Funding the arts – or hurricane recovery

With only so much taxpayer cash, what should our priorities be in this year of big hurricanes?

Guest essay by Paul Driessen

A couple of friends recently said it was terrible that some in Congress and the White House could even consider reducing National Endowment for the Arts funding. It’s a critical program, they feel, essential for the very survival of many community and even big-time theaters, orchestras and other arts programs. The thought of trimming the NEA shows a low regard for this important component of civilized society.

For centuries, Kings and princes funded composers, artists, symphonies, operas and artwork, especially back in the days when royalty controlled the lands and wealth – and paid their peasants a pittance (if at all). Letting them listen to or gaze on some of the artistic creations helped keep them happy in an era when illiterate serfs were happy dreaming of being rewarded in the afterlife.

The National Endowment for the Arts was launched in 1965 and has enjoyed steady funding by taxpayers. Its $150 million 2017 budget covers offices, staff salaries, and numerous grants and contracts.

The Los Angeles Times opined in March of this year that the NEA’s budget is “minuscule compared to other federal expenditures.” $150 billion “won’t even get you a Picasso at auction.” It would only buy a thousand Tesla Model S P90D electric cars. The Defense Department receives 3,600 times more money; maybe the Pentagon should economize on toilet paper, the column suggested.

All of this raises compelling issues that could generate interesting congressional or talk radio discussions.

America is the land of millionaires and billionaires – folks who can and do afford Picassos, (taxpayer-subsidized) Teslas, and box seats at symphonies and operas that average taxpayers rarely attend. If just 300 Hollywood, Silicon Valley, social media and other ultra-rich culture devotees ponied up just $500,000 apiece, they’d fully fund the entire NEA program. So would 1,500 of them giving just $100,000 each, instead of buying yet another mansion, yacht, private jet or vacation island.

While the Defense Department is a favorite target for liberal pundits, defending the homeland is one of the most critical roles of government – and one that citizens, communities and even states cannot do on their own. Like it or not, we remain embroiled in conflicts overseas, and bad actors Iran and North Korea are on the verge of getting nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Security expert Cliff May reports that Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuelan dictatorship (likely with Cuban help) is providing passports to a host of Jihadi warriors, so that they can utilize the socialist-Islamist-narco-terrorist-gun-running alliance more effectively to ply their lethal trade here in the United States. National Counterterrorism Center director Nicholas Rasmussen warns that these and other terrorists may soon employ drones to drop grenades or spread poison gases on crowds of Americans.

Gunning people down in California, Florida, Tennessee and Texas, bombing the Boston Marathon, slamming jets full of fuel and passengers into NYC and DC buildings, mowing pedestrians down with vehicles, and murdering police officers reflect pure evil. It will be worse when more ISIS butchers arrive on our shores. We should cut DoD waste, but never protections for our families, lives and freedoms.

The LA Times article was written five months before Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria visited death and rampant destruction on Texas, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and other communities.

The question now is, how does NEA funding stack up against the urgent need to restore electricity to Puerto Rico and rebuild homes, businesses, infrastructures and lives in hundreds of badly impacted neighborhoods? Indeed, how does funding a vast host of federal programs stack up against that need?

President Obama was lucky. He presided over two-thirds of the longest Category 3-5 hurricane drought in U.S. history: eight years out of a record twelve (even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels kept rising). How he would have handled even one, to say nothing of three back-to-back monster storms, we will never know. Nor will we know how he’d have handled these budget questions, though we can guess.

Just recall how many “shovel-ready jobs” were actually created by $1 trillion in stimulus funding.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time the USA was hammered by several monster hurricanes in a very short span. 1879, 1893, 1909, 1933, 1954 and 2005 come to mind. And those are just the big ones that pounded the U.S. mainland. This year’s hurricane season isn’t over yet, so disaster preparedness remains vital.

Thankfully, this year FEMA was on the job in record time. However, rebuilding Puerto Rico alone will top $30 billion, following the worst storm to hit the island since 1928. Repairing damage from Harvey and Irma will exceed $150 billion, Moody’s Analytics estimates.

Families will have to dip into savings and do a lot of the work themselves. However, the financial burden will also be shouldered by private insurance companies, or by the federal government’s flood insurance program, and by FEMA and other disaster assistance loans and grants. Still more will be covered by hundreds of public and private companies, churches, synagogues and nonprofit charities, and direct citizen donations. JJ Watt raised $30 million via YouCaring.com, and Gleaning for the World has been typically efficient in shipping life-giving supplies to Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. Please give!

Congress has appropriated $15 billion in hurricane disaster relief, with more to come for those areas and the islands. Legislators assume and hope that funds will somehow materialize to cover this – and all the other programs that President Reagan liked to quip were the closest thing on Earth to eternal life.

Complying with myriad federal regulations costs us nearly $2 trillion a year – more than all personal and corporate taxes paid to Uncle Sam. If more of those rules are trimmed, and a long-overdue tax overhaul ultimately brings in many billions in additional tax revenues as the economy is reinvigorated, budgetary needs could be met and the private sector could weigh in with yet more help. Here’s another idea.

Federal and state laws could require that anyone from hurricane-impacted areas who expects another welfare or unemployment check must help clean up, repair and rebuild their communities. Many or most people on these “entitlement” rolls are strong and able-bodied. By serving their communities and country, they would learn new skills, find new friends, mentors and role models, and embark on paths to lifetime achievement. Indeed, the return to “workfare” and responsible citizenship should be nationwide.

As George Mason University professor Walter Williams observes, “The No. 1 problem among blacks is effects stemming from a very weak family structure.” This is “a legacy of the welfare state ushered in by the War on Poverty” and continued by “politicians, civil rights leaders and academics who assert that every problem confronting blacks is a result of a legacy of slavery and discrimination.”

“Children from fatherless homes are likelier to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes and end up in prison,” he states. “They are also likelier to live in poverty-stricken households.” Indeed, that holds true for white, Hispanic and other ethnic groups.

Williams also points out that federal spending in 2017 will top $4 trillion. At $1 trillion, Social Security will take up most of it. Defense ($598 billion), Medicare ($582 billion) and Medicaid ($404 billion) are the next-largest expenditures. Other federal social spending – on food stamps, unemployment compensation, child nutrition, child tax credits, supplemental security income and student loans – total roughly $550 billion. In fact, social spending by Congress consumes about two-thirds of the federal budget, he notes.

Congress doesn’t get this money from the tooth fairy or Santa Claus, Williams concludes. It uses “threats, intimidation and coercion to confiscate” money from one American, to give it to another American.

As the nation marshals its resources to rebuild shattered communities in this latest year of big hurricanes – and Congress and the White House begin deliberating major changes in the Tax Code – it’s a perfect time to begin debating all these issues, reexamining our priorities, and putting America back to work: for a regular paycheck … or in return for continued welfare or unemployment checks.


Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death and other books on public.

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81 thoughts on “Funding the arts – or hurricane recovery

  1. Trimming budgets of already very small programs is a silly exercise — comprehensive waste management action by internal government watchdogs will save far more money without affecting services.

    Nothing wrong with the National Endowment for the Arts, if it were a true endowment. It isn’t an endowment, it is a budget item, rife with highly paid unfire-able government employees using up much of the funds. They fund some truly idiotic stuff that very few Americans consider ART, but they do some good things too.

    The real problem with the NEA is that it is staffed and manned by far-left/uber-progressive elites that “know best what is art” — leaving the rest of the country shaking their heads in wonderment.

    They should get back to funding free classical music concerts for the people, funding youth orchestras in Middle America, buying instruments and sheet music for public schools — instead of trying to impress the Arts Elites at the United Nations.

    • Sorry Kip.
      I pay my own way and always have including piano lessons payed for by my night and weekend job as an 11 year old kid. I self taught myself on Guitar, drums. and bass. I buy my own concert tickets (From the 1st one at 13 yrs old) including some Classical. I came from a very poor family and I mean poor, in Liverpool. UK.
      So put the $150 billion/yr into a disaster relife fund and help people who have lost their homes and are feeling a hopeless dispair.

      • Funding doesn’t mean it’s free, just more affordable for middle America, and even the poor. Most arts organizations require some sort of funding, whether from public or private entities. I think it’s because the arts are viewed as a luxury, and I suppose they are in a way. Without them though, a civilization dies.

      • The only way to reduce gov’t waste is to reduce gov’t. Watchdogs, audits, “reducing fraud and abuse” don’t do it.

        Let’s start by deleting spending on things that the Constitution does not authorize.

      • @Bruce Cobb: “the arts are viewed as a luxury … Without them though, a civilization dies.”

        Look around–civilization seems to be dying anyway even with public arts funding. The universities, with their scorn for dead white men and love affair with leftist agendas, seem to be hell-bent on its destruction.

        Side note: I’m retired from teaching at a state university where the provost once seriously suggested that “plenty of smaller programs, such as philosophy and history, may be on the chopping block.” An institution that calls itself a university without philosophy and history departments? Really?

      • You’re right Mike. All Watchdogs and audits do to control government is make it larger and most of those appointed to the watchdog positions are appointed by those they are to oversee.

      • Right TG. We need more people doing for themselves, not less. As KIP said if NEA really went to help those without access to arts (i.e. schools), then maybe some public support could possibly be justified. But when people have their homes, property, and all they own ruined, they should get help before some art project.

      • @ Ralph Westfall – October 2, 2017 at 12:30 pm

        An institution that calls itself a university without philosophy ——– departments? Really?

        Please enlighten me, ……. just what is the social, economic, medical and/or scientific “value” that is associated with philosophy ……. that justifies the expense of “teaching” it …… and makes it a worthwhile discipline for university student studies?

    • Having submitted and managed a government agency’s budget I know it is possible to reduce spending within a two year time frame by 25% in dollar value and a similar amount in staff with little impact on providing government services. Single biggest cost item in almost every agency budget is salary, benefits and travel. The biggest problem with the federal government is that you cannot fire or basically even layoff people unless you totally eliminate programs. There is an internal government watch dog group that every years reports on the number and cost of duplicative programs in the federal system. Last time I read the report it was at a cost of something like $240 billion. Yet neither Republican and certainly no Democrat every makes a big deal about eliminate such programs. There is a much bigger elephant in room, and that is the federal debt and deficit spending. As the federal reserve increases the interest rates the percentage of the federal budget doing nothing more than paying interest on the debt will accelerate reaching very soon a point where it exceeds ALL other department’s budgets. And you don’t need a supercomputer to predict that outcome. I am not too sure it wasn’t planned by the last US administration.

      • Yes, Edwin. I ran a small government Lab, few million dollars. If I were able to hire, evaluate, and cut staff based on merit and importance to the Lab’s objectives, I could have cut at least 25% without any cuts in the data, information, and service we provided.

      • I love the way the government says we are going to “cut budget. It is actually an increase in funds but not as much as the department wanted. Not much of a cut is it.?

      • I love classical music and have performed and taught it since the 1960s; however, government support is the death-knell of independent thought in any artistic endeavor. When the government pays, the artist does what the government wants (insofar as that can be discerned). I was briefly an arts administrator (Managing Director of a ballet company); in that capacity, I applied for grants, as all my fellow-administrators did in other arts organizations. I was grateful for what little government support I was able to find, but I was delighted to get private donations from persons or companies. I would love to have supported the ballet on ticket sales, but that was impossible; performing venues were not free ($1500 to $3000 was typical), to say nothing of lighting directors and ancillary stage personnel. In my organization, the dancers did not get paid (except for teaching little children the beginnings of ballet), and many other parts of the productions were donated. But I, and my co-workers in other organizations, knew perfectly well that, except for really high-profile groups like the Symphony or the Opera, we could not support ourselves and had to find support where we could.

        That being said, I preferred local government help to state government, and (had it been available) local/state support to federal support. In local government there were actually people–true, verifiable persons–who attended and liked the ballet and knew what we were doing. That was comforting, and I was only so reluctant to accept money from the city. Never saw a dime from the National Endowments.

      • Let us not forget there are Mean, Mode and Median.

        Ferd has calculated the Mean.

        I would guess the Mode is about $35-40,000.
        I would guess the Median is about $50-55,000.
        Guesses, but roughly in line – rule of thumb – with a organisation with a few highly paid ‘leaders’; and (rather) a lot of more modestly paid ‘gophers’; and a modest number of middle managers [all hoping to be promoted to the ‘trotters-in-he trough’ leadership roles – if only they knew the right people].

        Merit may occasionally come into it, of course.

        If anyone has actual figures [or even informed estimates] it would be good if they were shared.

        Auto.

    • “Art” is not a necessity, it is a frill. Way, far up Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” pyramid. As long as we are dealing with cleaning up after multiple natural disasters at once, unable to provide truly “affordable” health care, and unable to secure our borders or fund public schools well enough to turn out civilized, employable young people with modern skills, I would say NO, we have more pressing priorities than the NEA.

      Furthermore, most “art” the people actually consume has no difficulty making a profit. Some older, arcane traditional art forms (opera, symphony, ballet etc.) if no longer self-sustaining due to their elitist, urban one- percenter audiences could and should be funded by deep-pocketed donors; NOT the taxpayer.

      • While I disagree that the non-art parts of your list is the job of the federal government, I agree that there are other priorities. Here are several points to support the idea of arts being kept off of the government payroll.

        If an artist can spend all their time devoted to art, he is much more likely to be a great artist. But, this can be done by private funding. Art does not require government to survive. It can even be done by people like me, who volunteer a lot of time at a local community theater, and teaches puppetry workshops…. all without any sort of pay.

        Capitalism also works for the artist. If the art is over priced, or simply bad art, then the general public is not going to give their money to that artist.

        Besides, if the NEA needs money, let the democrats fund this overwhelmingly liberal organization themselves.

    • Arianna Huffington, when she was a seasoned debater, came up with a good one liner.
      “The military spends more on brass bands that the entire NEA grant”.

      • Walt ==> Good example — not that I think military brass bands are bad. But the NEA is a “soft target” for budget cutters, and like many Federal programs, has been corrupted by rampant so-called liberalism to a travesty of its intended purpose. Redirecting the NEA, not cutting its trivial budget, is the right idea.

      • I have no idea about the US but in Australia I thought that most of our military musicians are cross trained in unimportant military stuff like combat first aid. So in a real shooting match they are necessary and useful and they aren’t playing music.

    • Some of the most hilarious times of my misspent youth involved hanging around with so-called artists who worked very hard to pry pennies from the pinching grasp of rich people. The aim seemed to not be art, as much as it was to avoid the indignity of working a Real Job, and the true artistry was that of a con-artist.

      I would not deny such experiences to any youth, but poverty seemed to be a necessary component. It was poverty that pushed one into trying new and interesting approaches at scamming the wealthy. Trying such scams pushed one to certain limits, wherein one had to make moral choices, and decide whether it was worth being what boiled down to being basically a gigolo, or not. Some could stomach it; I could not. In the end I “sold out” and got a Real Job.

      One of the scams all dreamed of involved an “advance”, wherein one promised to produce great art in the future if only one was freed from the stress of having to work a Real Job today. It was like the famous line of Wimpy in the Popeye cartoons, “I will gladly pay you Thursday for a hamburger today.” Unfortunately the fellows who actually did get advances tended to get too drunk to produce much of anything, though some did display an altruistic streak and bought booze for the rest of us.

      Among the phonies who did a good job of dressing like artists, without producing art, there were a few people who actually had some talent. I noticed two things that seemed to set them apart. First, because true art has some relationship with Truth, they were not very good at being false, and even seemed to have an allergic reaction when they attempted to be phony. Second, in the end it didn’t really matter if they were poor, or even if they had to work a Real Job; they persisted in producing art, for the sheer joy of it.

      • Caleb ==> Great story.

        Another scam, used by a friend since passed on, was to have a wealthy friend buy a couple of pieces of his work, at outrageous prices, and donate these “valuable pieces” to moderately important museums. Thus “established” as an “important new artist” — this could be repeated with even higher prices and more important museums. After several rounds, he could produce absolutely idiotic work and sell it to suckers for a great deal of money — never had to work a real job again.

      • I am slightly green with envy….but if I’d had too much money I likely would also be a person “since passed on”. Instead I have the joys of a granddaughter pestering me as I type these words.

  2. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/08/25/its-over-4324-day-major-hurricane-drought-ends-harvey-lands-as-cat4/comment-page-1/#comment-2593562

    It amazes me that people in the hurricane and tornado areas of the USA continue to build with wood-frame construction, which is so easily destroyed by high winds and flooding.

    In the mid-1990’s, I designed and patented an Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) System called Advantage Wallsystems. http://www.advantageicf.com/

    I no longer have any interest, financial or otherwise, in this product or company, but want to point out the advantages of ICF Systems. An ICF structure can be built with concrete floor and ceiling decks and steel shutters to survive most natural disasters. The polystyrene foam is closed-cell, so it will also survive a flood – interior finishing materials such as drywall must of course be replaced. Moving valued possessions to the second floor should preserve them in most flood situations – if your second floor floods, you are building in the wrong location.

    The primary benefit of this particular ICF system is that it is stronger and can sustain much higher concrete pour heights than most other ICF products – it also has features than enable ease of use.

    When Texas [and elsewhere] rebuilds, will they simply use stick-built construction that will be destroyed by the next natural disaster, or will they employ ICF construction that can survive floods, hurricanes and tornadoes?

    Regards, Allan

    • It amazes me that Florida and Texas, having been warned about the risks of flooding, hurricanes and sea level rise, continue to ignore the risks and do not build for resilience and flood control as they ought

      • Now you have just gone past ignorant into stupid. You know nothing of current building codes in Florida. I suggest everyone just ignore this idiot from now on.

      • You have to admit one thing though Tom,
        Griff’s suggestion that Texas and Florida (And Puerto Rico) rebuild to a higher standard is probably the most sense he has ever made.

      • It is already being done that way that is why he is stupid for not knowing anything about that. That was my point. But you cannot go back an undo older buildings, or perhaps you can if so much money wasn’t wasted on bogus climate change.

      • Not much was knocked down in either Florida or Texas.
        We are probably already in the area of diminishing returns when it comes to building codes.

      • “Tom in Florida October 2, 2017 at 11:16 am ”

        He makes lots of uninformed comments about countries he knows nothing about, England for one.

      • MarkW October 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm
        Not much was knocked down in either Florida or Texas.
        We are probably already in the area of diminishing returns when it comes to building codes.

        Flood-proofing the doors and lower walls would help, though.

    • Allan ==> I saw some of the ICF work being done in Florida and was fascinated. Congratulations on your contribution to modern construction.

      • Thank you Kip.

        I did not invent ICF’s, but I did design a better one. Typical ICF’s of two decades ago were poorly designed so concrete pour heights were limited to about 8 feet and lateral displacement (swelling) of the forms and even “blowouts” were not uncommon – where the polystyrene forms swelled and ruptured and fluid concrete leaked everywhere.

        Our first test pour of my new design was 16 feet high, and we could not even measure any lateral displacement in the form, let alone any rupture. We did not use any more material than previous ICF designs, but we used it better.

        My design also was easier-to-use and allowed for more unskilled labour to participate in the building process.

        Best, Allan

  3. The biggest budget items are social security, Medicare, Medicaid and other mandatory spending. Comes to 62%. Social Seacurty leads the pack.

    Why does Warren Buffet receive a SS Cheque?

    • Because it was his money. The government decided he needed to set it aside for his retirement so it forced the deductions. The same government then decided that he didn’t need all the money they had forced him to set aside, so they could give it to somebody who didn’t plan for their retirement.

      • Ron & Rocket Scientist,

        Social Security has always been a transfer of wealth. It was no longer “his money” as soon as the government took it from him.

        Why should retirees be able to take trips around the world, buy new cars, motor homes and airplanes with other people’s money?

        Unlike Global Warming/Climate Change, working stiffs paying for my airplane are going rise up in revolt over the issue.

      • Social security was a transfer of wealth to the federal government. Remember that originally SS retirement was set at 65 years old because the average age of death was 62! The government never intended to pay back the money it confiscated. It was also conceived in an era where there was no practical way to track everyone’s contribution so the method of payment based on quarters worked was devised.

        Now, I think SS should be phased out and die. But since that won’t happen in my lifetime, I would like to see each person have an individual account that would track payments in and SS benefits paid out based on the that individual’s contributions only. Get rid of the matching employer contribution. Pay a 3% interest rate on the money the government takes from you and uses during your working years and add that to your contributions for a total account balance. You get to choose your payment outcome, just like an annuity. Easy enough to do today with computers. Of course I also realize this would take away the ability of the feds to spend your money without your knowledge.

    • In other words, like most socialists, you want other people’s taxes to be increased so you can have more good things in life.

    • Coral Reefs are a lot more interesting, but I just got back from Port Aransas where I crossed the ferry with Texas Department of Transportation dump trucks hauling debris to an expanded median of the HWY 35 bypass south of Rockport. We have been wondering what that was for as it looked like the bypass and related development may have resulted in the destruction of more oak trees than Harvey. Hurricane destruction causes are complicated, height often looked consistent with damage, but overshadowed by trailers and motor homes. There is science here that could be studied and eventually applied. It probably would not be very palatable.

      Texas just took over windstorm insurance and spread the cost to the whole state because insurance companies were pulling off the coast. The feds have control of flood insurance which according to what I just read is going broke. This leaves a small irregular window between which may be where survival lays.

      This area last suffered three serious hurricanes, Carla (1961), Beulah (1967) and Celia (1970), absence since indeed. The 1919 storm is what moved the port from Rockport to Corpus Christi. Previously posted this site, but this was amazing. Don’t mess with Texas and all the other states that contributed. There is still some art and music going on, however.

      http://www.cityofrockport.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2579

  4. I say eliminate all funding for NEA, NPR, and PBS, and any other similar government grants or subsidies.

  5. Oooh, I have a Sophie’s choice for them: How about funding for “climate change”, or funding for the arts. One or the other. Let the Libbos decide.

  6. A country as rich and powerful as America, a bastion of democracy and western values can and must fund the arts and science.

    It is not the size of a nations army and its militaristic endevours which defines its level of civilisation. Or we’d look up to Iran and North Korea.

      • And arts can always be self funded through patronage far easier than the military can be funded through bake sales

    • It really is fascinating how socialists actually believe the world will end unless government funds everything they approve of.
      Of course the socialists also demand that other people (never themselves) be taxed in order to support this spending.

    • A country as rich and powerful as America, a bastion of democracy and western values can and must fund the arts and science.

      Arts: No!
      Science: Some

    • “A country as rich and powerful as America, a bastion of democracy and western values can and must fund the arts and science.”

      The Song Remains the Same – “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

    • You Lefties just love spending other peoples’ money, don’t you?

      Have you apologised yet?

    • Yes, no one has mentioned science before this, that is an entirely different discussion.
      I don’t see why everyone has to pay for art and liberal nonsense as represented by NEA, NPR, and PBS? Griff, would you pay for art, essays, plays,television news and talk etc. produced by Limbaugh, Steyn, Ingraham, and other conservatives? That is what these government funded programs do; produce art, content, TV, etc. from the radical left in our country. Is that fair?

  7. Idiotic reasoning in its finest form. Why is it, some people simply don’t get it:
    It’s not the governments’ business to support art by spending OPM in the first place!

    Message from planet earth to the dogooders:

    You like art, you think it is important, a gift to mankind and worth spending money on. Well I definitely agree. Go ahead and donate some of your own(!) money, buy the stuff so the artists are able to make some decent money. But don’t take money and resources away from people who don’t share your taste or people who are in real need of help, ok?

    • Well, dumbass; first of all, I guess you didn’t catch the bleedingly obvious sarcasm. Secondly, being a knuckle-dragging nimwit, I guess you wouldn’t appreciate the arts or their importance to society. And third, as far as the the US government goes, there is something to be said for letting the states decide on how to use whatever paltry funding they decide they can come up with. We’re not talking huge bucks here.

      • @Bruce Cobb
        Dear Mr. knuckle-dragging dumbass Nimwit (to quote your reply),
        1. My post was not a reply to yours
        2. I got the sarcasm
        3. It does not matter whether we talk about huge bucks, importance to society or whether the fat cats sit in the US congress, in the state senate or in city hall. The point is that they spend other peoples’ money on something that’s simply not their business. Nobody is holding a gun to your or anybody else’s head telling you not to fund stuff you like or think that it is important.
        4. Please learn how the comment system works
        5. Being intellectually challenged (see point 4) is no excuse to get abusive and rude

        If you think I got your sarcasm wrong again, please accept my sincere apologies
        Best regards

  8. The federal government has no business funding the NEA at all. The only art funds from the government should be artwork used to create currency, and things like a painting of the president. And while I do believe art is an important part of civilization, the federal government simply does not have constitutional permission for things like the NEA. There are very few powers granted to the Federal government.

    Nor is disaster relief one of the Constitutional federal powers. No government is capable of doing any true charity work, because they get their funds by force. Some want to use the “General welfare” clause, to give the government almost unlimited powers. But, in reality, the general welfare clause was to say that it should uses its enumerated powers for the general welfare. And rebuilding someone’s home in a hurricane zone does not benefit the whole U.S.

    A state can do these things, if their own constitution permits it. It also allows each state to manage their own benefits and risks. A coast line permits for shipping trade, and people like to live there. But, it has risks for which the beneficiaries of the good things must bear the cost.

    I live in Pennsylvania, which does not have a lot of risk for natural disasters. And the federal government is wrong to take money from us to pay for the hurricanes in the southern coastal states. But, this does not free us from any God-commanded responsibility to be involved with charity work. Like it did when Louisiana was hit several years ago, my church has already sent down a team of volunteers to help with rebuilding in the hurricane hit areas, and will do more in the future. This is true charity work, as opposed to the socialized type of help the federal government offers.

  9. The federal government has no business funding the NEA at all. The only art funds from the government should be for things like artwork used to create currency, and a painting of the president. And while I do believe art is an important part of civilization, the federal government simply does not have constitutional permission for things like the NEA. There are very few powers granted to the Federal government.

    Nor is disaster relief one of the Constitutional federal powers. Some want to use the “General welfare” clause, to give the government almost unlimited powers. But, in reality, the general welfare clause was to instruct the government that it should uses its enumerated powers for the general welfare. Rebuilding someone’s home in a hurricane zone does not benefit the whole U.S.

    An individual state can do these things, if their own constitution permits it. Each state should manage their own benefits and risks. A coast line permits for shipping trade, and people simply like to live on the coast. But, it also has risks for which the beneficiaries, of the good things, must bear the cost.

    I live in Pennsylvania, which does not have a lot of risk for natural disasters. And the federal government is wrong to take money from us to pay for the hurricanes in the southern coastal states. This does not free us from any God-commanded responsibility to be involved with charity work. Like it did when Louisiana was hit several years ago, my church has already sent down a team of volunteers to help with rebuilding in the hurricane hit areas, and will do more in the future. This is true charity work, as opposed to the socialism-related help the federal government offers.

  10. When ‘government’ spends money, the amount of money that flows into government either by way of collection of taxes and fees or by borrowing must always be greater than the amount that is being spent. “Stimulus spending” will have a net negative effect on the economy IF the money to fund the stimulus is borrowed or taxed from the economy. For stimulus spending to have a positive effect on the nation’s economy, the money with which the stimulus is funded must be borrowed from source(s) that are external to the nation.

  11. From the article: “Gunning people down in California, Florida, Tennessee and Texas, bombing the Boston Marathon, slamming jets full of fuel and passengers into NYC and DC buildings, mowing pedestrians down with vehicles, and murdering police officers reflect pure evil. It will be worse when more ISIS butchers arrive on our shores. We should cut DoD waste, but never protections for our families, lives and freedoms.”

    And now we have the massacre in Las Vegas.

    It turns out this psychopath had a father who was also a psychopath. And people are standing around scratching their heads trying to figure out his motive. It looks pretty plain to me: The guy is insane. Only an insane person would do such a thing.

    http://nypost.com/2017/10/02/vegas-gunmans-psychopath-dad-landed-on-fbis-most-wanted-list/

    Vegas gunman’s ‘psychopath’ dad landed on FBI’s most-wanted list

  12. Rock, country, jazz et al survive just fine without tax-payer subsidies. You want a Night at the Met or ballroom dancing, pay for it.

  13. …For centuries, Kings and princes funded composers, artists, symphonies, operas and artwork, especially back in the days when royalty controlled the lands and wealth – and paid their peasants a pittance (if at all)….

    I don’t know what kind of view Americans have of the feudal system, but there was no concept of ’employing’ peasants to do work in the capitalist sense in it. It was primarily a network of land ownership and defence obligation, in which each member was expected to do their duty as part of the ‘natural order’. The peasants lived off their own agriculture, attached to villages, and were not ‘paid’ at all….

  14. There this thing that is called insurance. The purpose of which is, to pay and even to help when disaster occurs (most insurance companies provide help service nowadays, not just money).
    So there is just NO reason for the government to fund hurricane recovery anymore than art.
    Likewise, if soldiers come to the rescue, it means that they shouldn’t be soldier in the first place, but FEMA or rescue workers. Meaning the DoD budget is too high and the rescue too low; all the more so that a soldier cost much more than a rescue worker. It makes lot more sense to turn civil rescue workers into soldiers when a war happens, than to turn an idle soldier into a rescue worker or policeman (when the purpose is to prevent disorders, pillaging etc.).
    A government is just the ultimate violence tool, “ultima ratio regis”. A weapon. It just as nothing to do in benevolence and charities.

    • When infrastructure is destroyed, infrastructure that was paid for by property owners taxes. it is certainly the governments job to restore and replace that.

      • Governments have no money (just heaps of debts), no proper workforce. So, it won’t be “governments” that will cope with the wreck. It will be the community, that is, YOU, one way or another. Governements will only tax you and take credit for your effort, while largely disregarding your real wishes. You can be sure government priorities in the restoration won’t be yours.
        If governement cared, they would have the money in advance to pay for it all, or would had pre-paid insurance. Car users pay enough taxes to pay for maintenance and insurance of roads, bridges, and the like, for instance, don’t they? But government put the money to some other use. They don’t care.

  15. This is a purely political article and has nothing to do with the climate or science topics normally covered in this blog. I think it has no place here, (even though I agree with much of it). It is a diatribe and rant. Don’t ruin the reputation of this blog by publishing stuff like this which makes it look like this is just a far-right blog and not a real science blog.

  16. Ever see the 1936 “My Man Godfrey”?
    I looked for a clip of Mr. Bullock throwing Carlo, the artistic leech, out the window when the money dried up.
    Couldn’t find one.
    But it was clear he wanted to do it long ago.

  17. I’ve spent a lot of time doing art and a lot of time around artists, and some of what I know about “art” is not favorable to sucking more funds out of the budget. Sorry, fellow artists, but I’ve done the art thing, and I still do the art thing, but some of the THINGS done in the name of art are ridiculous, stupid, incompetent, and a waste of resources.

    Help the hurricane victims. Maybe one of those helped will turn out to do some noteworthy art in the future.

    … awaiting the wrath of my fellow artists.

  18. I hate to sound smug but one thing stood out to me – he is correct that many churches will contribute money for the disaster relief. How many atheist organizations will pony up dollar one? If I need to go to the hospital tonight there are no “Atheist Memorial Hospitals” anywhere.

    Sorry if I sound p o’d about this.

    • and you’ll always be pissed off from counting other peoples’ money and deciding what they should spend it on. sometimes you will piss off the person whose business you mind. you will generally have a full and eventful time – but no joy. that’s something you will also monitor on behalf of those you don’t own in order to assess their worthiness to be happy. you will always find them wanting. yet they won’t care what you think, say or do.
      that’s your lot in life as a concern troll.

  19. I hate to sound smug but one thing stood out to me – he is correct that many churches will contribute money for the disaster relief. How many atheist organizations will pony up dollar one? If I need to go to the hospital tonight there are no “Atheist Memorial Hospitals” anywhere.
    Sorry if I sound p o’d about this but some atheists believe Christians are all ignorant rubes. We’re not.

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