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Tyler Cowen

The Arts Need a Bailout, Too

Government grants to institutions will help, but arts vouchers to every American could also work.

Also in need of a bailout.

Also in need of a bailout.

Photographer: ANGELA WEISS/AFP

The U.K. recently announced a $2 billion bailout of its arts sector. Motivated by a desire to preserve its cultural heritage, support small businesses and help the tourism industry, the money will go to theaters, museums and concert venues.

The plan raises the question of what kind of aid the U.S. should consider, beyond that already available to small businesses more generally. After all, even if there is a vaccine soon, it is not obvious when consumers will feel comfortable going to jazz concerts again. Furthermore, tourism may be slow to resume, which damages many of the arts all the more.