2012 January 08 Sunday
Sam Brownback Kills A Kansas Arts Commission

One small parasitic agency bites the dust.

Brownback defied even the GOP-led state legislature in cutting funding for the arts, which left Kansas as the only state without a state-funded arts commission.

Really, governments should not be funding arts commissions. Arts commissions along with many other little parasites grow on governments. Agencies. Advisory boards. Commissions. Since we are now in an era of slow growth (at best) we need frugality.

What would help: A web site which lists a large assortment of things some governments do with columns by federal, state, and local government. Checks on each cell could indicate which governments fund various things. Hover over or click thru on a cell to find out how much gets spent for each purpose.

What has amazed and educated me about the long-running California budget crisis is just how long the crisis has had to run to get some forms of waste cut. In a period of deep crisis the money funneled to subsidize developers doing stuff like refurbishing arts centers and theaters and other public works projects has been hard to cut back. The forces for waste are quite powerful.

Plus, even with staffing on core functions (prisons, police, teachers - all with bloated cost per employee due to public sector unions) getting cut new forms of waste are popping up. Notable case in point: The costs of a dubious California high speed rail project started at around $25 billion to to more than $40 billion to more than double to nearly $100 billion. The numbers are now close to other high speed rail projects per kilometer but could go higher. Only 2 high speed rail lines in the whole world turn a profit. Yet this doesn't dissuade either Governor Jerry Brown or the California legislature. Government has a strong bias toward wasting money.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 January 08 11:40 PM  Politics Pork Spending

Morris said at January 9, 2012 8:29 AM:

Arts commissions and the like are chiefly about jobs for the boys (and girls).
Ordinary unemployed people are a problem, but too many unemployed educated and connected people and you are out of office fast.
It's not so much a political problem as a surplus of educated (or more accurately, credentialed) people relative to jobs available.
Shutting down the state-financed diploma mills is the inevitable cure-but any politician who does so (Dem or GOP) will be
evicerated by voters. Don't blame the polls, they are just doing what they were elected to do.

While busting the pay and benefits of unionized teachers and prison guards down to Mexican levels might solve the state's
budget problems, it does not seem politically viable-nor likely to make California a nicer place to live, particularly
if you have the misfortune of being incarcerated there (either in school or in jail).

HSrail may be a white elephant but at least it has some benefits, unlike most state spending.
If nothing else, it will create a few blue-collar jobs.

The ultimate solution for California's budget problems is for the standard of living and public services to below the level
of Northern Mexico. Despite the best efforts of Californians, this may take another decade or two.

Audacious Epigone said at January 9, 2012 5:28 PM:

Brownback, who has a Santorum-like penchant for bleeding heart Christianity when it comes to open borders and messianic democracy missionary work, is so much better suited (imo, of course!) for the governorship than he was as a senator.

Bertie Wooster said at January 9, 2012 10:13 PM:

I'm not sure I'm prepared to live in a society where only art with immediate commercial value is available: a world full of Jersey Shore, Big Brother, and American Idol but no opera, ballet or symphony orchestra.

So I don't necessarily give Brownback credit for this act. As Audacious Epigone noted, Sam Brownback's pro-open borders views have cost this country far more than cutting an arts commission or two will save. Perhaps we can put it to the left succinctly by offering them a choice between cutting funding for arts and NPR, one the one hand, or for refugees and Migrant Head Start, othe other. We know what the SWPLs will choose.

Brian said at January 12, 2012 4:36 PM:

According to Bertrand Russell, the intelligence development of a child depends in good part on how much he/she is exposed to the fine arts, which are the only true forms of art.

saim said at April 23, 2012 11:43 PM:

Watching the Brownback Administration and the TEA Party is like watching Mao and his "cultural revolution" and "great bound forward." The declared ambition of the the cultural anarchy in China was to accomplish socialism in the country by removing capitalist, acceptable and cultural elements from Chinese society, and appoint Maoist acquiescence aural the Party. Brownback and the TEA Party are gluttonous to abolish the autonomous and accelerating cast of Kansas backroom replacing it with an anti-tax, anti-regulation, accepted theocracy. The Great Bound Backward in Kansas is searching like killing the arts, killing accessible primary, accessory and post-secondary education, killing ecology adjustment and enforcement, killing accessible allotment for all areas of government, etc...

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