But a giant naked Indian is about the last thing I'd spend $38 million on. Giving $10,000 each to 3,800 Native organizations and artists would be a much better use of the money. It probably would attract more tourism and economic development, too.
To help the poor I'd get money from the defense budget or higher taxes. But not from education or the arts. That would be penny-wise and pound-foolish, as they say.
Build the statue, or...?
I'm sure The American's supporters claim the statue would bring in much more money than it would cost. Even if that's true--a big if--it leaves a key question unanswered: What alternatives have they considered for the $38 million expenditure?
For $38 million you could build some combination of a Indian museum, an Indian arts marketplace, an Indian village, and a theater devoted to Indian plays and movies. Who's to say these wouldn't generate even more tourist dollars than the statue? And thus more money for poor Indians, the ultimate goal?
And there's still the question of why a giant naked Indian? Wouldn't a giant clothed Indian draw just as many tourists? In short, what's the justification for spending money on any statue or on this particular statue?
For more on the subject, see Is The American Still Feasible? and Thoughts on The American.