In search of mob money

A few lamebrains still insist the mob museum planned for downtown Las Vegas could be an appropriate recipient of some federal “stimulus” funds.

Maybe they’re angling for the free publicity that comes with serving as a punch line for just a few more late-night monologues.

What next — sit Mayor Oscar Goodman on a little platform rigged up above a barrel of distilled spirits, and invite folks to try and hit the target? Three tries for a buck?

The exhibits in the old Post Office building won’t just celebrate criminals, they whine. They’ll honor law enforcement, too! And other local museums around the country get federal subsidies — even a teapot museum in Sparta, N.C.!

Actually, once budget watchers got hold of the teapot scheme, it was scaled back so far that Los Angeles millionaire Sonny Kamm, who’d been planning to donate his teapot collection, backed out and stored his crockery in a warehouse.

But more to the point, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution itemizes the short list of things on which the Congress is authorized to spend federal money, and — unless someone wants to argue the mob museum will be an arsenal, a dockyard or an active federal customs house — museums don’t make the list.

If sponsors are convinced a downtown museum can make money on admissions, T-shirt sales and the occasional gold-plated Tommy gun, more power to them: Seek out a private entrepreneur and make him an offer he can’t refuse. (Too bad nobody can provide any of those autopsied aliens we all know have been stored out at Area 51 since the Roswell crash.)

On the other hand, if the city fathers are convinced such a museum will be enough of a boon to downtown tourism to proceed regardless of profitability, let them cough up the cash from the Las Vegas city budget.

Americans struggling to pay their already hefty federal tax bills in Vermont and Minnesota have no obligation to fund our local amusements — nor we theirs.

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