighter jet, the F-22 Raptor, costs per jet: $150 million
The amount that the expansion plan for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan will run over budget: $150 million (total cost is $774 million)
The price of a single bridge in Pennsylvania: $155 million ($650 million total)
A bypass road in Ohio: $150 million in federal funds ($200 million total)
The loan for a 1.6 mile road in San Francisco: $150 million
The amount that governor Cuomo wants to spend on a research and science laboratory: $150 million
Amount of a grant to the Palestinian Authority in October of 2011: $150 million (total assistance for the year: $700 million)
Cost of building less than a mile of a subway line: $150 million
Amount of an accounting error that caused New York to overcharge the federal government on Obamacare: $150 million
Amount the Department of Housing is spending on developing sustainable housing: $150 million
Amount of a grant to promote healthy marriage and reentry services for formerly incarcerated fathers: $150 million
A grant to revitalize public housing in 5 neighborhoods: $150 million
The amount spent on office furniture and building upgrades by the Department of Homeland Security: $150 million
The cost of bonds sold for plumbing upgrades and other repairs for Chicago schools: $150 million
Amount Governments Spend Per Person on the Arts
$150 million might still sound like a lot, but it’s helpful to consider what other countries spend on funding for the arts.
All of the numbers in the infographic to the right have been adjusted into U.S. dollars. The statistics are from 2014.
All of these numbers are per citizen and this is money spent on the arts.
- America spends .41 cents per citizen
- Sweden spends $1.6
- Finland spends $8.4
- Northern Ireland spends $11.6
- Germany spends $20
- France $151
- England $269
- Australia $318
Writers and Artists are Not Getting Rich
The NEA has provided employment to more than 3,000 writers over the last 40 years, and many writing friends of mine have gotten grants from the NEA to pursue writing projects. The books they write end up benefitting society as a whole.
They are not getting rich from these grants. Writers and other artists receives $25,000 for the year. For a year’s worth of work, that ends up as $12 an hour, which is less than the average salary for front-line In & Out employees, who make $14 an hour.
It’s clear that the plan to cut the NEA is a misguided attempt to slash expenses.
Trump says he plans to boost spending to the military between 500 billion and 1 trillion. The paltry amount spent on the NEA each year is dwarfed by these kind of numbers.