Music Library Association Statement on President Trump's Budget Plan "AMERICA FIRST: A Blueprint to Make America Great Again"

By McKnight, Mark | The American Organist, July 2018 | Go to article overview

Music Library Association Statement on President Trump's Budget Plan "AMERICA FIRST: A Blueprint to Make America Great Again"


McKnight, Mark, The American Organist


Recognizing the vital role that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) have played in the creation, promotion, and preservation of America's cultural heritage, the Music Library Association (MLA), the U.S. National Branch of IAML, the Internationa] Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, joins other concerned organizations in voicing our strongest opposition to President Donald Trump's proposed budget, which virtually eliminates the NEA, the NEH, and the IMLS, as well as other agencies. Although the cultural and educational value that these institutions have contributed to the betterment of American society in their many decades of existence is immeasurable, the economic activity the arts generate each year in the U.S. is, in fact, quantifiable, and indeed, quite substantial, totaling, according to the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA), $135 billion. Moreover, the arts employ more than four million Americans, representing a total of $86 billion in household income. Annual funding of a mere $ 148 million each for the NEA and NEH, with $250 million annually for IMLS, represents just .02 percent of the total federal budget; thus, it is quite clear that the economic return on investment from these three agencies alone is enormous.

While MLA realizes that there are deeply held differences regarding the proper role of the government in supporting the arts, we cite the words of two of our country's greatest presidents, George Washington, who wrote that "the Arts and Sciences, essential to the prosperity of the State and to the ornament of human life, have a primary claim to the encouragement of every lover of his country and mankind," and John F. Kennedy, who said that "the life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of the nation, is very close to the center of a nation's purpose-and is a test to the quality of a nation's civilization. …

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