Here is the good news for fans of ethical presidencies: The White House has come up with a plan to let Hunter Biden sell his art without him — or anyone in the Biden administration — finding out who bought the stuff. The idea is to discourage potential purchasers who might actually be more interested in buying favor with President Biden than in embracing the creative visions of his son.
On the other hand, Hunter Biden's artwork is reportedly going to be listed for between $75,000 and $500,000.
Those are startling prices. Does anybody believe Hunter Biden — who has dabbled in painting, without training, for just the last few years — is creating such masterpieces that he has rocketed past generations of struggling artists to command such valuations? There are two likely reasons to spend more than a middle-class family's annual income on one of these pieces: You enjoy the kitschy appeal of owning a Hunter Biden original, or you want powerful people in President Biden's government to notice. Even with a nondisclosure rule in place, it's easy to think of ways one could let it be known that a purchase had been made. Oops! There's Hunter's painting in the background of our family portrait we posted to Instagram! Oops! We thought Hunter's painting was so fine we mounted it in the lobby of our corporate offices!
To its credit, the Biden administration has recognized that this is a problem, thus the new rules. That's clearly more ethical than the Trump administration, which embraced the presidency as a business opportunity both for the old man and his kids. But that's not really the standard, is it?
Adult children of presidents have the right to earn a living, of course, and it's probably impossible to do so wholly apart from their parent's fame and power. But Hunter Biden is already under scrutiny: The Department of Justice is investigating his finances, and Republicans remain eager to use his problems to tear down his father. The apparently inflated prices for his paintings will make another juicy target.
Real art lovers, meanwhile, should bide their time — you can probably get a discount on Hunter's paintings after his dad leaves office.