Comparing Presidents, The National Endowment for the Arts

This post is on funding for the National Endowment of the Arts. It’s an issue that seems to rise periodically, usually when something like this is found to be partly funded on the public dime. Its also usually a Republican issue.

Data used in this post includes NEA Funding, Federal Outlays, and GDP.

So here are a couple of graphs…

And some summaries…

One note… my usual practice, where data is provided in fiscal year format, to account for the change in the fiscal year pattern (until 1976, the fiscal year ran from July to June, after that point, it ran from October to September). For whatever reason, in this instance, the data for the transitional quarter did not seem realistic to me, so I have not followed that procedure in this instance. Apologies.

So what do we see? In the two series, LBJ comes in first in terms of spending, but it should be noted we only have three years of data.

The big drops under Clinton are probably in large part due to the Republican Revolution. Not all of it, of course… funding dropped before the Republican Revolution took place. Regan and GHW come in second and third, fourth is either Carter or GW depending on the measure.

I would also like to ask a broader question… how do y’all feel about the government paying for art?

Next post in the series… energy independence and the price of a gallon of gasoline.