Taxpayer Rip-Off of the Week: $350,000 for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

It seems the federal government has a soft spot for music programs, the more outrageous the better.

The 2005 Labor/HHS Appropriations Act (H.R. 4818) doled out thousands of dollars for all sorts of music programs from $350,000 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to $150,000 for education programs at the GRAMMY Foundation in Santa Monica.

The latter is particularly egregious when one considers that the U.S. motion picture and sound recording industries brought in a whopping $78 billion in revenue in 2003. With so much money flowing in, one has to ask why the GRAMMY Foundation feels the need to leech off of the federal government.

According to its website, "the GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate an awareness, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music in American culture from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of the future generations of the music professionals." The Foundation accomplishes its goals in part by funding research and preservation projects. This year alone, the Foundation is awarding $400,000 to various projects including "an undertaking to preserve recordings of American classical music by such luminaries as Aaron Copland and Charles Ives, and an endeavor to preserve and archive the Joe Glazer Collection, which contains some of the most important songs and speeches of the American labor movement."

Now music is certainly an important part of our culture, but last time I checked, it was not the federal government’s job to support every music program in the country. Our senators and representatives spend American tax dollars like there is no tomorrow, oblivious to the fact that the money they greedily dispense is coming from hardworking Americans. They act if they are not responsible for their reckless behavior, as if they are above accountability.  Unfortunately for them, no one, especially our gluttonous representatives in Washington, are above answering to the people. If they don’t shape up, they will find that out the hard way.

Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee voted in favor of spending tax dollars on the GRAMMY Foundation (Senate Roll Call Vote #215) on November 20, 2004.