Cutting the budget.

Copies of President Donald Trump’s first budget are displayed at the Government Printing Office in Washington, Thursday, March, 16, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 3/17/17


President Trump released his budget proposal on Thursday and, before you consume a lot of news coverage on it, I invite you to do this.

Go to and click on the “Gallery” link. There, you will see a portion of your tax dollars at work.

JessCurtisGravity is a San Francisco-based “arts” organization that, according to its website, “…creates, produces and presents engaging body-based art that physically explores and addresses issues and ideas of substance and relevance to anyone with a body.”

Look at those photos on the JessCurtisGravity website and you’ll see that the “engaging body-based art” consists in large measure of naked people intertwined with one another. Silly to most observers. Pornography to some.

I call your attention to JessCurtisGravity only because the organization is one of many “arts” organizations that has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts – the NEA. The NEA is one of the line items in the federal budget that Donald Trump wants to outright eliminate.

The Left is, of course, shrieking. Cutting federal funding for the arts is unthinkable, they cry. We need the NEA so that inner-city children might better channel their otherwise sociopathic impulses. Cutting federal funding for the arts will cause art museums and symphony orchestras across the country to fold.

All nonsense — utterly unsupported by any evidence arising from the actual 30-plus year history of the NEA.

Here’s where I insert a disclaimer. My wife and I are arts patrons. We donate money outright as patrons to several arts organizations – we are season ticket subscribers to several more. Seldom does more than two weeks go by that we haven’t attended a theater, ballet or symphony performance. We believe in the power of theater, music and art to lift up those that it touches. We believe that arts education is important for children.

But my support for the arts doesn’t translate into the belief that the NEA is necessary – and not just because the NEA takes money withheld from the paychecks of working Americans and uses it to fund high-brow pornography.

It’s because art is in the eye of the beholder. I pass no judgment on JessCurtisGravity’s naked intertwined “performers.” I just don’t want to pay for them.

If JessCurtisGravity believes that what they do has artistic merit, let them do what Mozart, Michelangelo, Raphael and Tchaikovsky did – go find patrons of similar belief with the capacity and willingness to put up the necessary money. That’s largely how art in all of its forms has always been funded.

Yet here’s the clincher for cutting the NEA from the federal budget. It will demonstrate that Congress is at last willing to actually stop spending money on things for which there is not one shred of either duty or justification under the Constitution.

In a nation burdened with $20 trillion in debt, a crumbling infrastructure and a depleted military, that kind of discernment and fiscal rectitude is long past due.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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5 Responses

  1. Linda E Montrose says:

    Pornography is pornography and should not be funded with our tax dollars. Too many people have become addicted to this stuff as it is, no need in funding it so more can ruin their lives with it. This is NOT art by the way!!!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    For the most part the NEA has been devoid of art. Art that anyone can relate to that is. Fringe graphic art, theater, etc. has been around a long time…let it’s own patrons support it.
    What people once had to sneak off and pay to see should not be supported by taxpayer money. Self-expression has been high jacked to perversion. Worse is out there. Sad.

  3. Richard Anderson says:

    Like abortion which is wrong, art* which is wrong {*i.e. so-called art} should not be funded by the government as it is counter to “the public good” nor does it “promote the general Welfare” of the American people or anyone.
    If those in our government as well as all persons would strive each day anew to truly live by our motto….
    everything else would fall into place.

  4. So cut Meals-on-Wheels?

    Every president’s Budget is a wish-list, a gesture. Congressional Republicans are already howling, and not just about pet projects. Mitch McConnell’s pushing-back on foreign aid cuts.

    Trump’s lifelong M.O. is RE-negotiation. Figure he’s already shooting for half-a-loaf.

    But when the arm-wrestling is over, expect what Bush Sr. called “a thousand points of light.” I’m told by someone-who’d-know that meetings are already underway, some in corporate C-suites…think Bill Gates-types and big brand companies who’d white-knight painful cuts.

    Some of the best Super Bowl commercials were 27 seconds of “I’d like to teach the world to sing” followed by 3 seconds of a logo…NO pitch. Marketing wise men and women preach that “People don’t buy WHAT you do. They buy WHO you are and WHY you do it.”

    Things have a way of working out.

  5. Tom Mack says:

    They should cut the “Ambassador’s Fund For Cultural Preservation” from the State Dept budget. $5 million dollars in 2013. Also, cut the “Art in Embassies Program” from State Dept budget. How about the “Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration” another State Dept office, with a 2013 budget of $1.2 BILLLION!!! Not sure what today’s budget is. But you know its higher. And why do we have the “National Labor Relations Board” ($292 Mil in 2013) and the “Federal Labor Relations Authority” ($25 Mil in 2013)? Cut the EPA and save BILLIONS. The EPA’s 2013 budget was $8.3 BILLION!
    I’m using 2013 numbers because that’s all I can find. The US Commission on Fine Arts ($154 Mil), US Commission on Civil Rights ($9 Mil). US Access Bureau (whatever that is) – $7 Mil. Corporation for Public Broadcast – $445 Mil. Corporation for National and Community Service – $1 Bil. National Endowment for Democracy – $80 Mil (State Dept.) . There is fat to cut from the budget and these are just a very small number of agencies that should be eliminated.

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