PBS/NPR In Panic: Trump Administration To Defund/Privatize

Currently, a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money is given to National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) each year. Trump plans to do away with that. The Hill has reported:

“The Trump Administration needs to reform and cut spending dramatically, and targeting waste like the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be a good first step in showing that the Trump Administration is serious about radically reforming the federal budget,” said Brian Darling, a former aide to Paul and a former staffer at the Heritage Foundation.

The Regan Administration attempted something similar in the 1980s, but was ultimately convinced against it. One of the cases made was that the government owes the American people access to news/information. Back then, there was no internet, only a few dozen televisions/news radio stations. They saw it as an actual public service (perhaps, rightly so). Today, however, broadcast television and FM radio is in a major decline with fewer and fewer viewers every year. After all, who feels like waiting for the 6 o’clock news when you can just hop on the internet and get real-time news and current events?

On the Bernie Sanders campaign trail, he loved claiming that Norway was better than America. Well, Norway is planning to eliminate FM radio altogether. FM radio and satellite television are dying media forms that have been kept alive and propped up by government spending and the bureaucracy, so isn’t it good that we’re pulling federal funding? If are profitable and do in fact have a strong audience, they wouldn’t need to be subsidized with taxpayer money.  Well, Hollywood doesn’t think so:

“Orange is the New Black” star Jackie Cruz said acting saved her life and she considers attacks on the NEA as unacceptable.
“It’s ridiculous,” she told The Hill. “We need art in our lives.”
Alysia Reiner, another figure on the Netflix comedy drama, extolled the power of entertainment to move the needle on important cultural and social issues. (From the Hill)

The irony there is both of those actresses *do not* have jobs in public broadcasting, they act in NetFlix shows (the private sector). So, two highly paid actresses are telling us to spend our tax dollars on a dying industry, just to keep it afloat. That does not sound like progress, that sounds like a waste of money. As the Washington Post reports:

“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized,” the Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports, “while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.” In total, the administration aims to cut spending by $10.5 trillion over the next decade.

So, let’s consider that. The goal is $10.5 trillion in saved federal funding while cutting back on the bureaucracy and opening the door to new media and networks that aren’t a strain on your pockets or the economies.

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