Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Right Thing To Cut

In a time when budgets are tight, cuts must be made. You hear that a lot, but I'm of the opinion that it doesn't matter whether the budget is tight or not. Some things just shouldn't be purchased, no matter how flush you are with cash, because they aren't proper for you to buy.

I don't buy Russian language books. Even though I have a friend who is from Russia and could read them, I leave it to her to buy the Russian language books for herself.

So, I am thrilled that Indianapolis' mayor is putting the city's arts budget on the chopping block. From the Indy Star:
Mayor Greg Ballard's plan to cut public funding for the arts by a third, to $1 million, next year dominated the discussion by about 25 speakers in front of a crowd of roughly 100. The council is scheduled to vote on the budget Sept. 22 and is not expected to make major changes.

It's a shame the cut is only going to be around 33%, and not 100%. Socialized art is not a proper function of government. Public safety is. Courts are. Infrastructure is. These things should be fully funded before anything else is even considered. It seems this Mayor gets it, at least by a third, that public safety affects everyone, and that the arts are a private concern, because not only do they not affect everyone, but art is so specific to taste, that it really only benefits a few.

Is that what we want? Public policy that benefits the select few?

What was interesting about a previous outcry about the proposed cuts was to see the line of representatives of local museums at the podium. That told me a lot about the nature of the funding. Mainly, it isn't going to starving artists. It's going to well-funded institutions as a corporate welfare.

Is that what we want? Public policy that benefits corporations?

No, cutting the arts is the right thing to do. Our federal government could take note here.

Update: Indiana Barrister has the list of recipients of arts funding largesse.

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