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STIMULUS MONEY FOR THE ARTS? OF COURSE!

Why support the arts in this time of trouble? Seems frivolous to some. Not to me and not to anyone who cares to study the question. And speaking of studies, a new one co-authored by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis documents that the arts contribute more to the economy than agriculture or transportation or warehousing - $763.6 billion. And the arts are a net plus of $20 billion for the US when it comes to its international trade balance.

But...

We are told to keep social distance, which means that venues from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington to Godfrey Daniels Coffee House in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania are shuttered or will be shuttered soon. Without audiences, no ticket sales. The venues struggle. Without audiences, no place for artists - basically small business people - to earn a living. In all, more than 5,000,000 workers are employed in the arts and culture industry, many of whom depend on open doors encouraging engaged audiences. And those 5,000,000 are only the salaried individuals working in the industry. Absorb that and add to your thinking that, according to the census, artists are 3.6 times more likely to be self-employed than the average American wage earner. So those self-employed artists are not counted as part of that 5,000,0000. And so they can expect no paid sick leave or other employment benefits.

If that's not enough for you to understand why there is money in the stimulus package for the arts, I simply can't help you.

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