This is Ronald Reagan’s quip on the attitude governments have to business;
If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
With this axiom, we can be certain the end has come for the
once never noble profession of journalism.
Philanthropist Judith Neilson to fund a $100m institute for journalism in Sydney. Note the irony of the Gruaniad having to get the begging bowl out at the bottom of that article.
She’s a billionaire, so $100m is just the loose change down the back of the sofa, but seriously? $100m to train people in a job that produces a product nobody trusts and therefore doesn’t want to pay for any more? This is surely the epitome of the concept of “having more money than sense”.
At least the money being pissed up the wall is her own. Over in Canadia, the country that used to be home to people who were tough enough to thrive in a climate even polar bears find depressing but is now the world’s epicentre of thumb-sucking social justice, the government of Justin Trudeau have spunked $600m to help their preferred news outlets to survive a little longer.
The temptation with these two stories of insanity is to point to industries that don’t need subsidies to survive but, when one starts to look for them, they are very thin on the ground.
Here in Australia, through combinations of direct financial subsidies, tax breaks or artificially high barriers to entry, one could make the case that almost every industry sector benefits from government largesse. Examples that would immediately appear on a Google search would include banking, (the late) car manufacturers, mining, fossil fuel energy, green energy, farming (try buying an imported banana), real estate, electronics retail, childcare, taxis and even national sports.
Probably the only sectors not benefiting from welfare for business are the illegal ones. Coincidentally, the price of marijuana has not increased with CPI and, in fact, has fallen.
Nobody wants any more journalists. If rich individuals want to waste their money subsidising journalism, so be it, but keep your damn hand out of my wallet.
Oh, and I’m out of Rizlas.