Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Let's Cut The Whole Thing

The Bush administration has proposed cutting the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I have a better idea, eliminate it completely. Here’s why.
In my opinion it is not the responsibility of the federal government to collect taxes to compete with the private sector. In an age of 500 channels the quality programming on public television should find a home and pay it’s own way just like the rest of us. If it can’t, why the hell are we paying for it? Considering the burgeoning waistlines and related health care costs of a great number of Americans, it would seem the Feds would have a compelling interest in limiting assal horizontology, not promoting it with our tax dollars.
Do Jim and Jane six pack come home from a day at the office and wonder what’s on "Americas Ball Room Challenge" or who’s on Jim Lehrer? No probably not. In fact a lot of the programming on public television leans towards the highbrow. Again, so why the hell are we forced to pay for it? The demographics of the public television viewer would seem to indicate that they are more than capable of paying their own way, yet there they are like sows at the public teat. It’s welfare for the rich.
Ask any parent if they have any Sesame Street branded stuff in their home, chances are that they do. Where does all this money go? Do the kind folks at Sesame Street cut a check back to the American taxpayer when they sell their billionth Tickle Me Elmo? Considering you can’t swing a dead cat in group of children without hitting something Muppet covered, I find it odd that tax dollars are used to put Sesame Street on the air to begin with.
There is quality programming on public television such as the various Ken Burns series. But couldn’t his baseball homage find a home at any one of the fifty sports networks and couldn’t his Jazz piece find a home at A&E, BET or heaven forbid introduce actual music to MTV viewers? Almost any major network would have televised Burns’ Civil War. The difference you might say would be the advertisements. I for one would much rather have an animated gecko sell me insurance for 30 seconds than listen to some pandering amateur guilt me into a pledge for 30 minutes. Besides there are lot of specially sponsored commercial free programs on commercial television such as "Saving Private Ryan" last November.
The bottom line is that as long as taxes are involuntary they should be used to pay for genuine essentials only. No television program is essential, not even the Simpsons. National defense, infrastructure, ensuring the rule of law, all the things the private sector can’t provide, these are essential expenditures. Barney is not.

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