Want to see cronyism and favoritism at work in the economy? Before you settle in to watch tonight's Oscars, think about the ways in which Hollywood trims its costs at taxpayer expense. Here's Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit writes in a must-read Wall Street Journal piece:
Of the nine "Best Picture" nominees in 2012…five were filmed on location in states where the production company received financial incentives, including "The Help" (in Mississippi) and "Moneyball" (in California). Virginia gave $3.5 million to this year's Oscar-nominated "Lincoln."
Such state incentives are widespread, and often substantial, but they don't do much to attract jobs. About $1.5 billion in tax credits and exemptions, grants, waived fees and other financial inducements went to the film industry in 2010….
But at least all that dough creates good-paying jerbs, right?
The $1.5 billion in subsidies that states provide, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "would have paid for the salaries of 23,500 middle school teachers, 26,600 firefighters, and 22,800 police patrol officers." Or it could have gone to cut taxes on small businesses, which, as [actress Eva] Longoria noted in her DNC speech, produce two out of three jobs in the economy.
Over the years, Reason has been all over the non-existent case for film subsidies like Rex Reed on a celebrity profile.
And watch our interview on the subject with Gavin Polone, the producer behind entertainment as great and varied as Zombieland, The Gilmore Girls, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.