Congress’ dismal NEA budget record

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Over at Time, Richard Lacayo has snagged the best stats I’ve seen in years about the magnitude of the collapse of federal commitment to arts support since the kulturkampf led by Jesse Helms, Newt Gingrich and the rest of the Wahoo Chorus in Congress 20 years ago. It comes from the D.C. advocacy group, Americans for the Arts, whose president was testifying at a House appropriations subcommittee hearing Tuesday. The reference is to the National Endowment for the Arts’ budget:

Thirty years ago, the NEA received a modest 12 cents per $100 of non-military discretionary spending. Today that is just 3 cents per $100. If the NEA had simply maintained its 1979 percentage of discretionary funding, its 2008 budget would have been $613 million.

The Obama administration has requested $155 million for the NEA’s 2009 budget.

-- Christopher Knight