PBS cut would do little to solve debt problem
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 00:10
Mitt Romney said he loves Big Bird. He said he loves PBS. Heck, Mitt Romney even said he loved debate moderator Jim Lehrer.
What a darling.
But if Romney wanted to prove he could balance the budget, and get rid of the more than $16 trillion U.S. national debt over 10 years, like he said he would, it’s not just for the love of Elmo that Romney should have kept his mouth shut about making cuts to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
PBS itself, only received about $26.6 million from the federal government for the 2012 fiscal year, and the entire Corporation for Public Broadcasting received about $445.2 million from the federal government, or about $1.35 that the government has to spend per American.
When the current U.S. operational budget spends about $718 billion on defense, something Romney said he’d like to add to by increasing the Pentagon’s budget, there are plenty of places to cut from before public broadcasting, often referred to as the American classroom.
PBS has been the great equalizer for generations.
According to Station Research Group, a media station analysis group, approximately half of all Americans tune into public broadcasting at least once a month, whether or not they are aware.
While not all tots come from houses that could afford the Disney and Nickelodeon Jrs. and other premium cable services of the world, the familiar voices of Cookie Monster, Arthur and Mr. Rogers provided universal childhood experiences for kids around the world.
But it’s not just on TV that PBS helps.
Through partnership programs, the organization supports childhood literacy through tutoring programs in schools.
And it’s not just children public broadcasting helps.
In times of economic turmoil, public broadcasting brings the highest quality entertainment and information, from ballets and Pavarotti concerts, to interviews with diplomats and congressmen, into the homes of every individual with access to a television set regardless of socioeconomic status.
While public broadcasting has already suffered several monetary cuts during the economic downturn as individual donors have cut back, eliminating the paltry funding for the essential service is a foolhardy move.
Sesame Street could have taught Romney a valuable lesson if he had paid better attention, aside from not tying your dog to the car of your roof — don’t kick those who are already weak.
Divya Kumar is a junior majoring in mass communications and economics.