As Laura Bradley of Vanity Fair outlines in her recent article, "What Donald Trump's Arts and Humanities Cuts Would Cost America," Big Bird is back on the proverbial chopping block... except that this time he's not, because Sesame Street already left PBS for the more well-heeled HBO. Where did all the soundbites go?
Trump has proposed cutting public funding to outlets such as the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS. The funding cuts would save the government a whopping 0.16% on the U.S. budget. But when government borrowing costs are significantly lower than private borrowing costs, does this privatization of public goods even make sense? It saves a paltry amount of money relative to the national debt, and the cost of capital is far lower for a government borrower than a private one to fund the same programming. But then privatization of the Arts and Humanities in Trump's case is perhaps only admitting the obvious; that someone else is better at the job than he is.
We need more investment in flexible education like the Liberal Arts, not less. We need more consideration for the cultural tools that help foster shared values in America, not less. The counterintuitive truth in our techie world is that we need more fuzzies, engineers with an appreciation for humanities, and more artists learning to code.