Beware the ‘Conservative’ Who Grows in Office

The maddening problem facing conservatives fighting the growth of Big Government is that much of the growth is fertilized by former conservatives who start growing first. The phenomena is most evident in benighted lands that don’t impose term limits and have legislative bodies that meet year around.

And just as a cancerous growth is no respecter of persons, politician growth isn’t limited to the federal government.

State Sen. Bill Stanley (R–Clueless) busy growing in office.

Symptoms are evident on the state and local level. In Virginia we have a politician who initially ran for office as a small–government, conservative and unfortunately failed to resist temptation to meddle and build a ‘legacy’ the longer he stayed in the capital.

Bill Stanley promised to “fight to reduce state spending and the size of state government” in his first race for the Virginia Senate. Two crucial promises that work in tandem. Without increased spending, government can’t grow and expand its interference. Cutting spending also cuts the size of government since the Commonwealth must balance its budget.

Stanley’s first legislative session was promising, considering he’s a defense lawyer. He introduced a bill that would require local courts to try repeat juvenile violent offenders as adults. Choosing the right health insurance policy may be so daunting that it takes 26 years to prepare for the decision, but choosing between right and wrong is binary and consequences should apply at a much earlier age.

Six years later it appears Stanley’s fallen under the influence of Social Justice Warriors. He’s gone from tough–on–crime to touchy–feely.

He’s introduced a bill that would forbid local school districts from suspending any student in preschool through the third grade.

I wanted to ask the senator a number of questions regarding this state government expansion into the affairs of local school boards, but eight days wasn’t long enough to work me into the schedule. I did speak with a staffer and as far as he knew there is no epidemic of pint–sized suspensions in the district.

It might have been useful for Stanley to interview a few teachers before he began meddling. My daughter is and teacher’s classroom discipline experiences are instructive. For example, there is the third–grade boy who made an obscene gesture as he exited the bus and entered school. This violation was reported and when the vice principal asked him about it, the boy struck the principal.

That earned him his third suspension for this year. One might be tempted to say that three suspensions prove suspensions don’t work. It’s time to try the gentle Stanley Rule, which would force elementary schools to create an alternative, in–school behavior program.

That ignores the immediate benefit of a suspension: It gives his teacher a break.

When not taking a swing at administrators, this child routinely shouts in class disrupting the room and destroying the learning environment. He bullies other children and exhibits disrespectful behavior that other, easily–led boys imitate.

The prospect of his moving into fourth grade is so foreboding that more than one fourth grade teacher has applied for a transfer to another school.

Taking away suspensions removes the only leverage administrators have these days. (Historical note: When I was in elementary school, discipline problems were solved with a paddle. That’s why there were routinely 35 students in a class. Today, teachers ask for UN Peacekeepers when they have more than 25.)

Suspending this kid doesn’t bother him bit, but it bothers the parents a great deal. It means stay home from work, arrange short–term daycare or dial 1–800–Im–Ur–Jailer. Enough suspensions and parents may finally become engaged and discipline their delinquent. Stanley’s meddling means the punishment is inflicted on the children in the delinquent darling’s classroom who obey the rules and are trying to learn. An impossibility because the teacher’s time and attention is spent trying to deal with Rosemary’s Baby.

Stanley’s staffer contends the outbursts “mean there are other issues going on at home.” Exactly. And a conservative response, that respected the rights of well–behaved children, would have directed school administrators to make a referral to the dreaded Child Protective Services after the second suspension.

Classroom decorum is preserved and conditions in the home are investigated without disrupting the school or creating in–house discipline programs that siphon more money away from the education of the kids who aren’t a constant problem.

Conservative legislation seeks to serve the law–abiding, rule–following majority without imposing new burdens or taking away their ability to act independently.

Stanley’s bill fails that simple test. It’s legislation in search of a problem. It also may put him in search of a new job when the parents of kids who follow the rules learn what he’s done to their child’s classroom.

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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Shutdown?

This weekend the United States Treasury will bump up against the “debt ceiling.” This debt ceiling is to the government like the credit card limit is to your dreams of really furnishing your man cave.

When your credit card is maxed out it’s no use going to The Big Screen Store to buy the new 90” TV for the Super Bowl. Your card will be declined shortly after its swiped. For the feds reaching the debt limit means the Chinese will get some temporary relief from Uncle Sam putting the bite on them for another series of loans.

There the similarity ends. You can’t borrow additional money until you either pay down your credit card debt or the postman delivers another credit card application that’s “reserved just for you!” Congress can start borrowing again just as soon as both houses pass a bill that increases the debt limit without any provision for debt payment. For politicians, operators are always standing by.

If the debt limit increase isn’t passed by this weekend the government enters “shutdown” mode and Trump will have to buy a burner phone to get back on Twitter. Or so the Opposition Media would have us believe.

The facts are these shutdowns were non–events until recently. Over the years there have been a number of shutdowns and the republic was none the worse for wear. Normal people went about their normal business, while the political class had a nervous breakdown.

The last time the government ground to a halt in 2013, Obama was in the White House and racial peace reigned throughout the land. Then the sinister Ted Cruz filibustered the debt increase and the feds were without funding for a harrowing 16 days. During that fortnight plus two Mexico annexed a defenseless Texas, the Bundy Gang seized much of the public land in Southern Nevada and rioting middle income taxpayers burned down Obamacare enrollment offices to protest skyrocketing insurance premiums.

You don’t recall that? That’s because it’s Fake News. Nothing much happened. It was so quiet the Obama administration decided to punish taxpayers by closing the Mall, national parks and other facilities that didn’t require closing. The goal was twofold: Generate hysterical shutdown news coverage and mobilize the dependent class to call a politician.

The truth is bumping up against the debt limit doesn’t shut off the money spigot. The feds are collecting tax money every day. Just before the Great Cruz Control Experiment the Washington Post published an interactive page where readers could take the $172.4 billion available even after the shutdown and decide who gets paid and who doesn’t.

I took the money and paid all the essentials: Social Security; T–bill debt service; Medicare; Medicaid; federal salaries and benefits; unemployment insurance; food stamps & TANF; military pay; Veteran’s Affairs and even that seat of Deep State Resistance — the Dept. of Justice.

There was no default. I even had $700 million left over for the odd drone strike or Congressional sexual harassment settlement. That’s why you won’t see that mistake in the Post again. The facts undercut all the shutdown predictions of doom.

Republicans took the blame for the Cruz Control, but suffered no lasting ill effects. In this season’s shutdown follies one would think that even the Slinky–spined Republican leadership in the House and Senate could win a confrontation with Democrats.

The difference between the two sides is stark.

On one hand the GOP is trying to keep the government up and running under the sure hand of legislative ‘mastermind’ and Curator of the Senate, Mitch McConnell. On the other, leftist Democrats are threatening to hold taxpayers hostage by shutting down the government. They believe rewarding illegal alien lawbreakers is more important than serving the citizens that elected them.

RINOs and herd–followers in the Swamp have trouble pointing out this obvious contrast because they can hardly wait to surrender to Democrat demands for a DACA amnesty. It’s just taking longer to negotiate terms than they expected.

The fact Trump won the presidency on a promise to “end DACA,” build the wall and deport illegals has escaped the notice of these serial appeasers. What citizens believe is only important until the polls close.

In all the OpMedia buildup to the potential shutdown, I have yet to read of any Democrats fearing they will be blamed for the shutdown. Like General Grant on the second day of a battle, they would have to more pretty fast to get ahead of the GOP jellyfish caucus who is already trying on their hair shirts.

Republican ‘leaders’ and their enablers are always willing to resort to preemptive surrender before the battle is joined. To win one must fight and their heart just isn’t in it. They always have an exit strategy for everything but leaving office.

Afghanistan Strategy Is the Only Hope for Education Reform

The federal government is currently enmeshed in two gigantic, expensive reform projects, one domestic and one foreign. Both are failures even though the tactics couldn’t be more different. In one — at a cost of $2.5 trillion — Uncle Sam is trying manfully to completely change a political culture.

In the other — at just under $1 trillion — Uncle Sugar won’t touch the culture. What is the same, and the ultimate source of failure, is the obstinate refusal of project architects to recognize their strategy isn’t working now and won’t be working in the future.

We’ll begin with the relatively cheap failure. Since 1980 the Dept. of Education has spent $872,519,440,000 on just primary and secondary education. The scores from the latest nationwide ACT college admission test are so bad that to forestall criticism of the entire effort, the focus has been shifted to the old perennial: The Achievement Gap.

The Washington Post reports, “Scores…show that just 9 percent of students in the class of 2017 who came from low–income families, whose parents did not go to college, and who identify as [minority] are strongly ready for college. But the readiness rate for students with none of those demographic characteristics was six times as high [at] 54 percent.”

Students with one of the three “handicaps” scored 26 percent college ready, while those with two of three came in at 15 percent.

It would be easy to look at the “six times” more successful and assume all was well in education, but don’t. These numbers indicate a failure so large Mitch McConnell could have been supervising the project.

There were 3.3 million high school graduates in the spring of 2017. Two million took the ACT test and of those 1,080,000 achieved scores indicating they are ready for college. The other 920,000 didn’t make the cut. When you add that number to the 1,333,000 graduates that already knew taking the test was a waste of time, the total of unprepared graduates was 2,253,000. So the feds spent $535 billion on these kids (not counting additional billions spent by state and local governments) during the 12 years they were in school and after that stupendous expenditure ($161,000.00 PER STUDENT!) only 32 percent were ready for college.

With those results its only natural the focus would be on the “achievement gap” between minorities and the other categories. In the understatement of the year ACT chief executive Marten Roorda said, “You could argue that those investments should have made a clearer difference and that’s not what we’re seeing.”

There is nothing intrinsically limiting about being a member of a minority. Genetics aren’t holding them back. Culture is holding them back.

This is where the really expensive culture–changing project becomes relevant. In Afghanistan the US is trying to install a modern democratic state in a land with a primitive, medieval, tribal culture whose only bow to modernity is a thin veneer of alternating current.

Yet there are similarities. US minority culture and Afghan culture feature strong tribal or gang–based loyalties. Both have impulsive honor/vengeance pathologies. And both feature poor education and a high illiteracy rate. Islamic fundamentalism is unique to Afghanistan as out–of–wedlock births are limited to the US example.

In Afghanistan experts ignore history and insist the country is just the breeding ground for the next showplace of democracy after the political culture is changed. In the US education experts ignore history and a culture change that’s responsible for education failure in the hope a few more Baby Einstein videos will do the trick.

Afghanistan has been corrupt for centuries and has absolutely no history of impartial representative government. Yet within living memory in the US the family culture, which is the root of education problems, was an asset to learning.

In 1950 the rate of out–of–wedlock births for black women was approximately 18 percent. Today the percentage is 72 percent. Ignoring this has real costs for the children. Spending billions at one end of the education cycle while ignoring the origin of the problem does nothing more than provide permanent, well–paid jobs for bureaucrats.

The feds should have no role in education in the first place. That’s a state and local responsibility. But if the money is going to be spent, spend it wisely. Try to change the dysfunctional culture of out–of–wedlock births and resulting poverty. Political culture change is destined for failure in Afghanistan, but there is a chance to revive the marriage culture here and in turn close the “achievement gap.”

Let’s try the Afghanistan strategy. Attack a dysfunctional culture directly. Emphasize marriage and finishing school before becoming a mother. After 17 years in Afghanistan we’ve made no difference. Here 17 years of culture emphasis could make a big difference.

Sometimes Saving Money Is Rocket Science

It’s ironic Elon Musk, one of America’s premier subsidy farmers, is also a perfect example of the difference between the private sector approach to cost and the government’s. Musk differs from earlier entrepreneurs like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford who became wealthy by building a better mousetrap. Musk became wealthy by harvesting government subsidies.

The LA Times ran the numbers and Musk’s Tesla Motors, SolarCity Corp and Space X “have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support.”

The best part about subsidy farming, as opposed to wheat farming, is that Musk isn’t required to make a profit. Tesla and SolarCity have been in business for ten years and neither has made so much as a dime.

Even more galling, much of Musk’s subsidies go to benefit one–percenter Global Warming hobbyists. Tesla buyers receive a $7,500 federal income tax credit for purchasing a new hummer that costs up to $135,000. One reason the average household income of Tesla customers is $320,000.

The one company that isn’t a subsidy vacuum is where Musk wields a sharp pencil. SpaceX has received a paltry $15 million in subsidies and much of that came from Texas when it built a launch pad. Sure Musk has $5.5 billion in government contracts with NASA and the Air Force, but he has to perform to get the money.

Musk’s lesson is his approach to recycling. When NASA was king, boosters were fire and forget. That works fine with a mortar, but applied to sending men to the moon, costs add up fast.

If you tossed the station wagon after every visit to see grandma it wouldn’t be long before the kids had only a hazy memory of what the old girl looked like. The same applies to the moon. Space priced itself out of even the federal market.

Reusing boosters would have saved money but the suggestion was viewed as crazy talk. For the bureaucrat a reusing boosters is all cost and no benefit. There are no awards in the federal service for saving money. Someone looking to spend less is not a team player, since leftover money in the budget means Congress won’t give the agency as much next year.

Recognition in the bureaucracy goes to the functionary that invents a new program with new spending, not the green–eyeshade who finds a way to do more with less. Besides the potential for bad publicity should a recycled rocket cause a mission to fail was a risk not worth taking.

That’s why SpaceX’s March 30 launch was such a milestone. It successfully launched a communication satellite into Earth orbit perched atop a Falcon 9 rocket with a first stage that had already been launched once and recovered.

Ray Lugo, who directed NASA science missions, told Florida Today, “It’s potentially a big cost-saver and it will make a difference, provided you can re-fly multiple times. If this works, over the long term it will be difficult for anyone that throws boosters away to compete.”

At least as far as SpaceX is concerned, Musk is now a money–saving fool. That launch also saw a first time recovery of the nose cone. Musk evidently had to fight NASA thinking. According to the Daily Mail, Musk ordered his engineering team to make the attempt, “Imagine you had $6 million in cash on a pallet flying through the air that’s just going to smash into the ocean. Would you try to recover that? Yes, you would.”

Maybe in the private sector, but the feds would be worried about Greenpeace activists if a fish died during recovery.

This is what competition does. Musk launches now have a cost advantage over those of Jeff Bezos, who has yet to recover a booster. Another former NASA administrator estimates SpaceX can cut 75 percent of the cost of a rocket by reusing boosters.

Musk is already offering launch discounts to customers who opt for recycled boosters.

His goal is for each booster to be used between 10 and 100 times with an additional goal of being ready to launch after a one–day turn around. That’s three times better than the turnaround time of an F-35, which under Pentagon management requires three days between sorties.

The case against privatization is always put in terms of there are just some things that only government can do, like space flight. Only, our government isn’t doing space flight anymore, because it priced itself out of the market.

The market rewards efficiency and innovation, while government rewards government employees.

It’s not rocket science to conclude if the market can bring down the cost of space travel, it can certainly bring down the cost of health insurance.

But if Congress won’t give the market a chance, the solution isn’t Musk’s recycling. It’s NASA’s fire and forget.

Gullible Republican Voters Fooled Again

When Republican voters went to the polls last November, electing Trump meant seizing the last branch of government in Washington. Trump would join the existing Republican House and Senate. These optimistic voters looked forward to ushering in a new era of unchallenged conservative government. Trump’s election would be a stunning repudiation of Obama’s eight years of big government, soft socialism,

Instead, what Trump voters got was Vichy France.

Although in fairness to the French, when President Albert Lebrun surrendered to the Germans in 1940 Hitler was at the height of his power.

Republicans in Washington — led by Curator of the Senate, Mitch McConnell —surrendered to Chuck Schumer after Hillary lost the presidential election and Schumer failed to capture the Senate. But Democrats don’t have to actually win to defeat Republicans.

Democrats just have to exist.

I’m sure the explanation for this rout has something to do with the 2018 mid–term election.

In the run up to the 2016 vote, Republicans were warned not to expect too much in the way of conservative legislation from the GOP–controlled Senate and House. The GOP was defending more incumbent Senate seats than Democrats and McConnell had to protect the vulnerable.

In 2018 it looks like Republican voters can’t expect a return to conservative government this time because the Democrats are defending more incumbent Senate seats.

How does this budget bill betray the base who keeps electing Republicans and the new voters Trump added? You’ll see for yourself when you click the link below to the rest of the column on Newsmax.

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/congress-goals-legislation/2017/05/02/id/787714/

 

Trump Looks for Love in All the Wrong Places

If President Trump is disappointed by the outcome of his dalliance with Amanda Knox, wait until he gets a load of what passes for reciprocity from Rep. Hal Rodgers.

This clown caucus is the last place Trump should go to for support.

Amanda Knox is the student that was accused of a particularly gruesome murder in Italy, where she was attending school. Most of us would gravitate toward OJ or Robert Durst if we were going to advocate for someone accused of a messy murder, but maybe Trump thought he already had senior offenders in the bag.

Trump picked the hot coed and tweeted during her appeal trial, “Everyone should boycott Italy if Amanda Knox is not freed – she is totally innocent.”

Fortunately for the Italian tourism board, Knox was found innocent and returned to the US, where she proceeded to display a politician’s gratitude. The Independent reports the accused murderer endorsed the enthusiastic abortion supporter, Hillary Clinton, instead of her Twitter buddy, Trump.

In a column Knox wrote for the West Seattle Herald she observed, “If Obama’s song was a rousing anthem, Clinton’s is a subtle symphony. And Trump, a broken trumpet. [Clinton’s] impending victory represents the triumph of nuance and poise over prejudice and childishness.”

I won’t go out on a limb and contend Trump’s elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts in his proposed budget was to make sure Amanda never received a “writer in residence” grant, but it is an intriguing thought.

Now Trump is looking for love in all the wrong places. I know Trump is new at this, but it’s time to focus. Reaching out to RINOs and Democrats in the White House means asking Ivanka to pass the salt. Doing so in Congress can have serious repercussions with Trump’s base.

How serious? To learn that you’ll have to click on the link below and read the rest of my column at Newsmax.com:

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/trump-freedom-caucus-rep-hal-rodgers/2017/04/19/id/785266/

 

Finally! Democrats Support Cutting Off the Money

It hasn’t made the national news (except for this column) but for a brief time it looked like Democrats around our nation’s capital were going to accept the fact the federal government can withhold funds from states that don’t cooperate with the feds.

And this wasn’t a mere threat to turn off the spigot; funds for Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia have been cut off.

metro-cartoonYet no Democrats are vowing to fight to the last ditch to get their money. No state attorneys general are rushing to the courthouse hoping to find a federal judge willing to write legislation from the bench. No legal defense funds have been established. No lawyers have been hired. No posters have been printed. And no protestors wielding superglue and PVC pipe have blockaded entrances to buildings.

Why George Ramos wasn’t even thrown out of a news conference for asking impertinent questions.

If you’re thinking now that Trump has vanquished the Sanctuary City movement, it’s time to move on to Obamacare repeal, I have bad news.

Now I’ve got you. You’re wondering what bad news? The question is easily answered by clicking on the link below and reading the entire column on Newsmax.com:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/city-federal-funding-sanctuary/2017/03/01/id/776296/

 

 

Future Is Cloudy With Occasional Trump Gusts at National Weather Service

How many weather people does it take to change a forecast? Evidently more than we currently possess.

The National Weather Service Employees Organization is issuing a severe hiring freeze warning. The union is afraid if Donald Trump’s freeze order is applied to the National Weather Service it will be a cold day in hell before it can add another employee.

global-warming-forecasts-mckeeThe union hopes it can slip through a loophole under cover of a rhetorical fog bank. Trump’s order doesn’t apply to agencies involved in the military, public safety or public health. The Washington Post says the NWS is hoping to reclassify itself as an integral part of the nation’s public safety apparatus: First responders when the precipitation hits the fan.

If NWS brass has its way, soldiers fighting for our freedom, anti–terror agents protecting the homeland and doctors battling dread disease will be joined by the guy who eyeballs the rain gauge at the airport. Each doing their small part in the vital effort to keep taxpayers alive and paying taxes.

Normally you would call this sort of bureaucratic aggrandizement “mission creep” but in the case of the weather service we’ll call it moisture creep.

The real problem facing weather wizards is it’s difficult to make the case for 650 new hires before Hurricane Donald arrives, when the desks have been empty for years and no one, outside the cleaning crew that dusts the monitors, has noticed.

A union functionary claims the vacant slots are “Emergency Essential” and it’s a big deal, “meaning those employees are critical to the life-saving mission of the NWS, so they must report to work (in hurricanes, floods, blizzards, furloughs, etc.).”

That’s a confusing explanation. I’d have thought an employee who shows up at the office after being furloughed is a potential source of workplace violence, not a reason to consider NWS workers the equivalent of Marines with barometers. As for the rest of the examples, when the morgue is empty it’s easy enough to claim your agency was responsible, but where’s the evidence these vacant slots represent a “life–saving mission?”

When a city is short of cops or has a surplus of demonstrators crime goes up. With a shortage of doctors patients pile up. But it will take some convincing to persuade me a shortage of weather oracles encourages tornadoes.

Making the case the NWS is a public safety necessity is difficult when the weather service has trouble coping with normal weather. Last week, while a blizzard was slamming into Maine and California was wondering if leftist sanctuaries would protect citizens and illegals from flood waters, the NWS system went offline.

A case could be made the cat was out of the bag and Maine and California were already familiar with the weather, but knowing if the rain was expected to stop would have been helpful to the sandbag crew.

Instead two “core routers” failed and the system was offline for three hours. The WaPost’s weather blog reminds us NWS systems failed as Hurricane Matthew was bearing down on Florida last October and in July it experienced another network issue.

It’s almost as if Hillary is the IT consultant.

Even if NWS bureaucrats can convince Trump a weather watcher wielding a weathervane is the public safety equal of a doctor brandishing a thermometer, there is the vetting problem.

In a government that yawns over classified phone call transcripts being leaked to the opposition media there’s a surprising amount of paranoia regarding the five–day forecast. Higher level NWS employees are for some unknown reason required to have a security clearance.

It’s not like you can hide the weather, just go outside and you know as much as President Trump. The only forecasts that have any usefulness are next day predictions. Three and five–day forecasts, which you can get from any weather poodle on TV, are about as reliable as a Republican Congressman’s promise to repeal Obamacare.

I suppose if your life is wrapped up in humidity the staffing shortfall is a big problem, but to me it looks like a good way to save money. It would be cheaper to let NWS focus on gathering weather data and let the private sector handle the forecasts. Using the same data the NWS employs, the Weather Channel is already more accurate and if you don’t like those global warming fanatics there’s always your local TV weather babe.

Why fight it? The missing 650 employees are approximately 14 percent of total employment. Since Trump wants to cut the federal workforce by 20 percent, the NWS’ head start puts it well on the way to meeting that goal.

It’s new motto could be: All the Weather at 80 Percent of the Cost!

Senate Still Can’t Understand Why Trump Won

Hammer–wielding petulants attacking Larry King’s rented limo in DC may boast of being “the Resistance,” but their effect on the Trump administration will be as fleeting as their fame.

Same goes for the estrogen–ettes who held their march the day after the inauguration, proving even angry women have trouble being on time.

rat-republicans-against-trumpThe real resistance to Trump’s agenda wasn’t marching on the streets. It was sitting behind him as he took the Oath. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Orrin Hatch and Lamar Alexander personify the Republican Resistance to Trump. They’re the “don’t start your budget cutting with me,” the “don’t disturb my complacency” and the “I’m strictly a big picture guy” wings of the Can’t Do Caucus.

The Can’t Do Caucus — led by “Mitch McClellan” — is composed of GOP politicians who campaign as conservatives and govern as spendocrats. They go along with the base just far enough to get re–elected.

Their charming combination of duplicitousness and inertia is the reason Trump won. Conservatives are tired of being told the issues they supported and voted for at election time are completely impractical at governing time.

Since establishment Republicans can’t comprehend why Trump won and still believe Jeb! may be viable in 2020, they not only resist draining the swamp, most will claim there is no drain.

Senate votes aren’t divided between Republicans and Democrats. The division is between self–interest and the national interest and so far the national interest is on the short side of the ledger.

That’s why I’ve been studying the photo of the large “Resist” banner that was hung from a crane near the White House. Is that Mitch McConnell dangling just out of the frame? Can’t be sure. But I am sure Trump will be fighting more than just Democrats in Congress.

You can find out who the ringleaders are of the internal opposition and why they are fighting Trump by clicking on the link below and reading the rest of my Newsmax column:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/federal-senate-spending/2017/01/25/id/770378/

 

Social Life a Little Slow? Award an NEA Grant!

December was a great month for entertainment, unless you’re an atheist. There’s an almost unlimited menu of plays, concerts, exhibits and lectures. Even jihadis look forward to Christmas because of the targeting opportunities.

Yet the best part is all this activity takes place without being subsidized by a single dollar of taxpayer money.

Buffet from Hell.

Buffet from Hell.

(Note: I’m not talking about Christmas counter–programming. For example, Santa as a cross–dressing lesbian who kills “Rudolph The Oppressor” and liberates the reindeer, thereby preventing the enslavement of millions of vulnerable children by a rapacious consumer society. Those are government grant productions, notable for their grim intensity, thin skin and lack of audience.)

You might find this shocking, but prior to 1965 EVERY “art” production managed to get by without a single federal taxpayer handout.

Most of us don’t recall 1965 as being such a cultural wasteland that it required federal intervention for culture to continue.

Movie audiences enjoyed Doctor Zhivago and The Sound of Music. Theatre attendees witnessed Man of La Mancha and The Lion in Winter. And readers plowed through Dune, In Cold Blood, Autobiography of Malcolm X and Midnight Cowboy.

Local theatre groups continued to gratify relatives and stupefy audiences without any assistance from Uncle Sam. Museums opened, exhibits appeared in galleries and artists committed “art” without the assistance of Uncle Sam’s “arts” apparatchiks.

So what happened? LBJ and “intellectuals” for one and the result has been expensive and insulting for taxpayers. I have a personal anecdote and a solution, but you’ll have to click the link below to visit my Insider column at Newsmax to find it:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/national-endowment-for-the-arts-government-waste/2016/12/23/id/765398/