|Museum of Contemporary Art, Rio de Janeiro, Oscar Niemeyer, architect|
'If the NEA needed any more reasons to look inadequate, Brazil just offered one: the government has decided to give Brazilian workers a stipend of $25 a month just for “cultural expenses” — that’s anything from books and movies to tickets to art museums.
According to the Agence France Presse, the new policy is a way to provide access to culture for all Brazilians. “In all developed countries, culture plays a key role in the economy,” Brazil’s Culture Minister Marta Suplicy said. “Why would the poor not be able to access culture?”
Ninety percent of the stipend will be covered by employers, who will be able to deduct the amount from their income taxes. Workers pay the remaining 10 percent out of their own paychecks but can opt out if they prefer. The benefit can go to workers earning as much as five times the minimum wage, but it’s up to employers to choose the benchmarks. The $25 culture stipend will be paid through an electronic card, which will limit the spending to cultural goods.'
To which I'll add, that I've been to this museum in Rio, it commands a stunning view of the city, the harbor, the skyline.
Back to the topic on hand. I note that many of our cultural institutions are on public lands, that we are owners of our cultural inheritance and that we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from it. I also find it sad that we don't have a cabinet level position of culture minister.