Economy & Budget

Mitt Romney did Big Bird a favor

{mosads}But alright, so a prospective head of state doesn’t want to spend money on public broadcasting. What could actually be done with the PBS funding or 26.65 million dollars a year ‘Big Bird Budget’? Relatively little. For 8.58 million per we could build 3.1, 3.1 Abrams main battle tanks. This would bring the total active duty Abrams tanks to 6,346. Maybe you would prefer we invest in Hellfire missiles. At 58 thousand a piece we could procure 495.48, 495.48 Hellfire missiles. Apache attack helicopters? Newest model Apaches cost 18 million. We could build 1.48, 1.48 Apache attack helicopters. New Ford class aircraft carriers cost an estimated 9 billion not counting research and development which cost another 5 billion. We are currently building 2 of these. The total cost per carrier with research and development factored in would then be 11.5 billion. Instead of Sesame Street, Mr Rogers and Reading Rainbow how about .0023, .0023 Ford Class aircraft carriers? Keep in mind we still have to outfit them with all the aircraft and missiles they are built to house on top of the building and research and development cost. Unlike The Count now that I’m done counting I’m not laughing. National treasures are going cheap these days. But you don’t have to take my word for it, numbers courtesy of the congressional budget office.

If PBS had it’s funding cut what would we really be doing? The plainest answer is we’d be sacrificing education for a minute spending reduction and a redirection of funds to things we don’t need. It goes further than that though. Characters like Big Bird are known across country and generations. PBS’s own figures show that 91% of households tune in throughout the year and 81% of the nation’s children watch PBS. PBS is more that just educational television, it’s something people can share and identify with. It’s part of the national spirit.

Oddly Gov. Romney may have done PBS a favor by threatening it during a presidential debate. PBS doesn’t make a lot of noise most of the time. It does its job but generally doesn’t grab the public’s attention. The level of focus Gov. Romney gave to PBS by threatening to fire Big Bird is more publicity than the network could hope to generate on its own. Big Bird has a higher approval rating than the president and he’s been around a good deal longer. Nobody wants to see Big Bird end up like his buddy Oscar. This unintentional bump should keep PBS in the public’s eye a while longer. Looks like I owe Mr. Romney some grudging thanks for that at least.

Bajor is a recent alumni of California University of Pennsylvania with a passion for politics and a strong sense of civic obligation.


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