Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No more subsidies to business

Subsidies to business, any type of business, are a waste of taxpayers' money and create incentives that can lead to unintended outcomes. The Liberal government started its first term with a program to eliminate subsidies to businesses, but then fell off the wagon and introduced subsidies to industries such as the arts. The Liberal government must eliminate subsidies to all businesses, not just repackage those subsidies.

The government hands out $14 million each year to the arts. Arts subsidies don't end there, however. The government set up a one-time $25-million Arts and Culture Endowment Fund, established a $20-million Spirit of B.C. Fund, and the $12-million ArtsNow program through LegaciesNow to support arts and cultural components leading up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

When government subsidizes art, artists may make decisions based on funding applications, not artistic merit or demands of the marketplace. Government subsidies allow artists to ignore the market; to produce what governments, not people, want. More than a waste of tax dollars - artists may be dedicating their lives to production that no one, except maybe a few government bureaucrats, value.

How many artists from Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany do we remember and admire today? Drawing a blank? But we do remember and admire artists such as those in the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, Picasso, Jackson Pollock and others who worked independently of government handouts.

Subsidies to artists force taxpayers to pay for art they might not buy voluntarily. If artists cannot get people to voluntarily pay for their work, then no one should be forced to pay for it through the tax system. Free artists to follow their muse, but let people decide which art will live and which will die.

No comments:

CTF You Tube Channel

Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Fan Box