Economic Impact of the Arts

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Recently, Ron Nehring, the Chairman of the California Republican Party, was on C-SPAN, and he said that Michael Steele, the new RNC chairman, will help people see "the benefits of Republican ideas".

Well, we've seen the benefits of Republican ideas, thankyouverymuch. We see them every time we turn to the financial news.

Mr Nehring also made some remarks about the inclusion of arts funding in the stimulus package. I sent him this, through the California GOP web site (I notice that the site now does not feature an email contact; I'm sure this is not because of me. On the other hand, maybe....):

This morning, on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal", you made a disparaging remark about arts funding as part of the stimulus package.

Almost 6 million Americans work in the arts. Combined with the fact that creation of art works requires a serious expenditure in both equipment and expendable supplies, this gives the arts a serious impact on employment.

According to at least one study, more Americans attend professional arts events than attend professional sports, and they tend to combine these experiences with visits to restaurants, bars, and other places of recreation and refreshment, giving the arts a greater impact on our economy than most other industries.

I hope you will rethink your position on the place of arts funding in the economic stimulus package.

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