It would be nice if we could argue for the arts because, well, they’re the arts: civilization requires at the very least the veneer of acting civilized. However, this is not the 21st century America we have built, so everything has to be justified economically. That’s why Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s recent tweet about President Obama’s recent apology to an arts history professor is so incredibly stupid:
It may not sound like much, but more than one percent of the American workforce is supported by nonprofit arts groups. That means more people make their living from the arts than from accountancy and law. The field of arts employs more people than the nation’s police forces, farms, and fisheries. Arts workers outnumber computer programmers, postal workers, and firefighters. When viewed in the proper context, the number of arts workers is staggering.
Undeniable too is the economic impact of the nonprofit arts sector. Total spending exceeds $53 billion by organizations and $80 billion by audiences. The tax revenues they generate exceed $10 billion for the federal government, $7.3 billion for states, and $6.6 billion for cities and towns.
Those sound like jobs to me.
We are governed by fools and sociopaths.