Opinion

George F. Will: The NEA is a government frill that should be shorn

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  • Thomas Thompson SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 21, 2017 7:40 a.m.

    The Trumpian war on the National Endowment for the Arts is simply despicable. If he succeeds, our major art institutions in Utah will simply have to close their doors. The Utah Symphony may possibly survive, but only if it increases its already substantial ticket prices. Is this really what we want?

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 18, 2017 7:46 p.m.

    @joecaptialist2.

    "Please come up with something original for once. With a $3 Trillion budget, it is very easy to cut expenses without a complete meltdown of society"

    "The government is about 3 times as big as it should be. I would start by cutting every budget about 10% across the board. Then start eliminating stuff the government should not be doing at all."

    You can't say you want you do not want to throw grandma off a cliff and starve children when you clearly stated that the government is three times too big. By your logic 2/3 of the budget would need to be cut, which means you would be in favor of eliminating Social security, medicare, and medicaid because there isn't simply enough expenditures anywhere else in the budget to make a dent in it like you want.

    So my original idea is that republicans are not living in reality. Their idea of budget cuts to save the government money is akin to making 100k a year and cutting $100 in spending.

    Also, do you have the exact numbers to how many people(of legal age) who receive food stamps and do not work? If not you are simply reciting unverified conservative talking points.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    March 18, 2017 1:09 p.m.

    Shaun: "Are you willing to forgo all medicare and social security? Are you more than willing to do away with medicaid for the for the poor? If you are, you are in the minority, even for republicans."

    Of course I want to throw grandma off a cliff and let millions of children go hungry. We all know that is what everyone who wants to cut government spending secretly wishes.

    I hear that straw man trotted out every single time someone suggests we get rid of some wasteful government program or even slow their rate of growth.

    Want to deny Planned Parenthood tons of government cash because they are the biggest abortion mill in the country? Then of course you want poor women to never get a cancer screenings!

    Want to cut all those bloated programs promoting radical environmentalism? Then you must want everyone to die from polluted air and water!

    Want there to be some kind of work requirement before people get food stamps? Then you must want children to starve!

    Please come up with something original for once. With a $3 Trillion budget, it is very easy to cut expenses without a complete meltdown of society.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    March 18, 2017 9:43 a.m.

    "....the real way to succeed as an arts organization is not to create a product that attracts new audiences, but to create a product that pleases those who dole out the free cash."
    ==========

    This is one of many excellent points by the always articulate Mr. Will.

    I heard the ardently atheistic Penn Jillette articulate the exact same point in a TED lecture when he decried the fact that the NEA, and by extension his tax-paying and devoutly Christian parents, were essentially forced to fund so-called art, like the picture by photographer Andres Serrano of a small statue of Christ being crucified in a bottle the "artist's" urine. It incensed him to know his parents, because of the confiscatory nature of taxes, could not avoid being participants in "art" that was so offensive to them.

    I share his opinion.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 18, 2017 12:55 a.m.

    @joecaptialist. Taxes have been steadily going down. So how can more and more money be siphoned away from them?

    Are you willing to forgo all medicare and social security? Are you more than willing to do away with medicaid for the for the poor? If you are, you are in the minority, even for republicans.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 17, 2017 10:08 p.m.

    The arts are just as worthy of government support as are grown men playing boys games in government funded parks used only days a year for their pleasure, and enrichment.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    March 17, 2017 9:26 p.m.

    Shaun: "What exactly are you willing to give up to put a dent in the budget?"

    A lot!!!

    The government is about 3 times as big as it should be. I would start by cutting every budget about 10% across the board. Then start eliminating stuff the government should not be doing at all.

    That includes a lot of things that many Republicans are in favor of.

    Naturally, the media will trot out a few people who are hurt by budget cuts. When you throw a few $billion at anything, there will be some deserving people who benefit along with all the waste, fraud, and abuse. They will be negatively impacted when that goes away.

    What you will never see in the media is the stories of the suffering on the other side of the equation. All the struggling workers who see a bigger and bigger portion of their earnings siphoned away to support the big government appetite.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 17, 2017 5:39 p.m.

    @JoeCapitalist2.

    What exactly are you willing to give up to put a dent in the budget? It seems a lot of republicans talk the talk but they are not willing to make a sacrifice until someone else does it.

    Essentially they want to complain about the problems but want to be forced not use any type of government program. They will never voluntarily say yes I pay taxes for this I am not going to use it because on principal I do not believe the government should be involved.

    Republicans either need to lead or stay quiet.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    March 17, 2017 4:08 p.m.

    @JoeCapitalist2
    "We have spent the last 8 years trying to starve the military"

    We spend more than that next 9 countries combined on the military and most of those 9 are allies. Our military is so bloated if it were a person it'd be unfit for duty.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 17, 2017 2:39 p.m.

    Joe,

    Starve the military? We already spend five times more than anyone else in the world. Corporations have seen record profits no tears for them. I thought we were making America great again not just enriching the already wealthy. This budget is horrible for the average American.

    I noticed another weekend of golf in Florida, you guys would sure complaining about the cost the government if that were President Obama doing that six out of eight weekends in office.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    March 17, 2017 2:16 p.m.

    The kind of mind who considers the Mona Lisa, Michelangelo's David, Melville's Moby Dick, Puccini's La Boheme, or the ballet Giselle "frills" is already an impoverished mind.

  • IceCreamGhost Sandy, UT
    March 17, 2017 1:59 p.m.

    I read that it costs as much per-year to house and protect Melania in the New York as it does to fund the arts.

    If we are going to claim to be fiscally conservative, could we at least be consistent? Country over party!

  • OneWifeOnly San Diego, CA
    March 17, 2017 1:39 p.m.

    If we are going to cut all the frills (who understands what art is anyway), then at least can we include the true cost of war in the budget? I hear we are preparing to fight in Korea, again.

    This is a cruel budget that sets the tone of the direction of the country.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    March 17, 2017 1:23 p.m.

    Fred44: "All this budget does is take out thing republicans don't like..."

    So in other words, it is a mirror image of the budgets under Obama. The party in power tries to funnel as much taxpayer dollars away from things it doesn't like to things it does like.

    Nothing new here. We have spent the last 8 years trying to starve the military, border security, and corporations while shoveling tons of cash toward things like abortion clinics, food stamps, and radical environmentalism. Now that the election changed things, time to swing the pendulum the other way.

    The contest continues about which side can spend the most money on stuff the government shouldn't be doing in the first place. Drain the swamp.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 17, 2017 10:22 a.m.

    And how much do we need to spend on the military? The President says that other countries need to step and carry their weight and yet we are going to add more money to the military budget than Russia currently spends? Lots of military contractors though that make major campaign contributions to Republicans. This budget is going to destroy what is left of the middle class. All this budget does is take out thing republicans don't like, pass the cost for things we need to the states and let them raise our taxes while we cut taxes for the wealthy at the federal level.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    March 17, 2017 9:55 a.m.

    The free market should be allowed to reign. That is how art was supported for thousands of generations. Although Kaiser Wilhelm II may have used tax money to pay for art that aggrandized himself and his legacy, that is no reason for our modern government to use tax dollars for art.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 17, 2017 9:32 a.m.

    Anything that might benefit people or society is an unnecessary frill in Trump Jong Un's new society of "Songun Chongch'i", or military first.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    March 17, 2017 9:22 a.m.

    The arts express the artist and, when at their best, express the values of a people. But they are also a commercial enterprise which should be self-sustaining in the marketplace.

    Do the arts help the economy? Do they warrant the consideration used to justify tax subsidies to large corporations? For that matter, do large corporations deserve the type of tax breaks and lucrative government contracts they are awarded? Is it even possible to put a dollar value on what arts contribute to society?

    There are no neat and tidy answers here, Mr. Will.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    March 17, 2017 9:19 a.m.

    With the deficit as it is we dont need the federal government paying for frills. This includes not only the NEA but also sending people to Mars.

    I do appreciate the NEA though, they helped pay to make a delightful offbeat film .. On Tokyo Time.

    Perhaps the private sector would pay toake such a film, perhaps not.