Friday, December 17, 2010

The State as Both Parent and Dealer

The "state as both parent and dealer" meme is familiar to anyone who has expressed annoyance that the government would subsidize tobacco and then tax cigarettes. Same meme with a twist seems likely in Kentucky, a state which presumably subsidizes a science curriculum in public education and is looking now to subsidize a creationist museum that teaches that science is wrong. You can argue the merits of this as being fair to all sides, I suppose, but I think it better illustrates the slippery slope of public subsidies in general:
The theme park will be called Ark Encounter and will be made up of educational attractions that highlight all that is wrong with the scientific method. The park will be run by Christian evangelicals who also run the Creation Museum, which is on the Kentucky-Ohio state line. The museum teaches, and the theme park will teach, a literal reading of the Bible that leaves little room for Charles Darwin. Scientists' estimates that the earth is really 4.5 billion years old are the result of a mathematical error.


Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) supports giving tax incentives to the owners of the for-profit park. He says he's doing it because the park will create 900 badly needed jobs and he fears that the creationists might move to Indiana. Supporters of the park say that tax incentives are appropriate because the park is not explicitly religious, but rather an alternate explanation of the origins of the earth.
FWIW, it is $35 million in tax incentives, which works out to a little less than $40,000 per job.

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