Bailing out the porn industry

by Rick Herschlag

The porn bubble has burst. What for decades had been a growth industry has now gone limp. Popped a rod. Deflating as it may seem, millions of us saw it coming.

You know the next part like a bad movie. There will be a bailout involving obscene amounts of money. But we really have no choice. That is to say, it’s a compulsion. The prospect of losing thousands of part-time, under-the-table jobs in the San Fernando Valley is a frightening one. According to one expert, hundreds of idle garages in Burbank, Glenside, and Canoga Park could bring the entire economy of Los Angeles County to its knees.

Statistics provided by the Commerce Department indicate the U.S. porn business is in a deep hole. It wasn’t exactly a quickie. The industry has been screwing around for years. The six or seven standard positions we have grown accustomed to are no longer sufficient if we are to compete as a 21st century exporter of smut. While we were lying on our backs, the Chinese have been busy writing, directing, editing, and producing more innovative porn, though recently some of it has been recalled. Germany and Spain have instituted tax incentives for sustainable, or “green” porn. The Brazilians have done away with tan lines. The French have practically installed a former supermodel as titular head of state.

It’s time to retool. Like its fans, the porn industry needs a stimulus package. Unlike adult film stars, we must act. While there is no doubt many Americans will be offended by dozens of middle-aged, toupee-wearing, cigar-smoking fat cats pulling up to the Capitol Building in pink Cadillacs with their hand out, the question is not whether the pornography industry may have grown overleveraged and out of touch. The real question is how many jobs, homes, and plastic surgery practices will be lost if we do not infuse the adult entertainment industry with countless billions in cash. What is the ripple effect of just one group sex scene never shot poolside at a seedy apartment complex on Mulholland Drive? What is the trickle down effect of a golden shower that never happens?

As do so many sectors of our sophisticated economy, the porn industry needs an injection of liquidity. Critics, however, warn of the ill effects of socializing porn, pointing to the poor production values of Eastern Bloc skin flicks shot during the Cold War. They argue that government knows very little about porn and should stick to what they do know—soliciting pages, hooking up in airport bathrooms, hiring thousand-dollar-an-hour prostitutes, and orchestrating mass-scale sexual humiliation of war prisoners.

Proponents argue that this is not a bailout but rather a guaranteed loan with strings. It is, they say, more about bonds and less about bondage. Ultimately, the rare opportunity for taxpayers to own a piece of the vast network of dens, basements, webcams, and DVD label makers that is the American porn industry might make the entire proposition easier to swallow.

For now, the porn bailout faces an uphill climb in the House, and in the Senate several key conservative members of the Republican Conference have threatened to bail out straight porn only. The debate promises to reach a climax in the coming days, and many hope Congress can slip it in before the holidays.

Times are hard, and they’re going to get harder. As loyal Americans, we must bend over backwards. We must ask ourselves if we are prepared to live in a second-rate porn country. Perhaps most importantly, can we afford as a nation to pick and choose among industries to rescue? Credit default swaps, wife swaps—it’s all the same in the end.

6 comments on “Bailing out the porn industry

  1. Laughed my ass off on that one. Best article ever on S&R. I’ve gotta link this to my blog so my trader buddies can read this.

    Jeff

  2. Pingback: Posts worth reading | TraderGav.com

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