Free Markets, Free People


Kinsley restores my belief in the irony impaired left

Michael Kinsley goes on a bit of a tear about states subsidizing the film industry in an LA Times piece.  Kinsley is just flat upset that states are giving way subsidies to “millionaires”.  Frankly, I don’t think government should be subsidizing any industry.  But back to Kinsley:

Government, in order to work, must be a monopoly. The appeal of the movie industry to beleaguered state treasurers, in addition to its glamour, is its mobility. There are no huge factories. Regardless of where the movie is supposedly set, it can be shot almost anywhere. And it will employ locals and spend money.

But mobility giveth and mobility taketh away. Pit the states against one another and the subsidies will inevitably become more generous and less effective at the same time.

The same logic applies when the competition is foreign. True, we might tire of having to watch film after film often implausibly set in Vancouver. But in any attempt to outbid Canada for the privilege of hosting a movie shoot, even a successful effort will be self-defeating.

"Governors and legislatures should call ‘cut!’ on cynical efforts to kill forward-looking incentive programs for film and TV production, in New Mexico and in all other states," Richardson says.

"Cynical" is an odd word to describe people (and there aren’t many) who want deeply indebted state governments to stop forgoing billions in tax revenue in the futile effort to entice the movie business to make its next western in Erie, Penn., or wherever.

Whatever indeed.  I don’t disagree.  For once I can give Kinsley kudos. 

Well, almost.   In the same article he says, talking about Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico (and the “Richardson” quoted above):

Richardson might well be a candidate for one of the "respected elder statesman" seats that come open every generation (sort of an American version of the British House of Lords, only chosen by the media instead of the government), bringing with them memberships of prestigious commissions, offers of ambassadorships, opportunities to express concern on "Charlie Rose" or the PBS "NewsHour" shows (if those institutions manage to survive the current Republican onslaught) and so on.

Yes, you caught it.  He’s talking about the subsidy the Federal government gives the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a multi-million dollar corporation that helps fund PBS, another multi-million dollar tax subsidized entity.

Irony – still a mystery to much of the left.

Next Kinsley will be urging us to buy a book on how to save the trees.

~McQ

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7 Responses to Kinsley restores my belief in the irony impaired left

  • Bill Richardson?  A “respected elder statesman”?!?!  The guy who was caught back-channeling with the Norks, undercutting the Bush foreign policy?
    As to the subject, it sounds like he is miffed his state has to compete for the film companies.  But the fundamental point is right, McQ…states have no business subsidizing any damn profit-making venture…and precious little else, besides.
    The Feds, even less…

    • “…undercutting the Bush foreign policy?”

      Gee, you say that like it is a bad thing.

      My guess is that Kinsley thinks it is an exclusively federal responsibility to subsidizing industry. I’ll bet he doesn’t complain about federal subsidies  to ‘green’ industries. 

      • I know I’m a radical kinda guy…  I’ve said for several decades there should NEVER be agricultural subsidies, and my undergrad degree is from an ag college.
        The ONLY reason there is such a thing as Agricultural Economics, IMNHO, is BECAUSE of subsidy programs.  Agriculture as a business does not live in a world with its own economics otherwise.

  • Your point about irony, yeah I get it.
    But about subsidies, I think the subject is a sympathetic one, and that to push this is akin to barking up the wrong tree.

    Of all the abuses of subsidies, CPB is among the smallest.  And, more importantly, people like PBS.
    Point out all of the ironies you choose.  Most likely you’ll get little argument from me.  But using the Corporation for Public Broadcasting should make for a resounding thud.

    Damn you, Big Bird!!!!

    Cheers.

    • Fine … then PBS should be able to make it on its own … if people like it and all.

      Right?

    • The CPB/PBS get the vast majority of their funding from private corps/funds/people.  They don’t even need the damn government handout.

    • “People like PBS.”
      That’s an argument for subsidies?  Then we’ll have to keep them all since you can always find plenty of people who like whatever program is being subsidized.