Arts money is ‘welfare for rich, liberal elites’: Tucker asks why poor taxpayers should have to pay

They’re little more than “welfare for rich, liberal elites.”

That was the assessment of Fox News host Tucker Carlson of federal programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts that the Trump administration is considering cutting altogether in its budget proposal.

Clip via Fox News Channel

His guest, Robin Bronk, CEO of the Creative Coalition, naturally disagreed.

At a time when the United States is saddled with a $20 trillion national debt, Carlson wondered why taxpayers should be “subsidizing entertainment for rich people.”

“You know, Tucker, that the NEA has … granted to every congressional district in the United States,” not just the wealthy ones, Brock argued.

She added a claim that “for every dollar the NEA puts into a community, ten dollars comes back.”

Earlier that day Bronk referred to the debate as a battle of “arts vs. them.”

Carlson countered that the arts should be funded by the public — not the government.

“When you’ve got people running around with fortunes of 40, 50, 60 billion dollars, why not ask them to pay for public art?” he asked. “Why should middle class and poor taxpayers have to pay for it?”

When she reiterated her claim that funding for the arts reaps rewards 10 times its investment, Carlson yanked the debate back to real world events.

“What role did the NEA play in, say, the Battle of Fallujah?” he asked.

Carlson added that money to the NEA could be better used to combat drug abuse, which prompted Brock to claim the arts keep kids off drugs.

Then the Fox News host asked a question that he said he’d always wanted an answer to.

“Don’t you think it’s kind of funny that artists who are ‘against the grain’ and ‘thinking for themselves,’ all of a sudden they’re queuing up for their handouts from taxpayers?” Tucker asked. “Why wouldn’t artists just strike out on their own and be independent?”

The debate continued on social media, where others joined in. He threw out her statement that the arts help combat drug abuse, a claim that prompted guffaws.

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And that observation naturally led to this proposal:

The Los Angeles Times clamored for continued funding of the NEA, and claimed that such plays as “Hamilton” would never have been produced without it. Bad example — seats to see the play can cost $1,000 and it has made hundreds of millions.


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