Friday 02 Dec 2016

Endangered Species
AJ Robinson

These days, what with all the federal budget deficits, there’s plenty of talk on both sides of the political fence about saving money. A recent comment by Mitt Romney compelled me to toss in my humble opinion. He said that, despite the fact he likes Big Bird, he would de-fund the PBS TV show, “Sesame Street,” in order to cut federal spending. I was struck by that statement. Really, he would cut federal funds to that show because of our massive deficit?

Let’s do a little math, shall we?

The federal government gives, at this time, about $400 million to Public Television. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Mind you, that’s the government contribution to all programs on PBS. The actual show “Sesame Street” costs about $20 million per year to produce and not all the money comes from the government. There are corporate sponsors, private donations, and licensing fees for the various products tied into the show. So, if the government cuts its contribution to the show, just how much would it save?

Not much!

Where could the government save a bit more? Well, there is that massive, billions per year, payment that the oil companies get. Let’s see, if the government cut that subsidy by ONLY one billion, thus, insuring those fat cats still get plenty of our money, “Sesame Street,” could be completely funded for, wait for it, 50 years!

Seems like a pretty good investment, if you ask me. Even if you put aside the great things the show does for kids, it is also a job producer; isn’t that something the Republicans are always clamoring for? They complain “Sesame Street” is too liberal and is indoctrinating our kids with left-wing propaganda. I disagree, but that’s another issue. The point is: that tiny investment yields a good show, jobs, and numerous products for our consumer-driven culture. Even if you hate the message of the show, you have to admit that the toys, games and other products inspired by it have been a boon to our economy.

Anyone remember “Tickle Me Elmo?” That toy was the hottest thing since the “Cabbage Patch Doll” and sold millions.

Althougy I’m all in favour of trimming the fat from the federal budget, the fat needs to be meaningful. The federal budget for 2012 was $3.796 trillion! Again, do the math; the government’s total outlay to all of PBS represents 0.01% of the budget. This is the fat Romney wants to trim?

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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