Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget is designed “to redefine the proper role of the Federal Government.” Indeed, defense-related spending will skyrocket. Infrastructure spending, considered by most a basic obligation of government, is getting drastically cut. Republican representative Hal Rogers called the budget “draconian, careless and counterproductive.” And Alabama Republican Representative Robert Aderholt said, “We need to be sure that rural America at least gets its fair share.”
But the budget proposes tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure and aid cuts to medical research, climate science, public health, international diplomacy, national service, environmental enforcement, heating aid for the poor, after-school snacks for kids, highway grants, energy research grants, climate change research, rural development, rural airports, rural water and sewer plants and much more. The only new infrastructure project in the budget is the Mexican wall.
A third role of government is to disseminate information and promote the arts. But Trump’s budget will destroy the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The NEA distributes grants to regional arts projects in every state, including preservationist work in Kentucky, theater work by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Massillon Museum in Ohio to record stories and photograph uniforms of American soldiers who died in World War I. With the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a majority of the funds go to smaller, individual stations like KGNU.
Kate Shindle of Actors’ Equity Association says of the National Endowment for the Arts’ $148 million budget, “The arts are not a frill, a luxury, or some kind of extended vanity project,” she said. “The arts are a part of who we are as a nation, and the arts put our nation to work. Millions of people have jobs based on spinoff effects in hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and other business that benefit from spending on the arts.”
William D. Adams, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, said the agency was “saddened” by the demise of the five-decade funding of books, film, museum exhibits that have “inspired and supported what is best for America.”
But Romina Boccia, the Heritage Foundation’s deputy director, accuses the NEA of “cultural cronyism…We fundamentally believe the arts are able to flourish independently of the federal government,”
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting costs $1.35 per person per year. PBS’s Paula Kerger takes “nothing for granted.” She can’t advocate a particular policy any more than I can on this show, but she said what I say every week here: “It’s very important if people care about issues that they weigh in.” KGNU is a partner station of the 170 Million Americans campaign, which is designed to help educate members of Congress on the importance of public broadcasting. Individuals can also join the campaign.
To sign up or for more information go to http://www.170MillionAmericans.org. The website also includes a quick way to link to Colorado members of Congress.