Saturday, February 12, 2011

Indirect Subsidies for the Arts

Tyler Cowan on State Support of the Arts. He argues against direct subsidies, and for "indirect subsidies," or tax breaks. We will leave aside for the moment any discussion of the justice of the kind of taxation where one could receive tax breaks and focus rather on this proposal, which is applicable to the situation as currently exists.

In short, I'm for it. I don't think there should be an upper limit on the tax deductions one gets on charitable donations. After all, one could argue that the more private donations to private charities, the less one "needs" government to do these things. Meaning, they don't need the money.

Along these lines, artists of all kinds need to become 501(c)3's and solicit donations to support their artistic production. This would result in decentralized patronage. In fact, it might be a profitable enterprise if one were to create a web site that allowed such artists to list themselves and show their art work so that people could then donate to their work. That's such a good idea, I should patent it (but don't tell Stephan Kinsella I said that! ;-) ).


  1. Actually, there is something out there along those lines -- called Kickstarter. We posted about it here:

    Though, Kickstarter does not give money to art charities -- it provides a direct link between a public willing to donate to individual artists whose projects they see as worthwhile. For some artists, it's been hugely successful.

  2. Thanks. I'll check it out. I'm glad to hear there's something like that out there.