Government Spending

NEA Head: Phoney-Baloney Arts Jobs Worth Every Bit as Much as Phoney-Baloney Road-Paving Jobs!

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Here's the Columbus Dispatch's breathless huzzah for the National Endownment for the Arts Rocco Landesman bold statement that the arts deserve just as much stimulupork as anything else:

His message: Creative jobs in orchestras, in theaters and behind easels are just as legitimate and worthy of taxpayer support as those in health care, road construction and other professions.

"There are 5.7million full-time arts-related jobs in this country; they're a real constituency," he said while touring a former car dealership transformed into productive space by the Columbus College of Art & Design.

"We're tired of being on the defensive. We're going to be on the offensive."

More here.

Let me be the first to say the Landesman has a point: If my taxpayer dollars are going to be flushed down the toilet that is stimulus spending, I'd just as soon see a rotten version of Once Upon a Mattress or Hamlet set in Battlestar Galactica's world as sit in traffic while ARRA funds are used to pave over streets that don't need a new topcoat.

I stand second to none in my interest in literature, music, visual arts, and more. And I stand second to none in suggesting that the arts, like religion, can only be made docile or complicit or craptacular by getting state funding.

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  1. I’ve got it!

    We can hire and pay some of the artsy people to do their thing (paint, draw, sculpt, act, sing, play…) for the people waiting in long lines for road construction.

    BAM. Win/win and everyone gets a job and is happy. I await my presidential appointment.

    1. If your idea flies, it’s “performance art;” if not, “conceptual art.”

      1. Either way it was art and I demand you pay me!

        1. I demand you pay me!

          Qui ? un’illustrazione per voi.

  2. “We’re tired of being on the defensive. We’re going to be on the offensive.”

    They must be doing a great job–I found it offensive.

    1. Only a stupid faggot nigger kike wop greaser spic zipperhead chink cunt would find that offensive.

      1. so, stupid was the most offencive word you could come up with to lead that off? No “retard” or even moron?

        E for effort, F for failed attempt.

  3. I’ve never seen a road repaved anywhere that didn’t need it. Usually the opposite is true (roads desperately need to be repaved but aren’t).

    1. It’s a type of rent seeking — by letting your roads go to crap, you’re going to move them up the queue for roads most in need of repair and get more Federal dollars quicker.

      1. I’m not so sure. From what I can tell, letting the roads go to hell leads to politicians calling for more super-expensive public transit and light rail projects, not road building.

    2. There are 3 roads on my 15-mile commute that got unnecessary repaving this summer. It doesn’t freeze here (TX), so our roads last longer, but I’ll bet the local politicians want their fair share of pork anyway. So, we get an equal share of road pork, and northerners get an equal share of heat-rejecting window/roofing pork.

    3. Lately I can’t go anywhere here in Oklahoma City without coming across road work. All of this is, of course, on roads that don’t really need work. Meanwhile roads and highways that DESPERATELY need a LOT of work sit untouched year after year.

    4. Consider this debate closed. Geotpf’s anecdotal evidence just refuted all you libertarian morons.

      1. My anecdotal evidence seemed to have been countered with other anecdotal evidence.

        However, I can come up with report cards such as this one:

        http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/

        Roads got a D-, lower than most other categories.

        Of course, they have an obvious politcal agenda, but I’ve never seen any organization argue the opposite, that roads were being repaved too often.

        1. ASCE is a rent-seeking, statist, lobbying group of a professional organization that focuses itself on smothering innovation while keeping its established members in authority over newcomers by imposing increasingly grueling “professional” standards for certification. They are also in bed with the academic cartel, using government to make higher education as inefficient and expensive as possible while keeping pompous, inflated egos in charge. Pretty much like every academic/professional organization.

  4. “If my taxpayer dollars are going to be flushed down the toilet that is stimulus spending…”

    I wonder if I could get a grant to do that as a visual arts piece.

    1. Speaking of toilets, what became of frog in a pot?

      1. He heard the rogue helicopter pilot (google it if you don’t know) was spotted on a different website.

  5. Hamlet set in Battlestar Galactica’s world

    Hamlet is recast as a hot blonde. How this changes the story vis-a-vis Ophelia writes itself.

    1. So Hamlet becomes “the melancholy Dame”? I think this has already been made as porn.

      1. Rule 34.

    2. Put me down for two tickets please.

  6. Let’s give everyone what they want:

    Artists get government paychecks for working on road crews.

    1. Road signage is already fucked up enough.

  7. This does not compute. When haven’t the arts been heavily subsidized by the state?

    Oh what, your local symphony runs an entirely self-sustaining operation?

    1. Let us not forget the combined purchasing budget of all libraries and the impact they have on the publishing industry/dvd industry.

      Thousands of town spending millions and millions of $$$$ on materials. (http://www.stpaul.lib.mn.us/pdf/budget/2010/2010adopted.pdf as an example).

      So, if they average the materials spending of St. Paul Public, that would be $7/person. Let’s estimate that most are cheaper and get $5/person/year. Including the 300,000,000 people in the US, that would make what? $1,500,000,000 that libraries alone are responsible for in the publishing and movie business (I would guess it’s actually double that).

      Let’s expand- That’s about 6.3% of the annual net sales of the publishing industry.

      Not a ton, but enough to where you can believe that the pub and DVD industry don’t want libraries to go down. (unless they’re hot libraries with beauty hidden under their frumpy frock and tight updo.)

  8. he said while touring a former car dealership transformed into productive space by the Columbus College of Art & Design.

    Uhm… so wait a second here. A car dealership turned “into a productive space”. If the space is productive, it doesn’t need taxpayer dollars. Because it’s productive.

    1. Productive is only a word. I give meaning to that word.

      1. As do I.

        1. You don’t give it meaning, you give it substance.

          1. Ahem. Touch

  9. When haven’t the arts been heavily subsidized by the state?

    I’m guessing in the US, from around 1789 through, oh, say, the 1960s or so.

    1. An unenlightened era, to be sure.

      [shudders]

    2. I doubt all those those portraits commissioned by the founders hanging in the whitehouse weren’t paid out of Ben Franklin’s pocket…

      1. OK, there’s, what, a few dozen portraits? Hardly “heavy subsidies for the arts.”

  10. The fundamental economic idiocy of the progressive left continues.

    Get this through your heads progressives: YOU CANNOT CREATE PROPSPERITY BY PAYING PEOPLE FOR USELESS BULLSHIT.

    Even according to classic Keynesianism, the money is supposed to be used to put idle labor and capital to use doing something inherently productive. A road (assuming it’s actually needed) at least enhances trade and commerce once it is completed.

    The modern idiot version of Keynes basically holds that printing dollars and throwing them from helicopters will stimulate the economy.

    Yes … little pieces of paper, floating from heaven, will magically generate production … somehow. Even if the little pieces of paper are creates by taking actual productive capacity away from actual productive enterprises.

    1. YOU CANNOT CREATE PROPSPERITY BY PAYING PEOPLE FOR USELESS BULLSHIT.

      Only people like you claim it’s “useless bullshit.” How can you not see the utility, indeed beauty?

      1. maybe he mean luxuries.

      2. How can you not see the utility, indeed beauty?

        Beats me, but I can’t.

        [polishes monocle, squints.]

        Nope. Nothing.

        [shrugs, walks away]

      3. Useless Bullshit is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, the eye is that of Sauron, and it belongs to government.

      4. There is plenty of useless bullshit in the art community.

        Trust me. I hang out with these people.

    2. Actually, the point is to push down the savings rate. The intended message is that if you don’t spend your money now, we’ll keep printing up so much that it won’t be worth anything later. This is refered to a committment to exceeding inflation expectations in polite company.

      Surpisingly, that would actually be a better idea than releasing a bunch of money from the fed, which the banks then proceed to buy up t-bills with, spending the funds raised with those t-bills on useless crap, and driving up personal savings due to Ricardian equivalence since somebody’s going to have to pay off those t-bills some day. When you convince people you’re going to destroy people’s savings via inflation rather than tax hikes at a future date, they at least get to buy stuff they want now.

      1. Actually, the point is to push down the savings rate.

        Because nothing grows an economy like punishing capital formation.

  11. His message: Creative jobs in orchestras, in theaters and behind easels are just as legitimate and worthy of taxpayer support as those in health care, road construction and other professions.

    The street outside of my apartment is currently sporting a sign proclaiming its receipt of ARRA funds for infrastructure improvements. The quality of work that went into it clearly qualifies it as performance art, so I have no fucking clue what Mr. Landesman is talking about here.

  12. Creative jobs in orchestras, in theaters and behind easels are just as legitimate and worthy of taxpayer support as those in health care, road construction and other professions.

    Ummm, but I’m not allowed to ride my bike over a the flute section.

    1. Oh wait. I just wrote something. That makes me a writer.

      It’s my money, and I want it NOW!

      1. Hmmm, this could lead so some great sarcastic street theater/ puppetry protest. We could hold a sarcastic protest in front of the office that hands out the grants and shout, “Give us money! Give us money!”

        1. You’ll have to leave, this is public property.

  13. If you’re an artist and you recieve one thin taxpayer dime, then your art has been chosen and paid for by the government. Think about that for a minute. Let that soak in.

    Artists receiving NEA grants during the years of 2000-2008 were chosen by, and paid by the Bush administration.

    1. Artists receiving NEA grants during the years of 2000-2008 were chosen by, and paid by the Bush administration.

      Heh, heh, good one. I’ll try to use that if I get the chance.

      Public art used to be statues of famous people and odes to mythical gods. Now we get some thrown-together crap that is “art” because some beatnik says so.

      … Hobbit

  14. Actually, the point is to push down the savings rate.

    Because nothing grows an economy like punishing capital formation.

    This.

    The logic of is that the stimulus spending will create jobs by stimulating *demand*. And that increased demand will somehow prompt increased production and growth. I.e. we will consume our way to prosperity.

    Pushing down the savings rate is classic monetarism, but it’s not really the logic our current leaders are following.

    However, saving money and building capital to invest in new production is a necessary prerequisite for anything like the above logic to work. What does increased demand matter if businesses lack the capital to produce more?

    And right now, that is our problem. It’s not lack of demand. There is plenty of demand. It is the fact that the banks have no capital (the blew it on housing), and businesses can’t get capital to grow.

    Stimulus spending not only doesn’t solve that problem, its is actively counter productive, first by taking valuable capital out of the hands of private enterprise, and second by causing inflation, which discourages capital formation.

    How the hell are the banks supposed to replenish their capital if people aren’t saving money?

    Oh, that’s right, the Fed will just print money and hand it over. Then pay them interest for not lending it.
    This is how fucked up our current economic policies are.

  15. Despite the sputterings of the no-necks, here’s the truth: take a crummy neighborhood and encourage a decent arts scene there (some galleries, a theatre, a dance troupe), the neighborhood becomes fashionable and profitable. I’ve seen it happen time and again in slummy nabes in Chicago and New York. Areas twenty-five years ago I wouldn’t have ventured into without an automatic now are catering to people with dough spending it. The result? Salaries for locals, flourishing ancillary businesses, tax revenue. It’s not just putting money into HAMLET IN SPACE (which is a pretty dumb and reductive example, by the way), it’s growing neighborhoods and putting lots of people to work in related businesses. In town after town, this has proven true. It’s why the mayor of Toronto wants to emulate Chicago, in fact.

    I don’t much care if any of you here don’t like the performing arts. Your loss. But if you claim an interest in generating productive communities, you might take the blinkers off. Supporting attractions that bring outsiders with bucks in makes the community desirable, local real estate goes up, tax revenue increases, unemployment outgo declines.

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