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Mitt Romney Wants To End Big Bird

Did you watch the debate on Wednesday night?  Did you see where Mitt Romney told people that one of the ways he would reduce the Federal Deficit was to make cuts to programs like PBS.

Mitt Romney said “I am going to stop the subsidies to PBS…I like PBS, I love Big Bird…

Mitt Romney’s statement about PBS and Big Bird started a firestorm of comments of people asking why PBS, why Big Bird.  Well Big Bird and Sesame Street cost money.  You have to pay the Muppets, those little furballs don’t work for free.  Actually PBS (which also includes National Public Radio) gets about $445 Million dollars from the Federal Government every years.  According to a PBS Statement released on Thursday PBS stated

“For every $1.00 of federal funding invested, they raise an additional $6.00 on their own”

PBS is an investment in our future.  The high quality programing on PBS is watch by over 80% of children between 2-8. I remember watching Sesame Street when I was kid, and now I watch Sesame Street with my children.

For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission – harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.

So now the people are up in arms to defend Big Bird, on a America’s most beloved TV characters.  I do agree we have to deal with the National Debt, but cutting PBS will not even make a dent in the debt. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, had tweeted the best comment of all,

You do not have to be an astrophysicist to know that the pennies it cost to fund PBS and NPR will not solve our budget problems.

(below the graphic is the full PBS statement referred to above)

Full Statement from PBS on Presidential Debate

ARLINGTON, VA – October 4, 2012 – We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation. We think it is important to set the record straight and let the facts speak for themselves.

The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.

A national survey by the bipartisan research firms of Hart Research and American Viewpoint in 2011 found that over two-thirds of American voters (69%) oppose proposals to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting, with Americans across the political spectrum against such a cut.

As a stated supporter of education, Governor Romney should be a champion of public broadcasting, yet he is willing to wipe out services that reach the vast majority of Americans, including underserved audiences, such as children who cannot attend preschool and citizens living in rural areas.

For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission – harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.

Over the course of a year, 91% of all U.S. television households tune in to their local PBS station. In fact, our service is watched by 81% of all children between the ages of 2-8.

Each day, the American public receives an enduring and daily return on investment that is heard, seen, read and experienced in public media broadcasts, apps, podcasts and online – all for the cost of about $1.35 per person per year.

Earlier in 2012, a Harris Interactive poll confirmed that Americans consider PBS the most trusted public institution and the second most valuable use of public funds, behind only national defense, for the 9th consecutive year.

A key thing to remember is that public television and radio stations are locally owned and community focused and they are experts in working efficiently to make limited resources produce results. In fact, for every $1.00 of federal funding invested, they raise an additional $6.00 on their own – a highly effective public-private partnership.

Numerous studies — including one requested by Congress earlier this year — have stated categorically that while the federal investment in public broadcasting is relatively modest, the absence of this critical seed money would cripple the system and bring its services to an end.

Learn more at: http://valuepbs.org/.

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About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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