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Ben Folds: Reducing federal funds for arts is like ‘cutting off food’ [VIDEO]

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Nicholas Ballasy
Senior Video Reporter
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      Nicholas Ballasy

      Nicholas Ballasy is the Senior Video Reporter for The Daily Caller covering Congress and national politics. Ballasy has interviewed a wide range of political leaders and celebrities including former President Bill Clinton, Sen. John McCain, Sen. John Kerry, former Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speakers Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich, Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Joan Rivers, Gloria Estefan, Jon Stewart, Dave Matthews, Neil Munro, Stevie Wonder, etc. His work has been featured by CNN, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC, The Drudge Report, Washington Post and New York Times, among others.

Musician and “Sing Off” judge Ben Folds told The Daily Caller that Congress reducing the amount of taxpayer dollars allocated for arts programs would be like “cutting off food.”

TheDC asked Folds, who is in Washington to advocate for more arts funding, how he responds to those who say that Congress should be cutting domestic spending given America’s current fiscal challenges.

“Any business that needs to be creative, anyone who needs to think creatively — and I think that’s probably all of us — you’re cutting off food and it’s not as if, you know, I don’t know the figures myself but I’ve seen enough to know that we’re talking about percentages of percentages – very, very, small amount of money,” said Folds.

“I can’t believe as someone who runs a business myself and has to look at figures and cut back, I understand that but it’s not, it’s crumbs we’re looking at.”

The National Endowment for Arts received $154,690,000 in taxpayer funds for FY2011 and $146,020,992 for FY2012. (RELATED: Alec Baldwin calls for more arts funding). 

When asked what challenges the state of the economy has posed for his business, Folds, the owner of “Ben’s Studio” in Nashville said that his business “is great because people have to have music and have to have art and there’s always a creative way which is something that I – growing up with some kind of creative education, background that I’ve been able to sort of negotiate those things and navigate through the choppy waters of it.”

He added, “At this moment, I don’t think it’s that much of an issue…if the federal government backs out of it completely or backs out of it anymore, that’s bad.”

TheDC also asked Folds about the feedback he has received from the members of Congress he met with on Capitol Hill for Arts Advocacy Day, which was also attended by Alec Baldwin and other celebrities.

“Everyone loves the arts but not everyone wants to pay for it and I’m just here to show support and tell my personal story that I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the arts and I wouldn’t know how to run a business. I wouldn’t know how to think critically,” he said.

“It’s not a luxury, this arts thing, it’s a necessity in a civilization and even the symbolism of keeping enough funding going to the higher arts especially so that we have something to shoot for is important and I have to hope that historically it’ll keep coming around and we’ll keep winning it back when we can by inches and that’s all you can do.”

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