The Jazz.com Blog
September 22, 2008 · 5 comments
A trillion here, a trillion there . . . pretty soon it adds up to real money. But while politicians talk of bailouts, jazz.com's Walter Kolosky suggests a jazzier response to the current financial turbulence. Read more below. T.G.
I thought we lived in a free market economy here in the United States. (OK. I never really thought that. But I needed a good set-up sentence for this blog.)
It is now clear that if you are a large greedy financial institution you can seduce millions of people to make unwise decisions and then use that ill-begotten money to rake in even more dirty money off millions of other unsuspecting folks. You can pay your executives 100 times more than what they deserve. You can even give them exorbitant yearly bonuses for records of failure. You can cause a worldwide financial panic that leads to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. If you are a big money corporation you can run your company into the ground through avarice, corruption and mis-management. You can do all those things and still be expected to be bailed-out by the U.S. Government. (In this case the U.S. Government is really the American taxpayer. I donít remember being asked to help these industries. Do you?)
But why fight it? We jazz fans and jazz professionals should join the ďI want mineĒ club. Sitting on the sidelines is a loserís game. Since our government has decided it is now in the business of rescuing poorly run industries, I suggest it is time for the jazz community to get in line before other less deserving entities do.
My proposition is simple. Because jazz music, and therefore the jazz business, was born in America and holds a unique place in the history of the country, and indeed the world, it must be protected. The jazz community should be the beneficiary of some preferential fiscal treatment of its own to keep it alive and thriving. I find it hard to believe that Chrysler, the savings and loan industry, the mortgage brokering industry and the insurance industry deserve to be subsidized by American taxpayers while the practitioners and supporters of one of the few original art forms America has given to the world stand alone and vulnerable.
I am not asking for some great bail-out like for those huge corporations got. I am just asking for a fair shake for jazz fans. We have suffered long enough. I would suggest Congress pass a patriotic Jazz Stimulus Bill that contains the following four elements:
1) Jazz musicians should not pay any income tax.
2) Jazz fans should be able to deduct their yearly jazz purchases on their income tax returns. I have already taken a few moments to develop an easy tax form that could be used for this purpose (see above).
3) Establishments that showcase jazz music should be exempt from all taxes and alcohol licensing fees. In fact, those in the jazz music business should be given the same non-tax status Native Americans who live on reservations now enjoy. This status has allowed for the building of profitable casinos.
It seems that every big U.S. Corporation and its offshore subsidiaries receive huge tax breaks from the U.S. government. The super-pro-business contingent argues that these tax breaks allow companies to hire workers who then spend their earnings to prop up the economy by hiring low-wage workers. The fact this has never worked seems to be of little interest to the proponents of such policies. Frustrated opponents have been fighting this theory for years, but they are doomed to fail because the big money is on the other side.
Cynical digression: If there is one thing you need to learn in this life, it is that big money always wins in the end. Even if you think you have won against big money, you will find out later that you didnít. Thatís because big money doesnít like to lose and it will never, ever quit.
So, letís become big money.
4) Jazz musicians should join together, form a mega-corporation and name it Jazz.com, Inc. Then, in order to avoid paying any business taxes, they should hire ex-employees of Enron, especially accountants, to create various shell companies on overseas islands. (The Jazz Festival Island circuit would be ideal.) Then they should employ all their jazz friends, assign them vice-presidential titles and pay them outrageous fees, obtained from non-existent profits predicted in the out years, for their useless advice. A jazz lobby should be formed in order to influence the further lowering of the standards over at the SEC so that jazz fans can purchase tax-deductible stocks in the company and come along for the ride.
The more I think about this idea, the more I believe I should be named CEO-CFO of Jazz.com.Inc. I will require a salary of $15 million a year, a generous bonus plan and control of the trust fund.
This blog entry posted by Walter Kolosky.