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The National Endowment for the Arts squeals for its bailout

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 29, 2009 01:54 PM

They’re creative. They’re important. And they’re almost as big as the military, so hand them more money and quit complaining!

Here’s the NEA’s plea for a piece of the stimulus pie — a plea paid for, of course, with your tax dollars:

There has been much public conversation recently regarding the role of the arts and culture industry in economic stimulus. Following is information that seeks to clarify this issue through two key points: that the arts and culture industry is a sector of the economy just like any other with workers who pay taxes, mortgages, rent and contribute in other ways to the economy; and that the National Endowment for the Arts is uniquely positioned to assist in job stimulation for that industry.

A statement on January 22 from then NEA Chairman Dana Gioia noted, “Arts organizations have been hit enormously hard by the current recession. They’ve seen their support drop from corporations, foundations, and municipalities. This infusion of funds will help sustain them, their staffs, and the artists they employ. We are hopeful that Congress and the new administration will support this important investment.”

The arts and culture sector

A recent study released by the National Governors Association titled Arts and the Economy: Using Arts and Culture to Stimulate State Economic Development states, “Arts and culture are important to state economies. Arts and culture-related industries, also known as creative industries, provide direct economic benefits to states and communities: They create jobs, attract investment, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies through tourism and consumer purchases.”

As noted in the NEA study Artists in the Workforce (May 2008), there are two million trained, entrepreneurial working artists across the country who are assets to their communities. Representing 1.4 percent of the U.S. labor force, artists constitute a sizeable class of workers — only slightly smaller than the total number of active-duty and reserve personnel in the U.S. military (2.2 million).

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