Mike Huckabee argues against Trump's proposed budget cuts to the arts
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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) rebuked President Trump's proposed budget cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), arguing that the program's low cost and consequential benefits to underserved communities should be spared the chopping block.

"Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts might seem expendable – especially given how often celebrity artists insult and even threaten the president," Huckabee, a former GOP presidential contender, wrote in The Washington Post. "But such hateful high-dollar Hollywood and music-industry stars don’t receive anything from the NEA, and they shouldn't."

"I do care greatly about the real recipients of endowment funds: the kids in poverty for whom NEA programs may be their only chance to learn to play an instrument, test-drive their God-given creativity and develop a passion for those things that civilize and humanize us all," he added.

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The NEA accounts for only about 0.004 percent of the U.S. budget and promotes engagement in the arts, upping academic performance among low-income students and providing much-needed outreach to veterans and the disabled.

In his first budget proposal unveiled last week, Trump called for across-the-board cuts to most government agencies and programs, while simultaneously pushing for bolstered spending on defense, homeland security and veterans affairs.

The NEA, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, would be eliminated under Trump's budget plan.

The president's proposal is more of a guideline — a setting of priorities — rather than a legally binding document. Congress sets the budget using its power of the purse, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have rejected significant parts of Trump's budget.

Huckabee, an avid bass guitarist, urged Trump to consider the economic stimulus created by the arts, saying that the industry generates a $30 billion trade surplus for the U.S. Budget cuts should come from larger ticket items, he wrote.

"I truly want the government to stop wasting my tax money," he wrote. "I want it to stop funding things that don’t work and things that get funded only because they are some congressman’s pet project or have a powerful lobby behind them.

"I’m for cutting waste and killing worthless programs. I’m not for cutting and killing the hope and help that come from creativity."