There Is No Bigger Waste Of Our Tax Dollars Than Funding Art

When I heard last night that George Bush intended to increase the budget of the National Endowment of the Arts for 15-20 million dollars, the largest increase in two decades, I just could not believe it. Bush is already being blasted for spending too much money, his base doesn’t like the National Endowment for the Arts, and I seriously doubt that NEA funding is going to be a significant campaign issue.

More importantly, the very idea that a country running nearly a 500 billion deficit should be funding artists is simply asinine. Even if we weren’t running a deficit, the government would have no business funding art. This isn’t ancient Rome and we don’t need a coliseum to keep the people entertained so they won’t riot. There is no dearth of entertainment or art in our country, nor would there be without government funding.

“But John, but John, they might have to close a playhouse, a museum, or a symphony if the government funding dried up. What about our cultural values?”

I have to admit something to you here; I am a real philistine when it comes to art. I think the whole idea that there’s something inherently better about going to the symphony than let’s say a country music show, or going to see “Cats” instead of a movie, is just elitist snobbery that’s drummed into us from the time we’re small. If you want to see a play or a symphony, fine, go do it. But, let’s not pretend there is something so special about playhouses or symphonies that the government needs to step in to keep them open if the public doesn’t want to buy the tickets.

We live in a rich, capitalistic society and there is plenty of money out there for deserving artists. But, if an artist can’t make it without the government’s help, then I’d suggest they either quit or get a day job and treat their art like a hobby. If it’s good enough for bloggers, it’s good enough for artists.

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