In a recent interview with Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin has dubbed the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities "frivolous."
Says the LA Times:
Palin did not elaborate on what the other reasons might be for chopping the NEA budget. But the government of every major civilization in world history has also prominently funded the arts.
The comment about the NEA came during a discussion of the ailing U.S. economy. Palin is certainly conversant with frivolous activity, but her grasp of the economy is weak.
Debt reduction would barely be affected by penciling out the small federal arts agency, which currently operates on a $161-million annual budget. Palin's support of a federal subsidy for the notorious "bridge to nowhere" in her state became a campaign issue when she ran for vice president on the 2008 Republican ticket. That local project carried a price tag of $223 million.
You know, Rocco, I hope you're compiling some kind of argument—an elevator pitch to American citizens—to refute these casual, but always corrosive, suggestions that we kill the NEA. Conservatives say "kill the NEA," then arts people whine "but the NEA is so impooooooortaaaant." Rinse, repeat.
I'm hoping you can break this stupid, decades-long cycle, Rocco. Write a joke or two, compile a dozen examples of actually, factually frivolous budget items—the bridge to nowhere, etc.—and drop them in sets of three every time a conservative politician tries to win points by slamming the NEA. Especially when that politician fails to articulate how the NEA is any more frivolous than, say, Congress's annual Kleenex budget.