Posted by: Rick | Monday, March 29, 2010

Suspicious Minds: Conservatives Versus Artists

Here’s a quote from Nancy Pelosi right after health care was passed:

Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance or that people could start a business and be entrepreneurial and take risk, but not job loss because of a child with asthma or someone in the family is bipolar — you name it, any condition — is job locking.

Jonathan Chait rightly calls out Mary Katherine Ham at The Weekly Standard for distorting Pelosi’s meaning:

Ham proceeded to riff on Pelosi’s desire to subsidize people who don’t work — “If liberal Boomers such as Nancy Pelosi insist on creating government incentives for a generation of people to be unemployed artists who nonetheless have their health care paid for by productive members of society, there will be fewer productive members of society.”

In fact Ham had simply truncated Pelosi’s quote mid-sentence, cutting it off to obscure the fact that the House Speaker was talking about removing “job lock” and thus allowing individuals to work as freelancers or start their own business.

This kind of lying is par for the course on the right.  I expect nothing else.  But why do conservatives have such scorn for artists?  American cultural and entertainment products dominate the world, bringing home billions of dollars. That stuff doesn’t come from the bowels of the Heritage Foundation.  People have to create it.

Right-wingers simply don’t trust — or understand — artists.  But our economy would be a lot weaker if money was all that anyone thought about.

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