It Doesn’t Matter That Public Broadcasting Is A Small Part Of The National Budget
With the issue of funding for public broadcasting coming up in the national election between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama we’re seeing the usual push-back from public broadcasting employees and fans and, as in times past, most of that push-back centers around the idea that public broadcasting really isn’t that large a part of the national budget.
That’s certainly true. As the headline for this article from Fargo Forum reporter Ryan Johnson suggests, “Public broadcasting funding just drop in bucket of federal budget.”
But arguing that public broadcasting is too small a line item in the budget to be worth cutting is a bit of a straw man. Nobody is arguing that we can balance the budget by cutting public broadcasting. The point opponents to the funding are making is that, in a budget that’s running an annual budget deficit of over $1 trillion annually, everything should be on the table. Including unnecessary subsidies for broadcasting that amount to about a half-billion per year.
Do people overestimate the cost of public broadcasting? Maybe. But another misconception about the issue is the idea that public broadcasting would go away if the government stopped funding it. In the article public broadcasting officials admit that Sesame Street would still be alive and well without the subsidies, and notes that Prairie Public Broadcasting here in North Dakota gets just 17% of its funding from the government.
That sounds suspiciously like a business model that could be adapted to life without taxpayer funds.
Americans have plenty of entertainment and information options available to them. More now in this digital age than any other time in the history of humanity. The cost of producing and distributing content is lower than ever too. We simply don’t need public broadcasting any more, and while a cut for public broadcasting wouldn’t go a long way to balancing the national budget, it would go some of the way.Tags: deficits, national debt, North Dakota News, public broadcasting