November 10, 2008 4:55PM

Simon? Yes. Garfunkel? Hmm…

The good people of Austin, Texas, have grown weary of their reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. How else to explain the city government’s creation of a Live Music Task Force

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Austin became a live‐​music hot spot without a government task force. Any bets on how long live music will survive now that they’ve got one?

“But wait,” you might object, “how would the task force destroy something that it exists to promote?”

I’m sure the Task Force is working on many fronts. But one obvious strategy might be to have the government decide who is a “musician” and who is not. You know, for the purpose of doling out government health benefit to musicians. Hey, if the government’s going to be passing out benefits, it has to decide who makes the cut.

And the Task Force will face some tough decisions. Right now, musicians:

Must provide 3 references who will be contacted to corroborate that applicant is a working musician (examples: club owners, booking agents, record labels, etc.)

Sounds reasonable. But is that fair to this guy just because he can’t get a gig?

Rhymin’ Simon should meet anyone’s definition. But what about GarfunkelJohn, Paul, George … yes, yes, yes. But Ringo?? The Blue Öyster Cult is a no‐​brainer. But what about this guy:

Does the government have any business deciding who is a musician? Even if it did, would we want it to? Is that really going to improve live music in Austin? Or the quality of health care?

Does it even occur to anyone to ask these questions?