Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Martin Scorsese welfare king?
Martin Scorsese by David Shankbone
Photo source: Wikipedia
The National Endowment for the Humanities announced recently that Martin Scorsese, director of such films as Taxi Driver and Hugo, would deliver the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the Kennedy Center in Washington on April 1. According to the NEH press release, “The annual lecture...is the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.”
But what got my attention were these words near the bottom: “The lectureship carries a $10,000 honorarium, set by statute.”

TheRichest.org estimates Mr. Scorsese’s net worth at $70 million. I do not begrudge him that - in fact I voluntarily contributed to it by going to see his movies. His segment "Life Lessons" in 1989's New York Stories helped make it one of my favorite movies of all time. But with all due respect to Mr. Scorsese, I question the appropriateness of paying him thousands of dollars that were taken involuntarily from the taxpayers at a time of sequesters and budget cuts. When I asked NEH media contact Paula Wasley (who was very polite and professional, by the way) for comment, she confirmed that it is set by law. “We don’t have any control over that,” she explained.

In spite of all the whining that President Obama has been doing about the sequester, if we’re taxing the middle class to give grants to multimillionaires, then IMHO we haven’t cut enough.

Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Check it out on Amazon.com

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