Thousands rally against Dutch arts cuts - called "Left-Wing hobbies"

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    Nov 21, 2010 3:47 AM GMT
    Thousands rally against Dutch arts cuts

    Government raised taxes on films, concerts and plays from 6 to 19 per cent

    Last Updated: Saturday, November 20, 2010 | 3:34 PM ET

    CBC News
    by David Kutz

    Thousands of people across the Netherlands rallied in support of the arts after the country's new government announced a set of austerity measures that could make deep cuts into the arts.

    Musicians, painters and writers were among the throngs that gathered in cities across the country including The Hague, Haarlem and Amsterdam on Saturday.

    They're upset over plans by the new right-of-centre government to slash the arts by 200 million euros ($278.5 million Cdn) over the next five years. The reductions are mostly to the performing arts, with minimum damage to museums and libraries.

    On Thursday, the Dutch parliament also approved a proposal to boost sales tax from six to 19 per cent on tickets to cinemas, concerts, theatres and other cultural events.

    In Amsterdam, thousands gathered in the afternoon at a central square to listen to music and voice their discontent.

    "People are in shock," Canadian musician David Kutz told CBC Radio. Kutz plays tuba for the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, which will be disbanded. It is considered one of the best in Holland.

    In fact, the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Centre — which runs the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, a chamber orchestra, the world's largest pop and jazz orchestra, a choir and a library — is to be shut down. It would mark a massive blow to the country's classical music sector.

    Arts labelled a 'left-wing hobby'

    Kutz, who lives in Amsterdam, says people are also upset over the language the government is using against the arts.

    "They've seen this government, which is very right wing, has no concern for the arts — [politicians say] they find that it's a waste of money [and] they actually call it a left-wing hobby."

    The organizers of the protests on Saturday say increasing taxes on the arts only makes cultural things an "elitist pastime" and less accessible to those with less money.

    The country is now run by a right-wing coalition with the pro-business VVD party leader Mark Rutte serving as prime minister in coalition with the conservative Christian Democrats (CDA). The glue of the coalition lies with the far-right Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders, who has been vocal about his anti-Muslim, anti-immigration views.

    The cuts mimic those made in the U.K. in October, with the coalition government announcing it would hack spending by more than £81 billion ($132 billion Cdn) through 2015. As a result, arts groups face a 24 per cent cut in their funding.


    Read more:
    http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2010/11/20/dutch-arts-cuts.html#ixzz15svLwX7Q
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 21, 2010 5:53 AM GMT
    It seems the majority coalition has decided to make the cuts. I wish them well in their exercise in democracy.
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    Nov 21, 2010 6:33 AM GMT
    I wonder why the arts are facing a cut at the same time an increase in taxes of 13 percent on prices the public pays to experience them? Wouldn't that extra tax logically go to funding the arts and so prevent a cut in funding, or is it just a cash grab?


    -Doug
  • conservativej...

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    Nov 21, 2010 3:07 PM GMT
    meninlove said I wonder why the arts are facing a cut at the same time an increase in taxes of 13 percent on prices the public pays to experience them? Wouldn't that extra tax logically go to funding the arts and so prevent a cut in funding, or is it just a cash grab?


    -Doug


    It would seem to be a grab for cash to meet the overall budget the populace supports. Likely not unlike the cigarette tax in the U.S. that is also not dedicated to supporting medical costs for smokers, in a similar fashion to what you describe above.
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    Nov 21, 2010 3:21 PM GMT
    ElysianReport saidIt seems the majority coalition has decided to make the cuts. I wish them well in their exercise in democracy.


    Remember too that Hitler´s Germany was an exercise in democracy. The main argument for democracy is that the other alternatives are worse. Often democracies do very stupid things.
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    Nov 21, 2010 4:11 PM GMT
    conservativejock said
    meninlove said I wonder why the arts are facing a cut at the same time an increase in taxes of 13 percent on prices the public pays to experience them? Wouldn't that extra tax logically go to funding the arts and so prevent a cut in funding, or is it just a cash grab?


    -Doug


    It would seem to be a grab for cash to meet the overall budget the populace supports. Likely not unlike the cigarette tax in the U.S. that is also not dedicated to supporting medical costs for smokers, in a similar fashion to what you describe above.


    Hmmmm...one is a 'sin' tax, meant to deter the consumer as well as revenue for budgets, hence its broad acceptance. (regrettably, this means that gov'ts that collect cig taxes and use them to balance budgets are as addicted, if not more so, as those they want to quit).



    -Doug

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    Nov 21, 2010 6:01 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    conservativejock said
    meninlove said I wonder why the arts are facing a cut at the same time an increase in taxes of 13 percent on prices the public pays to experience them? Wouldn't that extra tax logically go to funding the arts and so prevent a cut in funding, or is it just a cash grab?


    -Doug


    It would seem to be a grab for cash to meet the overall budget the populace supports. Likely not unlike the cigarette tax in the U.S. that is also not dedicated to supporting medical costs for smokers, in a similar fashion to what you describe above.


    Hmmmm...one is a 'sin' tax, meant to deter the consumer as well as revenue for budgets, hence its broad acceptance. (regrettably, this means that gov'ts that collect cig taxes and use them to balance budgets are as addicted, if not more so, as those they want to quit).



    -Doug



    Here we call them luxury taxes. Unlike America we rarely attempt to prevent people from smoking. If they are that stupid.... " ". My take on this is liberals call it a sin tax so as to make it more palatible.
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    Nov 21, 2010 6:09 PM GMT
    Sin taxes are called that by those that view some practices, like smoking, as immoral (burden on society), which is a rather conservative view.

    -Doug
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    Nov 21, 2010 6:21 PM GMT
    wikipediaA luxury tax is a tax on luxury goods -- products not considered essential. A luxury tax may be modeled after a sales tax or VAT, charged as a percentage on all items of particular classes, except that it mainly affects the wealthy because the wealthy are the most likely to buy luxuries such as expensive cars, jewelry, etc. It may also be applied only to purchases over a certain amount; for instance, some U.S. states charge luxury tax on real estate transactions over a limit.


    ...which is a rather liberal view.icon_razz.gif
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    Nov 21, 2010 6:30 PM GMT
    Texas, a Republican State has enacted another sin tax, on pole dancing.

    Supportes claim,"is an appropriate exercise in state power — promoting public safety by discouraging the ‘combustible combination’ of drinking and live nudity.”

    -Doug