Arts Funding and Government Waste

OK, I won’t say anything at all about the government letting us down, or tax cuts vs. real stimulus, but I do want to point out one really sad fact about the nation we live in—looks like the government will spend $62 billion on keeping the F-22 raptor alive (a plane designed during the Cold War and criticized by basically everyone), but won’t spend a dime of the $800+ billion allocated to restart the economy on a public park, museum, or arts museum.

The L.A. Times has a great piece by Christopher Knight about this, including a bit comparing the F-22 promotional materials to info from Americans for the Arts:

The F-22 provides $12 billion annually in national economic activity through 25,000 jobs in 44 states, as well as another 70,000 that are indirectly affected by the program. Meanwhile, the national lobbying group Americans for the Arts says the country’s 5.7-million workers in the nonprofit culture industry contribute $166 billion to the annual economy.

But rather than spend a dime on culture, we piss away spend $62 billion on obsolete, and unneeded, fighter jets. Greatest. Country. In. The. World.

I couldn’t agree more with Knight’s conclusion:

Sounds good — but do I really think a beneficial cultural stimulus package has a snowball’s chance in Hades of happening? No. How about that wasteful F-22 funding? Yes; in fact I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t.

Why? Because ever since a bunch of farmers, merchants and other small-businesspeople fought the American Revolution against the East India Company and its nominal CEO, King George III, corporations have been the nation’s primary obstacle to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They still are.

Culture is all about pursuing happiness, so even in a crisis it barely stands a chance. If you doubt it, ask the Wall Street bankers who have gotten hundreds of billions in bailouts and bonuses — and stand to get more. Then ask your senator or representative, who can’t get elected without them.

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