The art of electoral politics

There is an art to this whole idea of electoral politics. Which is to identify what certain sections of the voting public desire and then promise it to them. Identify enough such groups, promise them enough, and you will be elected. A lovely example of which just in from the Australian Green Party, who are suggesting that there should be a living wage for artists.:

If the Australian Greens have their way, the nation's creatives will be more likely to be able to afford food, rent and maybe even heating under its plan for a living wage for artists.

In more detail they're really saying two things:

Given the insecure nature of employment in the arts, many artists will at one point or another in their career find themselves unemployed and in need of income support. During these times, work done to perfect their craft will increase employability in the future, but it currently goes unrecognised by the social security system. Furthermore, the requirement to spend time complying with extensive Centrelink mutual obligation requirements leaves less time to develop skills.

Time spent doing art will qualify as seeking work for the purposes of being on the dole and:

The Greens have previously announced that we will support artists’ incomes by investing $20 million over four years into a fund so that organisations can pay artists fees for works that are publicly displayed, loaned to a non-selling exhibition or used on other occasions when art is shared with the public.

Artistic work that people will not voluntarily pay for should be paid for by a compulsory levy on all taxpayers.

Even in urban Australia we don't think that starving artists who wish to continue to bludge their way through life are a significant voting bloc but who knows? Still, this is a good delineation of that whole art of politics thing. Assemble enough such groups and promise them enough and you too can get elected to dine off the taxpayers' cash while distributing it to those who vote for you.

One point we would make though, one piece of advice. The real trick is to do this efficiently, to only bribe those who might but probably won't vote for you rather than waste resources on those who will come what may. And won't most of the low end artistic community be voting Green anyway? 

Thus this particular plan is a waste of money. Even from the political point of view.