When Congress recently approved the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in response to the coronavirus pandemic, it allocated $250 million — a fraction of 1% of the total package — to support public television and radio, the Kennedy Center, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Yet despite this relatively tiny allocation for arts institutions, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley sent out a tweet objecting to it. “How many more people,” Haley tweeted, “could have been helped with this money?”
Here’s a news flash: living, breathing people make art, perform on the stage and report stories on public broadcasting in South Carolina as well as throughout America. That’s why it makes sense to provide funding for our cultural institutions — funds that can and should assist the actors, journalists, musicians, painters, playwrights, theatrical workers, support staff and many others whose lives have been upended by the pandemic.