Though no radically new points are made in the above linked, not terribly brilliant, article; and though you probably know I support public arts funding, I still thought I'd post the link, partly so I could respond to the rabid comment left in response to it. If you are interested, go read it and the comment.
I promise I won't do this too often. But I have grown tired of the tedious and often vicious attacks on any discussion of "public support for the arts". The language used is often hateful, "me first" and narrow, so much so, that it is often impossible to respond reasonably.
The "Noiseaux Recht" (my name for them) opposes any and all spending policies which are not purely market (or war) driven. Anyone or anything which does not survive purely on "popularity", or eye scratching mettle in vicious competition, does not deserve to survive.
By logical extension, Nature should not be included for any public support based on the know-it-all-short-sighted-political-generalities proposed by such one dimensional thinking. If the planet cannot survive on it own against strip mining, nuclear weapons, chemical fertilizers, human waste and oil spills, then so be it. Just don't interfere with the "freedom" to make money.
Boasting a similar predictable mentality, the commenter, claiming that "Darwin thought well of competition and survival of the fittest", seems to forget (or perhaps never knew) that humanity has survived and evolved through the millennia not because of the "dog eat dog" fanaticism he seems to think is the best thing since sliced bread, but because of the humanizing effects of the arts, including poetry and stories of the Bible, religious art and music, and secular arts and music through the ages; all of which were heavily subsidized, if not by a public government, certainly by kings, queens, dukes and popes, and all of whom, despite great wealth, understood and supported culture's value in maintaining and evolving great human societies.
However, while I believe there should be more public arts funding, I accept that orchestras and the arts need to adapt to changing trends in culture and desire. The culture of symphony orchestra concerts has remained stagnant for decades, and must change radically.
Many orchestras are tightening costs while increasing their social value by better connecting to their local communities. Despite terribly painful cutbacks, I think the Columbus Symphony is making headway to (hopefully) lead with a new model of efficiency and innovative development