I'm still fuming about this but a little less than ten years ago. From the National Endowment for the Arts website:
-May 07, 2009-
Washington, D.C. – Today, details of the Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for the National Endowment for the Arts were submitted to Congress as part of President Obama's FY 2010 budget. The President's budget requests $161.3 million for the agency, an increase of $6.3 million or 4 percent over the NEA's FY 2009 budget of $155 million. The proposed FY 2010 budget would allow for the distribution of approximately $133 million in grant awards to state and regional arts agencies as well as nonprofit arts organizations in all disciplines across the country to fund performances, exhibitions, tours, festivals, education programs, and other activities.
Good news? $161.3 million is spread throughout the U.S. as well as administration costs.
The reality is that amount of money is not even statistically significant enough to place a percentage value to the third decimal place in the overall 2010 budget.
$161.3 million is the approximate cost of three(3) AH-64 Apache helicopters.
While the federal government's budget is not soley a national potlatch where everyone contributes and benefits, artists do pay taxes. Are artists' interests and the benefits they bring to the economy, education, and creative endeavors being accurately valuated to three(3) helicopters?