Resistance to arts stimulus

Posted on: February 6, 2009

In Thursday’s (2/5) Boston Globe, Michael Kranish writes about the $50 million arts stimulus bill that recently passed the House of Representatives as part of the larger economic stimulus package. “While the NEA money is a minuscule portion of the $819 billion House bill, it has become a lightning rod for some critics, who question whether the dollars for the arts will create many jobs—and who see the money as a symbol of House Democrats trying to lard up the plan with spending wish lists that have been pent up for years. … William Ivey, who was the leader of President Obama’s transition team on arts-related spending, said he has been troubled by comments suggesting ‘that an arts worker is not a real worker, and that a carpenter who pounds nails framing a set for an opera company is a less-real carpenter than one who pounds nails framing a house.’ ” The $50 million bill passed the House last week without a single Republican vote and “is not in the bill the Senate could vote on this week as Republicans and some Democrats try to rein in some spending. The matter would probably then become an issue when a House-Senate conference committee and the White House try to reach a compromise.”