Wasteful Spending On The Arts?

Ken AshfordEconomy & Jobs & Deficit, Popular Culture, TheatreLeave a Comment

The folks at the NRO's The Corner don't care for the stimulus bill.  Not surprising.  In this NRO article, they outlined 50 “of the most outrageous items in the stimulus package”.

Number one on the list?  $50 million for the NEA.  Here's what those "serious" critics of the stimulus package had to say:

The easiest targets in the stimulus bill are the ones that were clearly thrown in as a sop to one liberal cause or another, even though the proposed spending would have little to no stimulative effect. The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, is in line for $50 million, increasing its total budget by a third. The unemployed can fill their days attending abstract-film festivals and sitar concerts. 

Do they really believe that the purpose of the $50 million line item (which represents 0.00625% of the total stimulus package) is in there so that unemployed people can enjoy the arts?

FACT:  There are 5 million people employed in the arts in the United States, according to a study conducted last spring.  And most of them are not actual artists; they are everything from janitors to accountants that serve the arts industry.  But artist or not, being unemployed affects them just as strongly as it affects an unemployed factory worker.

And it's not like jobs in the arts are secure.