Barack Obama is going to put in place a new arts policy. Someone should oversee it. Hence, a Secretary of the Arts. Isn't that straightforward? For one of the first Presidents I've heard of with an actual arts policy, he should have a Secretary of the Arts. Or at least make the NEA chair a Cabinet-Level position.
As I've said before, this isn't a culture issue. This is an economic issue. Take this article, about how New York City's Broadway tax is allegedly going to hit AEA pensions. And not the billion dollar profits.
Now, one could argue that if the Department of Labor took arts issues to heart, a Department of Art wouldn't be necessary. But it clearly doesn't. Arts is a somewhat different industry--the way that Health and Human Services, or Agriculture are.
Also, what I like about the hypothetical Department of Art is what I like about the hypothetical Department of Food: although it's an economics oriented department, it keeps its goal in mind: producing art. If the FCC was made subject to this hypothetical Department of Art, it might behave differently. Or copyright law. The public radio/television organizations. They'd all be unified under one heading, working in conjunction with the Department of Education and the Department of Labor.
I think it's a good idea. And other than the increase in bureaucracy, there isn't much downside. Do it, Mr. Obama!
Sign this petition for a Secretary of the Arts.