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Should The Government Fund The Arts in Tough Economic Times?

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the stimulus package), $80 million of the stimulus money was given to the national Endowment for the Arts. The news has been met with a variety of responses. Some people who would normally support the measure may oppose it in tough economic times.

News of some of the economic stimulus package being used to fund the arts through the National Endowment for the Arts has been met with a variety of responses. You will have some that may support it and those that may oppose. You may even have some that would normally support it but may oppose it in tough economic times like the economic recession we are currently facing.

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the stimulus package), $80 million of the stimulus money was given to the national Endowment for the Arts.  Now it may seem to be a drop in the bucket when you are referring to an economic package that totals $787 billion but we are still talking about a significant amount of money here. I mean, hey, if you don’t want the $80 million, I’ll be more than happy to take it.

All joking aside though, we have to wonder how wisely tax dollars are being spent. Also, given our current economic situation, it is all the more important that the resources go to where they are needed most. Not just to help those in need but also to maximize the stimulus effect of the recovery act. The more efficiently the money is spent, the less of a need there will be to raise taxes to cover the tax revenues lost due to the recession. Not to mention the fact that raising taxes usually has a negative impact on the economy anyway.

Most of the money doled out to the NEA is being used to help preserve jobs in museums, orchestras, dance troupes and theaters that have been hit extremely hard by the recession. That part may not be too troubling to some. However, $50,000 was given to the Frameline film house, which produced Thundercrack, “the world’s only underground kinky art porno horror film, complete with four men, three women and a gorilla.” Classy stuff, I’m sure.

Stimulus money was also used to help fund the weekly production of “Perverts Put Out” at San Francisco’s CounterPULSE. The “long-running pansexual performance series” invites guests to “join your fellow pervs for some explicit, twisted fun.” Sounds like a real hoot, doesn’t it?

In 2010, the state of California recently resolved the issue of a $26 billion budget shortfall. Most of the California residents were adamantly opposed to the state raising their taxes as a means of resolving the issue. Therefore, the only remaining option was to cut spending. Unfortunately, that meant that some people out there were going to be negatively affected by such cuts. Education and healthcare were two areas where cuts were made.

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