Is Jon Bon Jovi the Key to the Supercommittee Tax Compromise? (This Is Not the FarmAid You’re Looking For)

James Coburn in Charade2
If only.

Maybe so.

As The Hill notes today:

A leading Senate conservative is taking aim at tax breaks that he says amount to welfare for millionaires, a line of critique that usually comes from liberal Democrats.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) released a report detailing special tax breaks for wealthy income earners that could give members of the supercommittee common ground for raising tax revenues.

And just who are these welfare millionaires? Oil executives and bankers, every last one of them, right? Well, not exactly. From The Daily Caller:

Wealthy celebrities including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Quincy Jones and Ted Turner have received federal subsidies, according to “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous,” a new report from the office of Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified several individuals receiving farm payments “whose professions had nothing to do with farming or agricultur[e],” says the report. These individuals include real-estate developer Maurice Wilder, a “part-owner of a professional sports franchise [who] received total of more than $200,000 in farm program payments in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.”

The report also says millionaires Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Ted Turner have collected farm subsidies.

“These individuals include Scottie Pippen and Ted Turner, respectively. Millionaires also receive state tax breaks on farm land. For example, Jon Bon Jovi paid property taxes of only $100 last year on his extensive real estate holdings in New Jersey that he uses to raise bees. At the same time, Bruce Springsteen received farm subsidies because he leases his property to an organic farmer,” the report explains.

Oh, super-rich artists.  I respect and admire your endeavors in sustainable agriculture, horticulture, apiculture and so on.  We need better ways forward with regard to farming practices and safe food supplies.  But subsidies for millionaire gentlemen farmers?  We, the working poor and middle class, paying for Bon Jovi’s bees? If there’s an Occupy New Jersey, maybe they can move it on over to JBJ’s Bees of Glory Apiary Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

Let’s keep railing at Wall Street and Congress, but let’s also rail at people who identify with the working poor and middle class on one level, have made zillions of dollars doing so, and whose agribusiness is being paid for by those same working people.  Talk about double and triple taxation.  We buy their music, go to their shows, and help fund their farms with our taxes?  And the they is people like Bon Jovi or, even more incongruously, Bruce Springsteen?  How can this be?  Bruce, listen to Nebraska again and get back to us.
Jon Bon Jovi on stage live at Dublin May 2006.

Disclaimer:  I don’t own so much as a Bon Jovi single.  But I’ve seen them in concert (and they were awesome, so there).   Bruce Springsteen is one of my favorite artists of all time.  Brucie, baby, I expect you to fix this.  Let’s get you on up to Capitol Hill for some hearings where you’ll say things like, “yeah, man, I don’t need that subsidy stuff.  Save that for the real working farmers.  Shit.”

Thanks, Boss.

Dear Music Industry: I Can Draw Diagonal Lines, Too

Okay, so the music industry is suing LimeWire. Sue away, Lars Ulrich, sue away. You should, I guess.  But you have to admit that this image, supposedly showing how much dough the biz has lost since the creation of Napster, is pretty convenient:

Isn’t it amazing that projected sales based on historic growth show none of the, er, historical plateauing you expect from any healthy graph and in fact see as having occurred here many times pre-Napsters and then NEVER AGAIN IF NAPSTER HADN’T HAPPENED.


Guess what, MusicTown?  Even if Generation Y hadn’t happened, and even if the youngest members of Generation X kept buying music instead of (okay) stealing it in college, the economic still would have gone in the crapper at least twice since then.  You’re not really saying that incing Napster early would have stopped the dotcom bubble burst or the downturn after 9/11 or the mortgage crisis, are you?

And remember how you abandoned all the Baby Boomers once you got your hands on their kids’ allowance?  Remember how you stopped producing Adult Contemporary, remember how you colluded with radio stations and sales tracking companies?  Remember how you gave us post-grunge? You’re saying that would not have happened?  Are you saying MTV and Vh1 would have kept showing your ready-made commercials instead of banking easy cash from reality shows and nostalgia trips (which ironically tended to feature the very artists you’d stopped promoting)?  For real?

Music Industry, you can do so much better than this.  Throw in some downward trends to make this graph realistic. I’m disappointed in you, frankly.

Napster or no Napster, there’s no way I buy seven albums this year, friends.  Radio is free, dynamic, and serendipitous.  I do iTunes, but almost only when I have gift cards. Last album I bought?  Neil Young Live at Massey Hall (digital download).  Before that?  No Line on the Horizon, physical copy.  Both were excellent choices and lived up to the album mystique.  But I knew that beforehand. Buying albums from new acts is, like, seriously committing.  I don’t know.  Though now that I think of it, I did buy a Taize album for someone for Christmas, and that was a good call.

Sales graph shenanigans aside, what do you think?  Are albums (even digital ones) obsolete?  Has Steve Jobs (not Napster) really killed the music business like His Royal Joveness says?