Friday, October 05, 2012

Add one seven foot tall yellow chicken to the endangered species list


 Don't be surprised if we soon see Big Bird of Sesame Street on the corner holding a sign that says "will work for pledges." Romney promised to eliminate funding to PBS. How musch does PBS drain on the budget? Even right wing source like MRC News bulletin shows that PBS is not burden to the budget.

Noel Sheppard
Oct. 4.2012
The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating. [...]

According to Corporation for Public Broadcasting they get about 445 million a year from the government. 

A nuclear air craft carrier costs more, the Nimitz class carriers are about 675 million. New Ford Class carriers will cost 9 billion. So for the price of one of the older style carriers each year we can  fund PBS. So why the big urge to get rid of it? 

Right  wingers have hated PBS for decades. PBS is the ny source of counter information that actually speaks with authoritative research and counters what Republican Presidents have done. It's the bastion of liberal knowledge so republicans hate it. Shows like Frontline and Bill Moyers are Just about the only journalistic efforts that really expose the corruption in American politics. Getting rid of PBS would be a major step toward controlling the news and information.

Nixon tried to cut funding of PBS in retaliation for WGBH of Boston and their failure to report favorably upon his campaign. One of the people who helped save it was Mr. Rogers (yes the really nice guy). Here are some quotes:

  • "We deal with such things as the inner drama of childhood. We don't have to bop someone over the head to make drama...We deal with such things as getting a haircut. Or the feelings about brothers and sisters, and the kind of anger that arises in simple family situations. And we speak to it constructively."
  • "We've got to have more of this neighborhood expression of care.  This is what I give.  I give an expression of care everyday to each child to help him to realize that he is unique."
  • "And I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear  that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health."

Rogers's address to the hearing was really moving  even the chairman commented on it. (see Video)

Alternative Soruces of Funding for PBS
a research document by CPB (summary p 45)

 A reduction or elimination of CPB funding will put a 63% (251) of radio stations and 67% (114) of television stations in the public broadcasting system at risk:
–19% (76) of radio stations and 32% (54) of TV Stations that currently operate at a minimum practical cost level, and would be at a high risk of closing
–44% (175) of radio stations and 35% (60) of TV stations have a history of operating deficits and would suffer reduced effectiveness or closure under increased financial pressure
These numbers are expected to increase over time:
–Under an optimistic scenario, an additional 3 TV stations and 2 radio stations would not be able to cover minimum practical costs in 2015
–Under a pessimistic scenario, an additional 5 TV stations and 17 radio stations would not be able to cover minimum practical costs in 2015

If Romney is willing to but PBS funding when it is inexpensive compared to other projects, how safe will social programs such Social Security Disability be? If he uses the opportunity to knock off a major source of information that might expose corruption in government, what does say about the kinds of things he might pursue as policy? What does that say about his commitment to an informed citizenry?


A Hermit said...

Canada, with a bout 1/10th the population of the US, spends more than twice as much on it's public broadcaster...which returns almost four times that amount to the economy.

"CBC/Radio-Canada contributed $3.7 billion to the Canadian economy in 2010, according to an economic impact study by Deloitte and Touche.

The study, commissioned by the CBC and released Wednesday, attempts to measure the value of having a publicly funded broadcaster in Canada.

CBC/Radio-Canada's annual parliamentary allocation is $1.1 billion and its overall expenditure is $1.7 billion. The Deloitte and Touche study estimates the public broadcaster has a substantial positive impact on the economy — well above its spending power — because it supports jobs and businesses across Canada."

There are some differences, of course; the US market isn't in danger of being swamped by foreign productions, for example, but some of the same benefits would still accrue there. If nothing else you'd get better news coverage...

Metacrock said...

Thanks Hermit. that's good to know. It never occurred to me Canada would have public broadcasting, but I should have guessed. I bet a larger percentage of people up there watch it too. There are determinately advantages to civilization. But hey, Texas has mesquite barbeque!