January 29, 2009

"$50 million for art!... $200 million to piss off the Pope!"

Analyzing the stimulus:

72 comments:

downtownlad said...

$50 million on art works out to about 16 cents a person. Why are we even debating that?

What I can't stand is the funding for education, which is a substantial part of the stimulus fund. Why should I subsidize the breeders? The contraception funding makes sense, because it will mean less education spending later on. Kids are just a drain on the economy - they contribute nothing.

Original George said...

When I lived in a Red State some years back, I stumbled across an orchard near my house.

Peaches, blackberries, apples, grapes, blueberries. The works.

Owned by a guy who looked like the man on the left....overalls, Santa beard, fat. Classic.

Turns out he was a retired botany professor.

Appearances can be deceiving.

Ann Althouse said...

"The contraception funding makes sense, because it will mean less education spending later on."

You're forgetting about the Social Security pyramid scheme that you rely on. Got to have new people filling out the bottom.

Ann Althouse said...

And who will wipe the dribble off your chin when you can't lift your arms anymore?

EDH said...

$200 million to piss off the Pope?

More expensive but perhaps less controversial than pissing on Christ.

Simon said...

downtownlad said...
"$50 million on art works out to about 16 cents a person. Why are we even debating that?" Because it's sixteen cents that the government has no right to. As Fred Thompson well-put it last year: "a dollar belongs in the pocket of the person who earns it, unless the government has a compelling reason why it can use it better." Subsidizing bad art because the bad artists and the people who gush about it vote Democrat is not a compelling reason.

MadisonMan said...

What paper is the guy on the left reading? I can't quite tell.

hdhouse said...

generally opposed by kneejerk conservatives who are worried that big bird is a liberal, that "just say no" will turn out to be a slogan, and that artists, highly dependent on philanthropic giving and patron support might not starve without the 16 cents each of us ponies up in the bill.

downtownlad said...

nd who will wipe the dribble off your chin when you can't lift your arms anymore?

Cheap illegal immigrants. Preferably shirtless, Brazilian men.

hdhouse said...

Simon said...
"Subsidizing bad art because the bad artists and the people who gush about it vote Democrat is not a compelling reason."

Simon, I don't know what the hell has happened to your mind. I suspect we spend more on toilet paper and hand paper towels in the courthouses in this land then we do on art...and everyone is as one in thinking that lawyers are worthless pieces of shit but we do it anyway.

downtownlad said...

But seriously, the art funding is miniscule, and if you are wasting your energy debating that, you don' have your priorities straight.

Imagine if the Republicans had made the case for a more strategic spending on infrastructure projects - REAL high-speed rail from Boston to Miami, and LA to San Fran, high-speed rail llinks from the airport of the 25 biggest cities in the country to the center of those cities, a complete redo of our electrical grid, the construction of 30 nuclear power plants, etc.

Instead we get spending on health and education. BORING!!!!

traditionalguy said...

The Pope has a plan too. He wants to see good families having replacement level offspring raised in two parent homes,where they are taught to love their Father God and each other. Horrors of horrors. The Dems. have a better plan: don't reproduce any more poor people. But the only permanent stimulus to any economy is the determination to work by the parents to feed, clothe, house, educate, and enjoy their own children. That's as traaditional a plan as you can get, and that plan is the world in which FDR planned for the FICA ponzi scheme to work. So this depopulation effort is simply national suicide. Now, where can the repubs get a real family loving candidate to run against these Delusional Democrats?

downtownlad said...

Also - I don't rely on Social Security. I'm assuming it wont be there when I retire.

ricpic said...

The ultimate obscenity in the bill is $4 billion - that's billion - to ACORN. My tax dollars to go to the funding of an organization whose sole purpose is to rig elections against my candidates in future elections.

The Dems are stimulating something alright -- pitchforks up their rears.

EDH said...

But seriously, the art funding is miniscule, and if you are wasting your energy debating that, you don' have your priorities straight.

Isn't that the point? Everything the government does has to be open to debate. That government art must therefore eschew controversy is reason enough to limit it. There are plenty of implicit subsidies in the tax code for charity. Want more "public art"? Donate it.

Simon said...

dhouse said...
"I suspect we spend more on toilet paper and hand paper towels in the courthouses in this land then we do on art"

Indeed. I didn't say that the government couldn't spend money, just that it should spend it - even in small amounts - on frivilous things. Toilet paper and a means to dry one's hands in public buildings are not frivolous things.

As to people's opinion of lawyers - yawn. That was already cliché before the first English settlers set foot on this country's soil, see William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2 Act 4 Scene 2 (1591). It's cute that people think that, but then they get into a car wreck and the asshole who did it tries to withold their money, and suddenly their lawyer is their best friend. I don't like dentists much, either, but I acknowledge that they perform a useful, necessary service.

traditionalguy said...

If everone agrees that lawyers are a worthless piece of shit, then you need to meet a better class of lawyers. Some lawyers do take your money and abandon you, but the better lawyers will save your sorry ass, keep it confidential, and give you wise counsel. Just go see an attorney with a reputation for treating people well before you have screwed it up trying to avoid paying the hateful lawyers. If all people were honest, un-selfish and had good memories of what they promised you, then there would be no need for lawyers or courts. Tell me where you can find those people please.

Simon said...

downtownlad said...
"Imagine if the Republicans had made the case for a more strategic spending on infrastructure projects - REAL high-speed rail from Boston to Miami, and LA to San Fran, high-speed rail llinks from the airport of the 25 biggest cities in the country to the center of those cities, a complete redo of our electrical grid, the construction of 30 nuclear power plants, etc."

I agree with all that stuff. Actually, as I said in a comment the other week, I don't see how anyone who pushes the gorethodoxy can ask to be taken seriously unless they're for a massive new program of nuclear plants.

Henry Buck said...

DTL-

When the shirtless Brazilian wiping dribble from the corners of your pinched mouth realizes that you think you are the pinnacle society, and that there really is nothing to stop him, he will slit your pathetic throat.

MadisonMan said...

You know, I think I agree mostly with the Republican POV -- well, Conservative -- on this bill, and think the bill should have been trimmed of much of the pork-barrel spending. (One could claim, however, that rescuing banks is also pork-barrel, but that's another discussion).

So why am I not a Republican? One reason is that I have a daughter and the Republican Party seems to think it's just fine that she earns less money than a man for the same job. And that she can't sue to make up the difference!

TosaGuy said...

The art thing is merely illustrative of the pure waste in this bill.

A GOOD artist does not need public funding. A GOOD artist can find a market for his/her work. Look at today's publically funded art, most is mediocre at best. No person would ever buy it with their own money.

DTL....calling people breeders is as offensive as other people calling you whatever derogatory name you hate.

Lawgiver said...

What I can't stand is the funding for education, which is a substantial part of the stimulus fund.

I so agree with you. Let's wipe out the department of education and let the individual states handle their own education issues. It would be exremely interesting to see how California would handle that given their current economic woes. Maybe Brad and Angie could adopt the most needy ones.

SteveR said...

Whether we should spend money on NEA or whatever, its not stimulus.

downtownlad said...

If you think I was trying to offend by calling straight people breeders . . . - well, ok, yeah - that was the intent.

downtownlad said...

The artists will get paid. They will take that money and buy drugs and alcohol, the drug-dealers will take that money and buy baggy pants, the baggy pants companies will hire more workers, etc.

You might not like art. But its stimulative, and it will get in the money pretty quickly.

But it's only $50 million and in a $10 trillion dollar economy, it's miniscule.

Concentrate on the big items. That's where the money is.

fcai said...

The bottom of the pyramid is filled by illegals, once the they are through sodding the Mall. It's a sound plan...

Good to see liberals defending spending money on art that should not be made.

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, I'm an artist. Why can't everyone give me 1¢? You won't even notice.

MadisonMan said...

Can I slip a penny in your mailbox?

Ann Althouse said...

"Imagine if the Republicans had made the case for a more strategic spending on infrastructure projects - REAL high-speed rail from Boston to Miami, and LA to San Fran, high-speed rail llinks from the airport of the 25 biggest cities in the country to the center of those cities, a complete redo of our electrical grid, the construction of 30 nuclear power plants, etc. Instead we get spending on health and education. BORING!!!!"

You have to spend it on health and education so women will get money. Otherwise it all goes to men.

Ann Althouse said...

"Can I slip a penny in your mailbox?"

There's always the PayPal button!

Ann Althouse said...

Why don't all you readers give me $1?

downtownlad said...

Apply for a grant.

The money for the NEA is for the people who enjoy art too, not just for the artists.

downtownlad said...

There is a multiplier effect. If you spend money on infrastructure, the construction workers will then spend their money on titty bars - which will employ women.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"I have a daughter and the Republican Party seems to think it's just fine that she earns less money than a man for the same job. And that she can't sue to make up the difference!"

See, that's oversimplification. You're assuming - or you're asking us to assume - that there is no difference between them other than gender. You omit to mention seniority (with the company, that is), differences in qualifications and experience, different perks, performance since being hired, and the myriad other things that can lead to people who have the same job title being paid different amounts. Now, maybe your daughter really is being discriminated against. On the other hand, there are other possibilites, including some you may not be aware of; for example (to phrase it in the most provocative way) maybe the company evaluates on performance, she just isn't as good as the other guy, and she doesn't want to tell you that. I'm not saying that's the case, of course, but you're being reductive in how you're presenting the issue here.

Also- what are you talking about that the GOP doesn't want her to be be able to sue? Has some Republican of note suggested repealing Title VII or the EPA?

Rich B said...

Subsidize your own goddamn art DTL.

Hotel for Dogs - that's art that people willingly fund.

downtownlad said...

I'd rather subsidize art than subsidize a stupid war against a country that never attacked us.

ricpic said...

It's not art unless it's for the people and against the plutocrats!!!

downtownlad said...

Republicans have no problem subsidizing $1.5 billion on abstinence funding (which doesn't work) but they freak out over $50 million for art (which does work - it produces art that can be enjoyed by tens of millions of people)

Freder Frederson said...

A GOOD artist does not need public funding. A GOOD artist can find a market for his/her work. Look at today's publically funded art, most is mediocre at best. No person would ever buy it with their own money.

Well then either does a "good" banker, automaker, aerospace engineer or law professor. Yet we subsidize all those things.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If you think I was trying to offend by calling straight people breeders . . . - well, ok, yeah - that was the intent.

I think you're just jealous.

Hoosier Daddy said...

And who will wipe the dribble off your chin when you can't lift your arms anymore?

I'm sure by then Nancy Pelosi will have moved beyond state funded contraception and propose the Soylent Green bill to deal with that problem.

downtownlad said...

Piss Christ was a good use of government money. I'll gladly pay for more of that.

jdeeripper said...

Ann Althouse said...Why don't all you readers give me $1?

My $0.02, that's all I can afford.

onparkstreet said...

The last time I went to the contemporary art museum around my city, I was more interested in the building than any of the art inside. I love contemprary art (I do, not being sarcastic). 100,000 dollars to tape the sounds of the wind rushing through the grass in North Dakota, to be played back into an empty room, filled with coughing, shifting art patrons. I don't mind the sound project as art, it's just, well, you could do that a whole lot cheaper.

Here's a potential study. Take a group of TOP artists, from, say, 100 years ago, as designated by a group of art experts, I'm sure you could find some for the study. How many artists were primary subsidized by government grants, especially at the beginning? Today, the percentages would be higher, I suppose. Is the art better? Oh, treacherous subject.

*I read in another blog comment section that Anthony Trollope wrote for three hours before going to the post office, or something. I wonder if the art is better if it's something you do on your own, as opposed to applying for funding to some dull faculty-like committee filled with group-thinkers?

Freder Frederson said...

Considering almost every city with a major league sports team subsidizes each one to the tune of tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, I don't know why people are getting all bent out of shape for $50 million in arts funding for the entire country.

hdhouse said...

freder...because "art spending" has morphed into NEA which to many chuckleheads brings us close to public broadcasting....as stated..as if Big Bird is a terrorist in hiding or something.

Stop thinking of artists as just painters too. There are vital community arts organizations that occasionally get a pittance of support. they get it for worthwhile projects and for the quality of life to which they contribute.

not every citizen is a bonehead ya know.

MadisonMan said...

Simon: Lilly Ledbetter.

Why did so many Republicans vote against it?

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

Oh geeze. DTL, HDHouse, of course $50 million is relatively small all by itself. It's just an accessible symbol representing the hundreds of similarly stupid line items in this bill. 16 cents a person isn't going to bankrupt anyone until you do it about 10,000 times over.

Synova said...

I really do think that we should give the non-breeders what they deserve. Which is nothing they don't do for themselves. Period.

No relying on breeders in Brazil. No relying on breeders in Mexico. No relying on breeders anywhere else.

No relying on taxes collected from breeders or their spawn.

No relying on the spawn of breeders who develop a cure for cancer, or a cure for old age, or who grow gourmet lettuces, or who design fashion or grow the moths for silk.

Someone else may have decided to breed without DTL's input but no one was consulted and asked to agree to support his resource sucking self either.

Synova said...

I do enjoy RedState Update. :-)

Hoosier Daddy said...

I don't know why people are getting all bent out of shape for $50 million in arts funding for the entire country.

$50 million here, $25 million there, next thing you know we're talking real money.

Hoosier Daddy said...

As long as this arts funding is somehow beneficial for the children I don't see a problem.

Those children fortunate enough not to end up in the receptacle end of a government funded condom that is.

onparkstreet said...

I like RedState Update, too.

Re: my previous comment, above - I'm not sure how an empty room can be filled, but I think you get where I was going with that....although, maybe that was part of the ART PROJECT entitled, "winds through the Dakotas," or something like that.
Why didn't I think of applying for a grant to do something like that?

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"Simon: Lilly Ledbetter. Why did so many Republicans vote against it?"

That isn't about whether a woman can sue over gender-motivated pay differences, it's about when she must sue. The bill has to be understood against the backdrop of Ledbetter v. Goodyear, because the bill's intent is to write into the statute book the interpretation of Title VII Ledbetter wanted. In enacting and amending Title VII, Congress deliberately chose to require plaintiffs charging discrimination to file in a limited period of time after the discrimination occurs; a statute of limitations was needed because "the costs associated with processing and defending stale or dormant claims outweigh the federal interest in guaranteeing a remedy to every victim of discrimination." Mohasco Corp v. Silver, 447 U.S. 807, 820 (1982) (per Stevens, J.). The window is 180 days after the discriminatory event takes place (or, as the Ledbetter court suggested, and as the court suggested very strongly in Zipes, 180 days after discovery of the discrimination).

What Ledbetter wanted the court to do - and what the Ledbetter Act would do to Title VII - is to erase the statute of limitations. Ledbetter received discriminatory pay evaluations that led to her retiring on a lower salary than similarly-situated male employees. She sued, but the last evaluation she had been given was far beyond the 180 day window. She didn't please a discovery rule or anything of that nature; instead, she advanced a preposterous "poisoned well" theory: if an employer decides in one review to discriminate in a pay decision, it poisons the well, and thereafter, every sip - that is, every paycheque cut that is lower than it would have been but for the discriminatory event - is also a discrete clock-starting violation of Title VII.

If this approach is adopted, Congress will forget the earlier wisdom that required timely filing of these claims. Months, years, or even decades could go by, during which memories fade, employees leave, and owners change, and yet an employee who was once discriminated against years ago would retain a ticking time bomb of a claim against the company, for an ever-increasing pile of money. Suppose you have just purchased a business, and you simply take the existing wages of employees as the baseline. You are a saint, carefully avoiding discrimination. Ten years later, you are sued for an enormous amount of money because a female employee alleges that five years before you bought the company, one of her annual pay reviews led to her receiving a raise 10% less generous than her colleagues. She wants back pay and interest. Fair on you? Moreover, in that circumstance, as the Chief pointed out at oral argument (with the agreement of Ledbetter's counsel), "[i]t's not enough ... for somebody to come in and even up everybody[.] ... [I]f you see that the women are making 20 percent less than the men you don't escape liability by paying everybody the same going forward, because perhaps if nondiscriminatory decisions had been made the women would have making 20 percent more than the men. You have to go back and revisit every pay decision or you're exposed to liability for current pay." That isn't a sensible result.

I have no beef with expanding the filing period - Justice Ginsburg is not wrong that pay discrimination is sometimes subtle and clandestine. I have no objection to a reasonable discovery rule. But I do think it misrepresents the issue to suggest that the Ledbetter act involves a simple one-dimensional matter of fairness, and I think it is very inaccurate to suggest that it's a case about preventing women from suing over pay discrimination. It's about when one must sue.

Michael H said...

Which one was Glen and which one was Dr. Helen?

Crimso said...

"What paper is the guy on the left reading? I can't quite tell."

Not that anyone gives a damn about my true identity, but I know what paper it is, and that's a clue as to my true identity. Anonymity allows you to snipe and snark with near immunity.

"Which one was Glen and which one was Dr. Helen?"

One of them is from where I live (which is a small town some distance from where I work) and is a cousin of a good friend of mine (though I've not met them). I think these guys are hilarious, and I've heard them zing both sides of the aisle. Even though their bits deal primarily with politics, I think there's something for everyone to laugh at. Call it bipartisan comedy.

AJ Lynch said...

Why would anyone take a high-speed train from Boston to Miami when it is much faster and surely cheaper by plane?

Studies have shown the USA is too large and spread out. We can't build a Euro-style train system.

Even for an intercity system on the East Coast, we would be better off and way more economical if we developed high-speed bus lines travelling on a dedicated highway lanes between the cities.

Also an free govt-paid car-sharing system for intercity transport would be more economical and effective than Amtrak.

MadisonMan said...

Simon, your response is exactly what's wrong with the Republican stance on this bill. It takes three long paragraphs of text. Compare it to the Democratic talking point: Women should be paid the same as Men, and should be able to sue if they aren't.

How many of the Republicans who voted for this will see an ad of their vote in 2 years, I wonder? The Lily ad against McCain was very effective.

Crimso said...

"Women should be paid the same as Men, and should be able to sue if they aren't."

It's a good thing women and men who worked for Obama's campaign were on average paid the same. Oh wait...

blake said...

"Women should be paid the same as Men, and should be able to sue if they aren't."

Gotta admit, that sounds good.

Doesn't it seem inherently -ist, though? I mean, which women? Which men?

As Crimso points out, is Barack sexist because he pays his women more than he pays his men? Shouldn't they be able to sue, therefore?

Do you really base your affiliation on slogans?

There are lots of reasons to hate the Republicans--selling out their principles and the country for a decade, e.g.--but do you really think that Republicans, as a group, feel women should be discriminated against? Really?

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"Simon, your response is exactly what's wrong with the Republican stance on this bill. It takes three long paragraphs of text. Compare it to the Democratic talking point: Women should be paid the same as Men, and should be able to sue if they aren't."

I apologize if complicated issues of policy balancing competing interests can't be reduced to bumper sticker slogans. At any rate, no one disagrees - well, Cedarford might, but no one sensible disagrees - that women should be paid the same as identically-situated men, and should be able to sue if they aren't. The question is in what timeframe they have to sue. Should they be able to sue in a timely fashion? Or should they be able to sit on that time bomb until an opportune moment?

This is all moot, anyway, because Obama has signed the bill. The message to commerce is simple: if you buy a business, you must fire every employee and make them reapply for their jobs, starting all pay decisions from scratch, or risk exposure to massive liability down the road.

mcg said...

Simon, your response is exactly what's wrong with the Republican stance on this bill. It takes three long paragraphs of text. Compare it to the Democratic talking point: Women should be paid the same as Men, and should be able to sue if they aren't.

You blame Republicans if the Democrat "story" is disingenuous demagoguery? We judge the worthiness of a law based on the quality of its proponent's soundbite?

Synova said...

Simon, your response is exactly what's wrong with the Republican stance on this bill. It takes three long paragraphs of text. Compare it to the Democratic talking point: Women should be paid the same as Men, and should be able to sue if they aren't.

And the problem with the Democrat stance on just about anything is that so long as it sounds good it doesn't matter what it does.

If we're lucky, nothing.

If we're unlucky a system is set up that doesn't have the desired result (of equal pay) and has serious negative consequences that did nothing to improve anything at all.

But the high road was taken and a firm public statement of support for equal pay for equal work was made and that's what really matters?

Revenant said...

$50 million on art works out to about 16 cents a person. Why are we even debating that?

Good point. That's definitely way too much money. :)

Revenant said...

Women should be paid the same as Men, and should be able to sue if they aren't.

There's an even simpler and shorter response to that:

"They already can."

Next?

MadisonMan said...

Revenant, the bill extended the statute of limitations, as you well know. The ability to sue is of only marginal use if you have only 180 days to do it.

Watch Lily's anti-McCain ad. It'll be coming to close GOP races in 2 years.

Do Republicans think women should be paid equally for equal work, or don't they? Votes on this bill will make it look like they do not, to the average voter.

Synova said...

True enough. The average voter will be swayed by the impression that Republicans don't want women to be able to sue.

This impression would be totally ruined by any reasonable increase in the time limit to sue, say, one year, a year and a half, or even two.

It's much more politically useful to propose something your political opponents will not agree to and which can be used to political benefit, portraying the opposition in such a way that the average voter is swayed.

Which is more important in the end.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"Revenant, the bill extended the statute of limitations, as you well know. The ability to sue is of only marginal use if you have only 180 days to do it."

I don't agree with that. Assume that Zipes and footnote 10 of Ledbetter are correct: there is a discovery rule that tolls the filing period, within reason. On learning that you have been discriminated against, you then have six months to file a complaint with EEOC. Why was that so onerous? Why is that of only "marginal use"? And why are we pretending that Title VII is the only remedy, as if there was no such thing as the Equal Pay Act?

"Do Republicans think women should be paid equally for equal work, or don't they?"

Of course they do.

"Votes on this bill will make it look like they do not, to the average voter."

Only if the average voter is slightly more ignorant than a box of rocks.

Synova said...

A person has to wonder if some of these obviously bad bills are introduced knowing that the opposition will *have* to oppose them, and provide great sound bites about how it means that they are "against" women, or minorities, or children, or polar bears.

Simon said...

I will, by the way, defend and never apologize for Ledbetter. Regardless of any question of justice, the decision the court reached was the only credible reading of the statute as it then stood. Congress was well within its rights to decide that this was a bad result and to change the statute, but I would really prefer they drop the transparent rhetoric about the court's decision. It was Congress that made the result in that case, not the court.

Palladian said...

"Only if the average voter is slightly more ignorant than a box of rocks."

Bingo!