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From Felix Salmon's entry in this month's issue of The Atlantic:
If the Obama administration is serious about stimulating the economy and creating as many new jobs as possible, one choice is clear: it should announce a massive increase in federal arts funding... for every $30,000 or so spent on the arts, one more person gets a job, compared with about $1 million if you’re building a road or hospital.
And Salmon's analysis occurs just at the level of the individual artist. As mentioned in a previous post, Art with a capital A is an industry, just like Music or Entertainment. Federal money spent on art doesn't just subsidize the aesthetic investigations of the next Pollock, though that goal alone is both noble and necessary; it also creates work for art suppliers, art movers, crate builders, installation crews, gallery attendants, museum workers, security guards, art writers, bookstore employees and many more.

It's true that art often poses more than just aesthetic challenges to its viewers, the most (in)famous of which are sexual or political in nature. But politics is a part of every dollar spent anywhere. Why should we de facto subsidize only conservative groups, like banks, with our deficit spending by avoiding the arts? It doesn't add up.

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