I have lived in Finland.
Finland spends an average of 66 dollars per person on the arts - that's 2.1 percent of total public spending. The US, $4.84 (.13%) as a nation, but the national budget is less than a dollar. They are different countries with different populations, demographics, and challenges. But this is an ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE.
The National Endowment for the Arts (US) received $148 billion this year. $245 billion went to bailing out banks. $601 billion to the military.
I completed my first day of Classical Minnesota Public Radio's Class Notes Artists program in Willmar, MN today. The music teacher told me the administration was very firm that they would be receiving no new instruments this year. It is complicated. Willmar has a huge influx of immigrants and first generation Americans. The district needs to build another elementary school to accommodate all the new learners. But that is separate from their arts' funding. What draws human beings with differences together more than music? More than reaching the spaces where culture and language do not matter as much?
I have no answers for this. I have to do a lot of research and have a lot of experience. And I will still have no answers. But I believe in the power of the arts, to heal the individual, and therefore heal societies.