Jan 6, 2010

It's Not Play Money

Just caught Peggy Amsterdam's eloquent hometown defense of two Philly theater companies unfairly ridiculed by Sens. John McCain and Tom Coburn last year, and summarily pounced on by Fox News:

These arts organizations pay real wages and provide real health insurance to a group of people who face the same economic challenges as the rest of us. These are our neighbors, and they have mortgages, car payments, and college expenses. And their organizations' activities support other workers in the economy, such as plumbers, carpenters, lawyers, and accountants.

Artists need and deserve work, just as all Americans do. And their industry is a key engine in our economic recovery. More than 5.7 million jobs in this country are generated by the nonprofit arts sector, and that work touches and enriches the lives of all Americans.

The NEA grants represent just 2 cents of every $100 of stimulus money being spent by the federal government. You might debate the value of government job creation - or any job creation - but these jobs represent a tiny fraction of our overall expenditures for that purpose. And it's foolish to suggest that this isn't real work - or that it's unworthy of support from a program established specifically for job creation.
And I'd heard the stimulus didn't work.

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