Making news the last few days has been the debt commission lead by Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, two men who see a problem and who have no problem marching the sacred cows off to the butcher at the end of their career. This morning, PJ Orvetti from NBC Washington has unearthed one of their proposals that may prove controversial: a $7.50 admission fee for the museums.
Details aren’t too clear right now if that’s $7.50 for all of the museums, or $7.50, but you could see how a trip to DC for a family of four from the midwest could increase in cost by $120 pretty quickly. Part of the attractiveness of the DC region as a tourist destination is that so much of it is free from charge. The fortunes of the region are already looking in flux with the wave of deficit-averse politicians coming to legislate, do we really want to shoot a giant hole in our tourist draws?
No, the Smithsonian is our collected treasure. It is our trophy case. Those trophies were built with the heart and money of the American Public and to charge for them would be a travesty.