Friday, May 14, 2004

Axing the National Endowment for the Arts

Jason Wright's piece, "David vs. Goliath: We Must Slay the NEA," is on point. After having decreased its budget by half during the Gingrich Revolution in the mid-1990s, government is again misusing tax dollars for activities best left up to the marketplace. This year, the NEA will get $121 million in taxpayer dollars. Next year, it's $139 million.

I love the arts as much as the next person, but this is an improper role for the U.S. government. These funds often go toward art that offends a ton of folks. It is also heavily biased toward the coasts, while "flyover country" gets little back to its artists while forking over much. I say, let the market handle the issue. If your art is all that and a bag of chips, then people will purchase your art. If they don't, then clearly there's no or very little market for your art. The arts were doing just fine in the 19th century, without these funds. Nowadays there are more government funds for the arts, but many arts suck more now than ever.

NEA funds should be returned back to the people where they belong and we decide which arts (if any) we'll support, and how we'll support them.


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