How much influence do Hollywood stars have on Congress? Apparently, quite a lot.
30 Rock superstar, PETA activist, board member at the progressive group People for the American Way and self-acclaimed lobbyist Alec Baldwin has been spending some time in the beltway this week pushing for more federal funding for the “arts.”
Baldwin tweeted on Tuesday: “Lobbying Congress 2day 4 federal funding 4 the arts. Those $s create jobs and tax revenues, raise kids’ test scores, build communities..”
@ErinHaust replied, “Y not pay for it yourself?” and “U have $$ & a commanding audience. Y not start a charity instead of digging ur hand into taxpayer pockets 4 ur pet project?” Haust asked, “R u saying only the govt can save the arts?” and “How does SPENDING tax $ RAISE revenue?”
These couple of tweets started a wave of activity from both Baldwin and Haust followers. Baldwin jabbed, “The Defense Dept is the pet project of rich Republicans. You got a problem with that?” and “if we don’t secure our cultural heritage, what are we fighting 2 protect? Big Macs? Video games? Shopping malls?”
Followers of Haust responded in kind with statements like:
“next time we get attacked We can send the artists into battle to protect us” – @Rightwingdharma
“Seriously? American families can barely afford milk & gas. Why not just write a check yourself?” – @TheMommyLobby
Baldwin was in D.C. as special guest speaker at the National Press Club luncheon on Monday and touted his meetings and lobbying activities in his speech. Calling out representatives from Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico and 3 other states for what he called “favorable” and unfavorable actions in regards to funding for the arts, Baldwin said that he was pleased with his success.
This begs the question, is it ethical to lobby representatives that are not YOUR representatives from yourdistrict?
Alec Baldwin, like many in Hollywood with similar views, fails to see the greatness that true freedom of expression provides. Hollywood seems all too eager to lobby, push, advertise and admonish tax payers into funding that which makes them feel generous and righteous, even when they could solve the problem with their own money.
Minnesota Senator and fellow Saturday Night Live alum Al Franken has continued to push for arts funding. He also refuses to the let the Buffett Rule die. Perhaps Baldwin could gather some of his fellow 1%ers and use the money they would have spent on the Buffett Rule tax plan to start a charity to expand the arts, sans strings, throughout the country.