Every band of people, from the most impoverished tribe in the Amazon rain forest living by slash and burn agriculture (although they would most likely not consider their way of life to be impoverished) on up has had stories, poetry, and songs. These things are universal, not least because they cost nothing but an active brain and a good understanding of the world to produce, yet in one of the most industrially advanced affluent societies on the planet, in the United States, all of these things have either dwindled into non-existence, like poetry, or have been co-opted by corporate capitalism in the form of the media industry and turned into tacky money making engines. TV and Pop Music. Yet when people ask the powers that be, in this case local state and federal governments, to contribute some money so that artists will actually be able to make a living while making their art the answer is that it's a luxury that society can't afford.
The consequence is that we live in an artistically impoverished landscape in a country whose grain output could feed a good portion of the world.
[On edit: what I guess I meant to say was we can put a man on the moon in the 1960s but we can't fund art, and can't fund grants for higher education, can't fund universal healthcare, and unions, oh my god, we can't afford unions because of the (theoretical) cost to economic efficiency that they bring.....I could go on, but I think you already know where this is headed]