How the Presidential Candidates Compare on Arts Funding

I hate politics. I hate discussing politics. So I rarely do. But I do love the Arts. And I do love facts.

Below is a little chart on how the two presidential candidates compare on Arts Funding. I am not one of those who thinks that the eradication of the NEA is necessarily the end of the world. It could be, but there are valid arguments that during a financial crisis Arts Funding is better left to the private sector. I’m also not a huge fan of the government or the “public” telling me what I can do with my funding, which is one of the things that happens when the government is the one doing the funding. There are grey areas in many of these arguments. The loss of arts and music in education is clearly a tragedy, in my opinion, but again, there are areas of argument on both sides of that issue. Sorry, folks, we are not a socialist country and we are not Europe, we are a democratic republic that runs on a capitalist engine, to try and pretend otherwise is madness. If we want to change how things are done, we can do that through the democratic process, but we first have to accept that we do things differently here in America and our priorities are not the same as the priorities of European and Socialist nations. If you want things done the way those countries do things, then move there.

Anyhoo. Here’s the chart. It came from a company called Americans for the Arts (clearly an organization with its own agenda, good or bad, I leave up to you). Nevertheless, choose wisely on November 6th, LemonHeads.

Americans for the Arts - Arts Action Fund
November 2, 2012Dear Colin,

With Election Day less than one week away, the Arts Action Fund is pleased to share its newly compiled analysis of the presidential candidates’ arts policy positions.

This new report is one of the many programs and publications of ArtsVote2012, the Arts Action Fund’s biennial initiative, coinciding with the election cycle, that educates candidates and informs voters on issues impacting the arts and arts education.

2012 Presidential Candidates Arts Positions

  Arts Action Fund Logo

Barack Obama
Joe Biden

Democratic Nominees

Mitt Romney
Paul Ryan

Republican Nominees

Candidate would maintain or increase federal support of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.

Yes
Proposed increase of $9 million for National Endowment for the Arts.

-FY 13 NEA budget request,
Rpt p.2 / PDF p. 6
-FY 13 NEH budget request,
Rpt p.11/PDF p. 14

No
“Reduce subsidies for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.”

-Romney/Ryan website
-Los Angeles Timesarticle

Candidate would maintain or increase federal support of museums and libraries.

Yes
Proposed increase of $9 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities and level funding of $232 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

-FY 13 IMLS budget request,
Rpt/PDF p.12

Unknown
Congressman Ryan’s House-passed budget calls for eliminating the Institute of Museum and Library Services, but it is unclear what Gov. Romney’s position is.

- Ryan’s FY2013 budget, Rpt p.88 / PDF p.96

Candidate would maintain or increase federal support for public broadcasting.

Yes
Proposed level funding of $445 million for Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

-FY 13 CPB budget request

No
“Reduce Subsidies for…the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

-Romney/Ryan website
-10/3/12 presidential debate transcript

Candidate would maintain or increase Title I funding, which includes eligibility for arts education.

Yes
Proposed to reauthorize current Title I program, with level funding.

-FY13 budget request, Rpt p18 / PDF p 22

Unknown
Proposes to change Title I funding by expanding choice for eligible students to use federal funds to pay for public, charter, or private schools. It is unclear what impact this would have on arts education Title I funding.

-Romney education plan,
Rpt p.23 / PDF p. 24

Candidate would maintain support of national and community service, which includes eligibility for arts and music service.

Yes
Proposed increase of 1 percent to $1.1 billion for Corporation for National & Community Service agency budget.

-FY 13 CNCS budget request

Unknown
Congressman Ryan’s House-passed budget calls for eliminating the Corporation for National and Community Service, but it is unclear what Gov. Romney’s position is.

- Ryan’s FY2013 budget,
Rpt p.88 / PDF p.96

Candidate maintains current incentives for charitable giving to 501(c)(3) organizations, such as a local nonprofit arts institution.

No
The Obama plan maintains the ability for households to deduct charitable gifts, but he proposes reducing the value of the deduction from 35 percent to 28 percent for those households that make more than $250,000.

-FY 2010-13 budget request,
blog statement

No
Gov. Romney has suggested maintaining a deduction for charitable gifts, but he has also proposed combining those charitable deductions with other tax deductions, such as mortgage interest, all of which would be limited by an overall cap that could jeopardize incentives to donate.

- 10/16/12 presidential debate transcript

National party platform includes a positive position on the arts and arts education.

Yes
“We will continue to support public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts… and for programs providing art and music education…”

- 9/4/12 DNC platform, p.16

No
GOP platform was silent on these issues.

- 8/28/12 GOP platform

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Colin Mitchell About the Author: COLIN MITCHELL: Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Father, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Broadway veteran, Marvel comics scribe, Van Morrison disciple, Zen-Catholic, a proud U.S. Army Brat conceived in Scotland and born in Frankfurt, Germany, currently living in Los Angeles and doing his best to piss off as many people as possible.

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