Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Should We Bail-Out the Arts?


The prez of the JFK Center for the Panhandling Arts:

We are losing the entertainment and inspiration we need more than ever during this terribly scary time.

Get a grip, man.

As we try to rebuild America’s image abroad, we are losing our most potent goodwill ambassadors.

It’s bad form to bash Bush and conservatives while demanding money from them, old chap.

As we reshape our economy, we are losing the organizations that teach our children to think creatively.

How ’bout some creative thinking about fund-raising instead of running to the government?

And as we celebrate the diversity of our nation, we are losing the voices that have traditionally helped change society’s thinking.

What if the change in thinking we need is the knee-jerk urge to go on the dole?

The arts in the United States provide 5.7 million jobs and account for $166 billion in economic activity annually. This sector is at serious risk.

He’s right in this regard; there is no principled reason to bailout some industries and not all of them.

But thousands of organizations, and the state of America’s arts ecology, are in danger.

“Ecology”? Is that like “Global Arts Warming”? It’s an “epidemic”!

We need an emergency grant for arts organizations in America, and we need legislation that allows unusual access to endowments. Washington must encourage foundations to increase their spending rates during this crisis, and we need immediate tax breaks for corporate giving.

As we print billions of dollars in bailout money, isn’t it time to ensure that we are saving our soul as well as our economy?

Jesus, not government, saves souls, and for free. While he’s right about printing money, he’s just another pirate who wants his cut.

Ol’ Mapplethorpe missed out. He could have gotten two federal bailouts today; one as an artist, the other as a buggy-whip manufacturer.

I supported the first half of the first bail-out–but once the banks stabilized, it should have stopped. I supported it because banks function as a public utility on which all other businesses depend–and because the Gummint helped melt them down by ordering them to produce the impossible, a Free Lunch.

Now we’ve evidently decided that the way out of this mess is not just the Free Lunch, but Free Breakfasts, Dinners, Brunches, Between Meal Snacks and Midnight Raids on the Treasury. Good luck with that new diet, fatso.

There is no Free Lunch and there are no free symphonies. And when everything is made into a government program, symphonies must compete with potholes, battleships, midnight basketball and that performance art-lady who pours chocolate on her body as she “changes the way society thinks” and “rebuilds America’s image abroad”. I don’t know about you, but I’m suddenly thirsty for a chocolate malted.

If you pay for it, that is.

Will Rogers used to ask “Stupidity got us into this mess–why can’t stupidity get us out?”

Unlimited Government got us into this mess–and Unlimited Government stupidity is going to keep us there until we either wise up or go down the drain.

After all, bailouts are only for sinking ships.

Posted in Art!   

6 thoughts on “Should We Bail-Out the Arts?

  1. Wal, shucky darn, I thought we were already bailing out the arts.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the only ones that need bailing out are the ones nobody wants to look at or listen to, aren’t they? Some artists are doing just fine.

    And you’re right–it’s Jesus, not government or the arts, who saves souls.

  2. We do already subsidise some, but this guy is asking for brand new borrowed federal money (in addition to new corporate tax write-offs).

    If this is magic money that never has to be repaid, then let’s just give every man, woman and child their own suitcase full and be done. Or is it money that will have to be repaid at eventual loanshark rates?

    The states are all lining up, too. They can’t print magic money like the Feds. But the states that have bakrupted themselves the worst with union featherbedding, etc. will be rewarded while the states that have balanced their budgets will be punished. Why? Because taxpayers from every state will have to chip in to pay for the profligate states.

    There are great needs out there–that’s why govt. should be limited. So citizens can solve their own problems with their own money whenever possible. So governments can focus on the really important stuff instead of trying to do everything and doing it badly, yet expensively.

    This isn’t the Hair-of-the-Dog cure–we’re about to swallow the dog, the cat, the parakeet and the Municipal Zoo, too.


  4. so…… exactly where are all those proponents of “spread the wealth”??

    collectively, hollywood & music industry wealth could easily bail out ‘the arts’. when are those obama-lovers going to start ponying up and put their money where their mouths have been?


  5. I fail to understand why “the arts” has to be sheltered from the laws of economics. If you want to make a living doing something, you have to provide a product or service somebody else is willing to pay for.

  6. I like symphonies and art museums. In fact, I’m thinking of opnining one myself. I’ve got some painting drop-cloths in the garage that are as good as any Pollock canvas–maybe better.

    But here’s how it’s supposed to work; the citizens of Des Moines or of Iowa as a whole decide they want a symphony orchestra. They vote on it and they agree to all chip in AND PAY FOR IT. They don’t ask the Feds to pay for it by printing Monopoly Money and put it on a Chinese Capitol One Credit Card; “What’s In Your Warret?”

    Reagan used to say politics was the second oldest profession and very similar to the first. Except even whores say “No!” once in a while.

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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