Jane Chastain : Politically Direct

Big Bird: You’re Fired!

with 2 comments

On Monday, Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at cutting out waste in the federal government.  The ink wasn’t dry when the Washington Post trotted out Big Bird, the affable “Sesame Street” figure who has been used to blunt past efforts to cut unnecessary government programs.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-end-of-big-bird-hes-survived-the-budget-ax-many-times-before/2017/03/13/f5c1c94a-082a-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?utm_term=.c6a28dc55b29

“Sesame Street” has millions of fans and I am one of them, but this bird is a fat cat!  It’s time we recognize that his life and our lives will not change if we cut the funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NPR and all the rest.

It is misleading to tell the public it will be deprived of this beloved feathered friend should that happen.  Sesame Workshop, which provides a lavish abode for Big Bird and his friends, flew the coop in 2016 when it jumped to HBO (though its reruns still air on PBS) after making its creators, executives, producers and many cast members millionaires many times over, all courtesy of the American taxpayer.

“Sesame Street” now stands on its own, sort of.  Sesame Workshop is technically a non-profit and pays very little in taxes despite bringing in revenues of over $120 million a year, with assets of over $200 million.  That buys an awful lot of birdseed!  Enough to make a Fortune 500 executive blush.

So what did all those taxpayers who financed ‘Sesame Street’s” success get for their investment?  Zilch!  Oh, you could say that we got a wonderful children’s television program.  This is true, but since we put in all the seed money (pardon the pun) for this venture, shouldn’t we be reaping the rewards?

That’s not the way “government investment” works.  If we the taxpayers fund a business venture and it fails, we are left holding the bag.  If it makes money, we get nothing in return.

As for entertainment, there was a case to be made for public broadcasting when the act that created it was passed in 1967.  However, that time has passed.    Sixty years ago there were few local stations and reception was poor.   I live in a remote area but I have more television channels than I can possibly watch that offer an endless variety of programs.  Not only that, if something is missing I can find it on the Internet and watch it anytime, on demand.

It is time we cut the arts, public television, radio and all the rest loose.  If fact, it is downright un-American that we have public television and radio programs, especially those that offer political content, mostly from a left-leaning, socialist prospective.  That is nothing more than government-funded propaganda.  It’s our Pravda or VGTRK  (the All Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company).

It is true that very little of the millions we spend on public broadcasting goes into programs.  The lion’s share goes to local independent public television and radio stations and many, perhaps most, will go belly up without our tax dollars.  So be it.  The reality is we don’t need a public radio or television station in every little town.  They are a waste of money and many of their most popular programs and hosts also have gone out on their own because of outdated rules and regulations that prevented them from even mentioning things like podcasts.

The world has changed and so has our debt, which is now a staggering $20 trillion.  This is a far bigger threat to the welfare of our children and our country than climate change,  North Korea, Iran  and ISIS combined.

If we do not stop all this spending on wasteful, duplicative, unnecessary programs we will not be able to protect our country and its people, which is the primary job of the federal government.  Also, the tax burden will crush the next generation.

Other presidents have tried and failed.  The Washington Post pointed out that presidents as far back as Nixon and Reagan have discussed or proposed defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Bush 43 proposed zero funding for CPB in all eight of his budgets, but what happened?  CPB’s appropriations actually grew 14 percent under his watch and, yes, with the support of many Republicans in Congress.

CPB is just the poster child for all the wasteful programs that should and must be cut.  If you love your children and your grandchildren you will get behind this president who has pledged to cut the Washington behemoth down to size.  You may not have voted for him.  You may not like him personally, but you owe it to the young people you love to support this effort.

Written by Jane Chastain

March 15th, 2017 at 5:30 pm

2 Responses to 'Big Bird: You’re Fired!'

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  1. Absolutely right. In addition to the fact that the endowment for the arts has financed utter garbage produced by perverts, such endowments, and especially PBS and NPR are the opposite of a free press. The government should not have propaganda outlets paid for by us, and the “artists” and “entertainers” should try to sell their talent on the free market.

    William B Stoecker

    16 Mar 17 at 10:48 am

  2. Surely any conservative can point out the exact spot in our Constitution where such funding is allowed – NOT! Let the free market support programming that it finds worthy and finance it without government subsidies. The legislation that put this whole mess into being may have been a nice public gesture 50 years ago (though unconstitutional then as now) but times change and so does programming, public tastes, and a demand to return to our Constitution – without Big Bird if that is the way the cookie crumbles.

    Warren Rosenbaum

    19 Mar 17 at 2:40 am

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