Monday, March 20, 2017

Killing Big Bird And Meals On Wheels?

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President Trump, as promised during the campaign, is cutting the out of control spending in our federal budget.

In the noise of rage over the weekend, we heard the declaration that Trump is killing Big Bird, because he is de-funding public broadcasting---and he is trying to kill grandma because he is de-funding meals on wheels.

To all of us who love Big Bird and grandma---I've got good news.

P. Gardner Goldsmith wrote an article Friday about Sesame Street in particular, and Public Broadcasting in general. His article titled, "Trump's Proposal to Defend PBS, NEH, NEA Sees Left Throw Childish Fits," gives a brief history of the massive amounts of money Sesame Street, Dragon Tales, 3-2-1 Contact, Ghost Writer and Electric Company have made over the years.

Example: Way back in 1984, Sesame Street alone was making $200 million per year off just it's licensing to toy companies, etc.

However, PBS and its related organizations are loosing massive amounts of money each year. PBS has no shortage of executives who should be more capable, however, most of the executives have backgrounds in community relations and fundraising, not television.

PBS has been receiving about $400 million each year from tax payers to help "make ends meet," but they don't meet---they never meet...and that's the problem.

Candidate Mitt Romney suggested cutting back funding for PBS and was immediately accused of trying to "kill" Big Bird.

Here we go again.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, says those who oppose President Trump's proposal to eliminate all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting face a "hard sell" convincing the president to do otherwise.

Here's why.

In fact, here's 5 reasons why.

1. They don't need the money.

In 2011, James O'Keefe's project,  Veritas, secretly recorded senior NPR executives meeting with a potential donor admitting the NPR "would be better off in the long run without federal funding." NPR said that it "receives less than 2% of its budget directly from Corporation for Public Broadcasting" anyway---and that they have been anticipating that possibility for a long time.

2. Big Bird Doesn't Work for Public Broadcasting Anymore.

In 2015, Sesame Street's production company signed a deal with HBO. The first HBO shows started airing in 2016, and only aired 9 months later on PBSD for children from less affluent households.

3. NPR and PBS is biased in favor of secular progressivism and Left wing politics.

Why should the American people who are not politically liberal support television that is often in direct conflict with their own personal beliefs? Using tax payer money to support one-sided news coverage is an abuse of tax payers.

4. PBS no longer actually produces worth while program content.

Steven Titch noted in The Hill:

It has superb shows, such as Downton Abbey, Sherlock and Fronline. But as Sesame Street's defection demonstrated, most of these programs could easily find a place on commercial cable and streaming outlets. The remainder of PBS programming approacxhes self-parody: examples such as Golf's Grand Design, Great Old Amusement Parks and Andre Rieui: Waltzing Forever.
The argument for public television---that offers an exclusive place for equality content and entertainment that would be too narrow, too marginal and too unprofitable for commercial TV---is risible in an age of hundreds of cable channels and near-unlimited streaming.

5. For decades conservatives have been promising taxpayers they would cut funding to Public Television for the reasons above.

Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution of 1994 made the promise, but didn't do it. When the Tea Party got control of the House in 2010, they promised, but failed again. This time, Republicans control both houses of Congress. We'll see.

Public Broadcasting will use this to raise even more funds. By all indicators, Public Broadcasting will be just fine. And Big Bird is doing well, very well over at HBO.

About grandma and meals on wheels:

A number of news organizations have been reporting that Trump's budget cuts will cut funds from Meals on Wheels because it cuts the Community Development Block Grants program.

There is only a "grain"---a very small grain of truth in those stories, but local and national news people love to tell the story, because it creates concern and panic among older citizens.

Even the Washington Post, no friend of President Trump, conservatives, or the truth for that matter, admits only a very few local Meals on Wheels programs are partially funded by the CBDG.

The media has also reported that Budget Director Mulvaney has said Meals on Wheels doesn't work. That too is not true.

Mulvaney actually said the program---CBDG, that partially funds a few Meals on Wheels programs, isn't working.

Walter Olson, in an op-ed for National Review says funds given to CBDG regularly "go into pork-barrel and business-subsidy schemes with a cronyish flavor, and that's the reason the program has been a prime target for budget cutters for decades."

Big Bird and all the folks who depend on Meals on Wheels are going to be just fine.

Budget director Mulvaney says of the president's intention to bring government spending under control: "It's a simple message. I put myself in the shoes of that steelworker in Ohio, the coal-mining family in West Virginia, the mother of two in Detroit, and I'm saying, okay, I have to go ask these folks for money, and I have to tell them where I'm going to spend it."

"Can I really look them in the eye and say, look, I want to take money from you, and I want to give it to the Corporation of Public Broadcasting?"

"That's a hard sell," he says.

Indeed it is. It is one that can no longer be defended by clear thinking conservatives.

There is plenty of money in the private sector to more than fund PBS with donations.

And if the government would take its foot off the neck of the Christian church, and the church would "be the church" in our culture, grandma would also be just fine.

Our institutions, unfortunately, have become dependent on government. Dependency is the last marker before a civilization slips into bondage.

Our country has been given an opportunity to break the bonds of dependency---I pray we will, under God, seize the moment and continue to be---yes, I'm going to say it---a city on a hill.

Be Informed. Be Aware. Be Alert. Be Vigilant. Be Hopeful. Be Prayerful.