Public Arts Funding Siphons Off OUR Tax Money

There is a program called 1% for Art which means that a public building, like a new federal office building, must spend 1% of the cost of the building on art, like a sculpture in the lobby.

Oh, wonderful! we are supposed to say. We need more art! And that gives needed money to struggling artists! And it’s only 1%! Gee, that’s nothing! Just 1%!

First, we don’t need more art. We need less art. Most of the art today is awful, and there’s way, way, way too much of it; millions of artists with studios full of it. There is such a vast supply that artists can’t even give it away.

But if a federal building costs $10 million to construct, then a lucky artist can earn 1%, or $100,000, to make a sculpture for the lobby or lawn. Indeed that 1% is really a lot of money but we are led to think that it is “just 1%”, a small amount.

It isn’t small. It adds up to a lot of money. And we need to cut government spending everywhere because the federal government is deep in debt, many cities are struggling or broke, and many states are doing poorly as taxpayers are being hammered at every turn on every level to pay for things like 1% for Art and thousands of other wasteful programs. New York has an 8.25% statewide sales tax on top of some of the highest taxes in the nation to pay for bottomless corruption, featherbedding and greed.

How many artists in America today could sell a sculpture for $100,000 in the private art market? Almost none. But on the 1% for Art dole, artists can sure do it. A black artist in Connecticut was paid $25,000 to paint one small mural on the wall of an Obamacare exchange center. I even know a guy who is married to a woman who earns a very good living just making government-funded art. She apparently gets grant after grant after grant. She is part of “the club”.

But oh boy, if I try to get a 25 cent tax reduction the Democrats go berserk and tell me to shut up and they give me a $100 tax increase. When the recession cut revenues to the government the state of Massachusetts implemented a 25% sales tax increase overnight (from 5% to 6.25%) without a peep of debate or protest.

And rest assured that artists today are not “starving” like in the old days. They teach at colleges and universities or other schools with plentiful salaries; or they have a wealthy spouse or a well-off spouse or a spouse with a good job; or they inherited money; or they have a decent job – sometimes a good job – and then they make some extra income selling art. In short, they live much better lives than many Americans do.

Even a public high-school art teacher makes an average of $42 an hour ($55K+ annually, $70K+ in urban areas), plus full benefits and pension, early retirement and virtual lifetime job security. Community college art professors can earn $75,000 annually with full benefits and pension, and they usually work the equivalent of about 3 months a year. Elite four-year private college art professors make even more and work even less. One such professor told me way back in 1998 that he had a $1 MILLION pension account.

But only some artists can get these 1% for Art grants. It is a select group, one whose members are known to the arts councils and art bureaucrats that make the decisions on who gets the grants. It is a very clannish, closed system, just another form of political patronage.

Then virtually all of the artists finally chosen are liberals. Because virtually all art schools, art museums, arts councils, arts organizations and art galleries in America are hostile to conservatives. So as you sip wine and eat cheese and crackers and look at the paintings at an art opening, you had better tell everyone how wonderful Obama is. Because if you disagree you keep your mouth shut or leave. Or you want to leave.

Anyone who does not work inside the liberal system (art teacher, college professor, artist/activist etc.), openly praise Democrats, and/or attend various Democrat/liberal events and fundraisers will never get a 1% for Art grant, because you have to suck up to the decision-makers to even be considered. Because art today is not about art – it is a closed system that is based on political cronyism. This system has been commandeered by the same leftists who have taken over much of the media, the universities, the entertainment industry and many other institutions in America.

This type of spending is everywhere. Do you ever listen to National Public Radio (NPR)? Well, neither do I but I recently listened just as an experiment, for a few hours combined on a few different shows over several days. According to the website, NPR in 2010 got a whopping 16% of its operating budget from “federal, state and local gov.” and “CPB”, which means the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Well, we know that “federal, state and local gov.” means the taxpayer and that CPB is a non-profit corporation created by Congress and funded by federal taxpayers to promote public broadcasting. Yet I have never heard of NPR or CPB thanking “the American taxpayer” for his/her contribution.

This failure to ever even mention the taxpayer is classic socialism, just like 1% for Art is. Because as far as liberals are concerned the money comes from the “CPB” or “the National Endowment for the Arts” or Obama or Bill Clinton or the Democrat party.

But boy, NPR sure publicly mentions loud and clear every sponsor and contributor to its fund drives, like various individuals, restaurants, architects, doctors, arts groups etc. Then they always give prominent mentions to the left-wing foundations that give them money, like the McArthur Foundation. And then these same contributors/sponsors get lots of other types of media coverage on NPR.

Meanwhile NPR gets 8% of its funding from “colleges and universities”. If these are public colleges much of that money again comes from the taxpayer. But again, you never hear a word of thanks to “the taxpayers of America”. This is typical liberalism – dismissive of anyone who is not in their camp… after they take our money, that is.

So if they are so great and so smart like they think they are why don’t CPB and NPR just stop taking OUR taxpayer money?

We all know the answer to that one. NPR recently built a new headquarters building in Washington, DC. The cost was $201 MILLION, much of which came from taxpayers. Gee, I wish could get just a tiny bit of that.

Hey, folks, I won’t even get two cents. I am only told to shut up and pay my taxes, and more and more taxes. So that the liberals can take MY money and give it to THEIR friends.

Meanwhile, how many conservative viewpoints do you hear on National Public Radio? Well, since I don’t listen, I don’t really know. But I do know that NPR historically has been a playground for liberals. When was the last time you heard a serious NPR interview with the National Rifle Association about firearms ownership, or with a right-to-life group?

I’ve never heard of a single one. Meanwhile Garrison Keillor has been made famous and rich ($8 million in net worth according to one source) on his taxpayer-funded NPR program, A Prairie Home Companion. Has he ever thanked “the American taxpayer” for what they have done for him… which is everything?

I wouldn’t know because I don’t listen to him, but I doubt it. I’ve never heard of it.

Friends, this money grab goes on everywhere in America. Dollar by dollar by dollar we are being fleeced and the money is being funneled to liberals, either who work for the government, who favor socialism, who vote Democrat, or who express liberal views.

By the way, conservative talk radio shows like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity all are supported by private advertisers. They get zero taxpayer funds and would never take taxpayer money. Because conservatives actually live by their principles – that we pay our own way.

Now here is another one of an infinite supply of examples about how the government wastes our money and destroys good things. This happened in Washington, DC. This is from

Two weeks ago, I wrote that the (Metro) transit system would look silly if it let perish 1,000 flowers planted secretly at the Dupont Circle station by local garden artist Henry Docter, the self-described Phantom Planter. I feared that Metro would merely neglect the flowers. Instead, last Sunday, it sent workmen to yank them out. The transit system regularly pleads poverty, yet employees devoted supposedly valuable time to remove more than 1,000 morning glories, cardinal flowers and cypress vines that Docter donated to the city — albeit without permission. The plants would have bloomed from August to October in a patriotic display of red, white and blue. Instead of greenery today and colors to come, the 176 flower boxes along the top stretch of the escalators at the station’s north entrance now feature dirt, a few straggling stems and the occasional discarded soda can. (end of excerpt)

So if you want to know how socialism ruins whole societies and turns them into grey, dispirited ghettos, look no further than this sterling example. It is a priceless lesson about the evils of government power and arrogance. They took a free, beautiful gift from a citizen and intentionally trashed it. These bureaucrats indeed are the faceless, emotionless eunuchs that they are portrayed as. They are a big bunch of hard-hearted nothings.

But, boy, if Metro were going to pay some “artist” $100,000 taxpayer dollars to make a sculpture, you can bet that that plan would go full speed ahead, complete with an expensive opening reception with wine and cheese.
Metro actually threatened the flower planter him with imprisonment if he watered, weeded or otherwise cared for the flowers. Shameful.

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