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Can't buy me love?

Speaking of what I just posted about Paul Krugman's idiocy about domestic spending not having risen under Bush, I see this piece on that topic:

President Bush will seek a big increase in the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts, the largest single source of support for the arts in the United States, administration officials said on Wednesday.


Administration officials, including White House budget experts, said that Mr. Bush would propose an increase of $15 million to $20 million for the coming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. That would be the largest rise in two decades and far more than the most recent increases, about $500,000 for 2003 and $5 million for this year.

I'm not quite sure I get Bush's strategy here. Somehow I don't think the NEA -- even a noncontroversial version -- is a program near-and-dear to his heart. So why this proposal? Does he figure that he has already lost the deficit-hawk vote, so he might as well go all out to buy the votes of moderate swing-voters by funding every social program ever conceived of?

The one thing we can be sure of: even if it passes, Bush will never get credit for this among Democratic partisans. It doesn't matter how much additional money he spends; people like Paul Krugman come along to claim that it's not enough. (Indeed, if the NEA's budget increases by "only" $10 million, say, those partisans will claim that this announcement was just grandstanding and that Bush never lives up to his promises.) So I just don't get this. What does Bush hope to gain?

(By the way, isn't Disney, or one of the other media conglomerates, a larger "single source of support for the arts in the United States" than the NEA? Or does only art that nobody wants to watch count as art?)


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 29, 2004 12:12 AM.

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