Via Fractured Atlas, it looks like the fabled $50 million NEA stimulus might actually have survived the reconciliation process (pdf, page 4) between the House and Senate packages of the bill…seemingly at the expense of three times that number for the Smithsonian. And on a related note, how many of you knew that the NEA was part of the Department of the Interior? You (or at any rate I) learn something new every day.
If anyone’s wondering why I’ve been following this story so closely this week and last, it’s not just because I think it will make a difference for arts organizations (it will definitely help some of them, though many others will continue to suffer). It’s also an exercise in reading the tea leaves on how much our Congressional leadership believes in our cause. If it actually makes it into the final bill in spite of the controversy that the right threw at it and even after Coburn’s amendment (which apparently has been “watered down” to allow for arts funding) passed 73-24, that is a very promising sign indeed.
Other recent stimulus-related coverage for your entertainment:
- The Center for American Progress gets into the act with a strident rebuttal of recent quotes from conservatives on the stimulus.
- Umm, yeah, so it turns out that Tom Coburn’s daughter is a professional opera singer, and Father Dearest himself is apparently a frequent patron. (Coincidence, perhaps, that opera companies are spared the wrath of the Coburn amendment?)
- The LA Times‘s Culture Monster blog has been all over this story, and features two articles of particular note: a provocative argument to redirect funding for continued production of the F-22 fighter jet to the arts (though some of the author’s facts seem a little shaky), and speculation that the arts funding argument suffers from the public profile of well-compensated stars of the field (who, of course, represent a tiny minority of artists).
- Soho the Dog on why the Coburn amendment represents a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. (As an economist I spoke to this week told me, “it’s just stupid.”) And again today on thinking big for arts funding.