Ron Paul on arts funding
Post #1188 • June 4, 2008, 10:02 AM • 258 Comments
Some Americans appear to believe that there would be no arts in America were it not for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), an institution created in 1965. They cannot imagine things being done any other way, even though they were done another way throughout our country's existence, and throughout most of mankind's history. While the government requested $121 million for the NEA in 2006, private donations to the arts totaled $2.5 billion that year, dwarfing the NEA budget. The NEA represents a tiny fraction of all arts funding, a fact few Americans realize. Freedom works afer all. And that money is almost certainly better spent than government money: NEA funds go not necessarily to the best artists, but to people who happen to be good at filling out government grant applications. I have my doubts that the same people populate both categories.
I knew that the NEA made a minority contribution to the arts, but I didn't realize that it was only 5% of the size of the private sector's. One would think that the private sector could take up the slack created by the NEA's elimination, particularly if it were timed to coincide with a decrease of taxation, made possible by the immediate end to our pathetic misadventures in empire-building abroad.
I've said it before: I'd like to know what distinguishes the collection or exhibition of a living artist's work by a publicly funded museum and any other kind of corporate welfare.
Oh, and the last sentence of that excerpt? Hard to argue.