John “Lee” Ruberry of Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven.

By John Ruberry

Last week President Trump released his proposed fiscal 2018 budget. Not included in it was funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The left, which dominates the arts, responded predictably, acting as if art itself was being attacked.

Sit down and breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Now relax. If the NEA and the NEH disappear–there will still be art. Even after eight years of economic dormancy under Barack Obama, the United States is still a fabulously wealthy nation with plenty of disposable income, some of which will of course be spent on the arts.

Do you feel better now? Good. I knew you would.

Art is everywhere. In fact it’s right in front of you now–my post at Da Tech Guy and all of the others here are artistic endeavors, albeit not funded by the federal government.

Yes, the NEA and the NEH, as far as I know, no longer funds exhibitions of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs showing genitalia of pre-pubescent girls or a display of Piss Christ, but this Great Society mutation of royal patronage of the arts–didn’t we fight a revolution against a king?–makes little cultural or economic sense, as George Will explains.

David Marcus, artistic director of a Brooklyn-based theater project and senior contributor to The Federalist, says the NEA produces “perverse market incentives” that explain why many arts institutions “are failing badly at reaching new audiences, and losing ground.”

“Many theater companies, even the country’s most ‘successful,’ get barely 50 percent of their revenue from ticket sales. Much of the rest comes from tax-deductible donations and direct government grants. This means that 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. The industry received more free money than it did a decade ago, and has fewer attendees.”

The arts community is incestuous, especially within its foundations and boardrooms. You scratch my Cubist back and I’ll massage your western yodeling feet. You’ve heard of crony capitalism. There is also crony arts.

As usual, I don’t have to look beyond my own grossly mismanaged state of Illinois–when we had budgets they made about as much sense as a Jackson Pollock painting–to find an example of cronyism in practice. The Illinois Arts Council Agency, which as you can tell by its name, is a state agency and it is a recipient of National Endowment for the Arts cash. It was founded in 1965, which not coincidentally, was when the NEA began. The chair of the Illinois Arts Council Agency is Shirley Madigan, the wife of state House Speaker and Illinois Democratic Party Boss Michael Madigan. Their daughter is Lisa Madigan, Illinois’ attorney general.

The Illinois Arts Council Agency boasts that nearly 100 percent of the state’s legislative districts receives some IACA funding. It’s all about spreading the wealth around. As for those legislative districts, the geographic contortion created by Michael Madigan’s gerrymandering just might be worthy enough to be put on display at the Art Institute of Chicago adjacent to those Pollock-esque state budgets, but that’s another matter.

The NEA and the NEH also operates under the same spread-the-favors-around–I mean wealth, mindset–which is why defenders of these groups cite federal funding for events such as the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Nevada and the Hip Hop Initiative in North Carolina as justification for these agencies.

Blogger on a self-funded trip to the Vicksburg battlefield

The NEH provided funding for Ken Burns’ acclaimed 1990 Civil War documentary that was broadcast on PBS, which is another success boasted by supporters of the NEH. Oh, Trump’s budget wants to eliminate for that network as well as NPR. Have you seen Burns’ Civil War? It’s fabulous. But what of the money for sales of Ken Burns’ Civil War book, or the Civil War DVDs and CDs? Or Civil War digital downloads? How much does the federal government get from those sales?

How much does Ken Burns collect?

Sure, NEA and NEH funding is a very small piece of federal spending–$148 million is the expenditure for this year. But proper budgeting means saying “No” a lot. America is wealthy–but not infinitely so.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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Unlike most others who have reacted strongly to this AP story . I recall that the same copy writers who reported the 38 billion figure are reporting the new one.

Rather than shout into the wind I sent a short e-mail to Boehner’s office mentioned the fights over the budget, my own posts and radio opinions concerning it and reminding them of the Tea Party people in Washington last September who unanimously declared that they didn’t trust republicans any more than they trusted democrats.

“Who here trusts the GOP?” Not a single hand went up, but people over and over promised me that if the GOP spent like the democrats they would be back to throw them out too. No wonder the GOP is scared of the tea party.

I am going to await a response before I comment further but this weekend when I have small business people who are likely going to be wanting answers because they are the people who have to try to stay in business under this nonsense.

If Boehner is throwing away the trust of the activists who got him that chair then the GOP will deserve all that they get from it.

Update:
It apparently takes more than a CBO report to defeat a bill. No sign yet on how the vote split.

Update 2: 59 republicans voted against but over 81 dems voted for it.

And because it is a “deal” that means there is good news and bad news.

Good news:

Cuts of 39 bil

Military will be paid

No Abortion Money in DC

Bad news:

Cuts of only 39 Bil

Planned Parenthood keeps money

NPR Keeps money

In terms of right and wrong, of course the planned parenthood money is evil, but it has been evil for years, the fact that it is now on the table and more importantly will be on the table again is very important. Democrats control the senate, they control the White House and the media and the Dems had to go all out to preserve it.

As Col Allen West put it this morning: “It takes 5 miles to turn an Aircraft Carrier around but it’s heading in the right direction.”

In terms of the Tea Party Agenda this is an important change; culturally the “idea” of these cuts is huge and it’s just the beginning, particularly when we see so many democrats forced to give lip service to them, Stacy’s opinion not withstanding.

I would liken today’s results to the beginning of Chickamauga campaign. It began with General Rosecrans almost bloodless advance into Georgia flanking Braxton Bragg out of one position after another. Like that situation in Democrats have talked big but been forced to retreat again and again.

When the debt ceiling bill comes up and the budget fight comes I suspect we will also see democrats flanked out of their positions again and forced to retreat.

Bottom line? Everything we got we got with 1/3 of the power, what do you think will happen next year when we have the senate and perhaps the White House? Do you think a democratic minority in the senate will want to shut down the government in, say 2013 with a filibuster over PP and NPR? Lets remember that one of the reasons arch liberal Ted Kennedy was so successful is he repeatedly took a part of the loaf until he not only had all the bread but people were using his recipe to bake it. There is no reason why we can’t do the same.

As long as we don’t make the critical mistake Rosecrans made in the final battle we’ll be fine, but we have to keep them on the defensive or to put it another way:

Ride Right through them, they’re demoralized as hell!

For the 2nd time in 18 months I’m reminded of James Michael Curley and Tip O’Neil and 1948 while I look at the Barack Obama re-election campaign:

After Curley’s election commissioner Joe Conners transposed the figures for the election to allow his group of delegate to win an election they had lost Curley had this reaction:

What the hell. They’re not going to protest it. It would mean a big fight and that would hurt the party. They can’t afford to raise a stink.

and Paul Dever the candidate for governor approached O’Neil saying:

“Listen the party is already in bad shape. If we show people we’re a bunch of thieves, it will destroy us. In the name of party unity, please drop the fight.” Man of the House 1987 pp 54 & 55

O’Neill did and took the step that lead him to National Power.

If is for this reason why president Obama has absolutely no fear of the democratic party or the left. Even with a new “Kinetic Military Action” , Gitmo staying open, military trials there and transparency out the window,the party understands they just suffered their worst congressional defeat in a lifetime and they can’t afford to divide themselves.

As for the hard left with budgets cuts being proposed by Paul Ryan and reforms advanced in Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey they are terrified that their chief source of funds, monies given through government will be gone.

And as for “run Hillary Clinton” nonsense let’s be blunt: The Democratic party in 2008 demonstrated emphatically that they can throw out the irrelevant “feminist” left who are congregated in states that are so blue that they aren’t a worry, but they can’t even think about winning a national election without the black vote in places like Pennsylvania. Hillery Clinton understands this, that is why she is not running (you heard it here). No matter how disappointed black America might be with Barack Obama, he is their own. They will go to the polls and support him in 2012 simply for the sake of defending the first black president and if the Democratic party challenges him they will stay home in droves and any democratic poll considered complicit in the political failure of the first Black President can kiss any national aspirations goodbye.

Barack Obama may not be much of a president but he understands this and knows they can’t afford to raise a stink.

Much better to push forward the Tea Party as a bugaboo to the far left and to blacks, and attempt to energize the extreme base where the race card is not overdrawn.

That’s what I get out of this article at the Syracuse “she’s down 12 and sinking fastPost Standard:

When four days and nights of debate finally ended in the early morning hours Saturday and it was time to vote, U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle had no trouble making up her mind.

Buerkle had to choose between protecting Central New York from some of the deepest federal spending cuts in years, or supporting a Republican plan to slash $61 billion from the federal government’s budget through Sept. 30.

In an early test of her campaign promises to shrink government while also creating jobs in Central New York, Buerkle said the clear answer was to support the massive budget cuts – even if it means some short-term local suffering.

Yes how dare Ann Marie decide not to spend that 42 cents on the dollar for that 61 Billion and keep her campaign promises, if only she could be more like Bill Owens who managed to break 4 campaign promises in under an hour after being in congress. That’s the hero of the Post Standard’s piece. As Stacy McCain put it:

The editors of the Syracuse paper — evidently picking up the “slash-and-burn” theme used by the New York Times — obviously think their readers are idiots who can’t do math. If Obama has proposed a budget with $1.65 trillion in deficits, how big a slice is $61 billion?

The Lonely Conservative who lives in the district had this to say:

Oh, the suffering! What about the suffering our children and grandchildren will be subjected to thanks to Washington’s reckless spending for the past few years? There was no mention of how President Obama increased spending to unprecedented levels during his short tenure in the White House. Gee whiz, how on earth did we ever survive before he came along?

The article goes on to cite Democrats as if their word is gospel. Several paragraphs were devoted to the end of the “Just Say Yes” education program in Syracuse. Unless you continued reading, you wouldn’t know that the program has not been cut.

None of this surprises me. In my opinion the Syracuse Post Standard will never forgive Buerkle for winning that election as an unrepentant conservative republican, but that’s just me.

Our liberal friends have apparently decided that closing the schools are not enough and are planning to bus in activists to help protest budget cuts in Wisconsin:

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka — refresh your memories of his violent rise to power here — announced that he’ll be storming Madison, Wisconsin tomorrow to join all the Hitler/Mubarak-sign toters and teachers ditching their jobs.

The showdown is scheduled for high noon.

Meanwhile Breitbart and Hoff are trying to gather a few people to counter the union hoards:

We’ve had thousands of people show up for tea party events to rally to take our state back – but our work isn’t done. Let’s have our voices heard once again and show our state legislators that we support this bill. We need concerned Wisconsin citizens to show up at noon on Saturday, February 19th to voice our support for Gov. Walker and our conservative legislators! Tell your friends–let’s set a turn out record!

Why Saturday? Why not get out there now? Scipio explains:

Here’s another question the Democrats and their bussed-in bully boys and girls will never answer, although it’s right there for all to see. Do they know why ten times the number of people didn’t show up to counter the “protesters”? Here’s the answer: BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE AT THEIR JOBS SO THEY CAN PAY THE TAXES THAT ARE USED TO PAY THE SALARIES AND WAGES OF THOSE MISCREANT PUBLIC EMPLOYEES AND ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO WALKED OFF THEIR JOBS!!! Those working don’t have the “luxury” these unionized bastards and their state Senate Democratic masters have to waste time

Yup these protesters are protesting on the public dime just as the Wisconsin Senate in the middle of their famous ride but don’t imply they aren’t earning their dough:

In an interview with WKOW by cell phone, Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach claimed that running away from the state capitol wasn’t shirking his job.

He said he was doing his duty, representing the citizens by leaving town during the midst of a multi-billion dollar budget crisis.

And no that link wasn’t to Iowahawk.

Within Stacy McCain’s post this on Wisconsin was a link to Stephen Hays that explained an awful lot:

What’s more, Wisconsin teachers pay as much as $1100 each year in compulsory union dues. If the legislation passes, they will no longer be required to pay those dues – returning that money to their own pockets.

The power of labor leaders and the democrats pols they support are based upon compulsorily dues. My wife had to pay them when the nurses were made part of the teachers union. (It didn’t protect her job). It pays for a lot of fun parties and a lot of dem votes but does very little for actual union members who aren’t connected.

This is why the fight is so bitter. Once the compulsion is removed from union dues then the game is up and these guys know it.

Moreover as Stacy points out in his Spectator column:

Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard points out that the average teacher in Wisconsin receives $77,857 in total compensation, when the value of their generous benefit package is added to their salaries. Given that the median household income in Wisconsin is just above $50,000 (and the typical household has more than one wage-earner), this means that the striking teachers are earning substantially more than the people whose taxes pay their salaries.

This is fight that even if they win is going to coin republican votes nationwide. I think the unions actually know this but knowing they can’t survive without forced dues have decided to die on this hill…

…and they will.

One of the things that always drives me nuts is when state legislatures or the congress appoint “commissions” to handle tough problems. Since every single one of those people spend a small fortune begging the voters for the office and responsibility it seems odd after begging for a job to be afraid to do it.

In Wisconsin today the democrats are proving to be profiles in cowardice:

Democratic senators apparently fled the state to prevent a vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill, which would cut public employee union collective bargaining rights and require them to contribute to pensions and health care.

Law enforcement has been sent to find missing Democratic lawmakers,

Remember these are the same people that campaigned for the right to conduct the people’s business. Meanwhile the protesters/ teachers opposing the governor’s plans to restrain spending are not covering themselves in glory either. But they are covering the capital with trash.

What a difference between them and the tea party. Just to remind you:

Tea Party:

One Nation:

And remember that call for civility? Apparently these democrats don’t:

If you want to know why tea parties poll better than unions, this is why.

As as far as the fleeing state representatives, if they don’t want to do their job, resign! Simple as that. What cowards.

Expect the MSM to play minstrels for these fools

Update: You’ve got to be kidding me:

UPDATE: TEA PARTY WINS!!
The Rockford Tea Party just chased the Wisconsin democrats out of the Best Western. They just boarded their bus and are leaving the Best Western! Run, Libs! Run!

These are supposed to be leaders and lawmakers? You can’t actually make this stuff up can you?

Libertarian Leanings notes this message from the NYT

…one thing seems clear to Ms. Stolberg. The public is deeply confused and should be ignored as this debate goes forward. Americans hardly ever know what’s good for them, so often voting against their own best interests. Didn’t they just do it again when they put a Republican majority in the House of Representatives last fall? It would hardly do to consider anything so unreliable as American public opinion when government programs may be at stake. If there are any besides Medicare and Social Security.

Yeah who needs the people in a representative republic.

This actually is part of a theme where every liberal outlet is calling for republicans to announce their cuts in Medicare and social security. This has been constant since the election. The line is basically “if they don’t cut social security or medicare then they are not serious”.

This way they can minimize any cuts they have already announced. Of course if any such cuts come then it will be all about the mean republicans hurting seniors. The moment any such cut comes watch the media turn on a dime. For Example:

GOP leaders may talk tough about deficits and federal spending, but their proposed cuts assiduously avoid any mention of Pentagon programs, Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Since those programs, along with interest payments, consume most of the federal budget, that means Washington politicians will keep fiddling while Rome burns.

Let’s be clear, entitlement cuts ARE necessary and I have no problem moving the retirement age up two years for anyone born after 1960 (that includes me btw) but expect this to be the MSM meme right up until it happens.