Porn Industry: We Also Need a Bailout

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January 8, 2009 @ 16:11 UTC

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Many conservatives argued that bailing out financial institutions would be unwise because more companies and entire sectors would request a bailout; since the U.S. government bailed out banks, it could be difficult for it to refuse the requests of others. Additionally, many feared, one bailout could lead to another once Barack Obama would take office, joined by a Senate and House led by a solid Democratic majority.

Several months after the initial bailout, these fears seem to become reality; increasingly more sectors are demanding financial support. U.S. automakers requested it in December 2008, quite irrationally arguing that they too were vital to the U.S. economy. If the would fall, they argued, millions of Americans would lose their job and, therefore, their income. Now, in January 2009, the situation has become even more irrational, even entertaining: the porn industry has joined the ranks of bailout partitioners.

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request $5 billion in aid. “The take here is that everyone and their mother want to be bailed out from the banks to the big three,” said Owen Moogan, spokesman for Larry Flynt. “The porn industry has been hurt by the downturn like everyone else and they are going to ask for the $5 billion. Is it the most serious thing in the world? Is it going to make the lives of Americans better if it happens? It is not for them to determine.”

Francis said in a statement that “the US government should actively support the adult industry’s survival and growth, just as it feels the need to support any other industry cherished by the American people.” He added to CNN: “We should be delivering [the request] by the end of today to our congressmen and [Secretary of the Treasury Henry] Paulson asking for this $5 billion dollar bailout.”

Flynt himself also spoke out about the matter. He admitted that the porn industry is not dying, as such; DVD sales are going down, but Internet revenue is going up. Flynt nonetheless believes that his industry could use a bailout, saying: “This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex. With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind. It’s time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly.”

One wonders whether Flynt et alia are playing a game here, or whether they are serious. If the latter, the answer can be very short: bailout out the porn industry will be deemed immoral by the majority of Americans and it would make no sense economically, since the economic impact of the porn industry is limited. If nothing else, their request proves that the bailout rage is becoming increasingly ridiculous, leading “everyone and their grandmother” to ask the government to bail them out. No government should help all companies, businesses and individuals in trouble: capitalism and free markets mean that some businesses will go broke, they have to, in order to improve the economy as a whole.

Reading Flynt’s remarks, however, gives me the impression that he is, as Hot Air puts it rather well, “using satire to make a political point about the sudden necessity of private enterprise to receive public subsidies.” His goal seems to be to show the U.S. government and the American public that the bailout rage is running out of hand and that who are and who are not bailed out is increasingly decided based on subjectivity. 

If so, his publicity stunt can only be welcomed; it puts the entire bailout rage into perspective and it may even cause proponents of all kinds of bailouts to see that, perhaps, just perhaps, bailout out everyone isn’t the cure for the U.S. economy’s disease.

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