Thursday, October 4, 2012

The War on Big Bird

Last night Romney boldly said that he would stop funding PBS. Today the Internet is all a flutter about possibly losing Big Bird. I was a little surprised at how vehemently people have responded to the potential defunding.

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If we have to borrow money to fund PBS, then I agree let’s cut it loose... at least until we get a balanced budget and the deficit under control. I see it the same way I view the space shuttle program that Obama shut down. When times are tight, you have to cut costs.

(Yes, I know it is only a miniscule amount of the budget... many many programs are. Yes I know there are other things that should be cut first, and I assume Romney knows that and will look at every program objectively.)

The whole current annual budget of PBS is $422 million. They have sponsors. They sell ads. They have donors. And Sesame Street in particular is known for its extensive merchandising. Licensees include a variety of companies which manufacture books, magazines, video/audio media, and toys using the characters and themes of Sesame Street.

Sesame Workshop, the licensor of these characters, is a non-profit organization. A percentage of the money from any Sesame Workshop product goes to help fund Sesame Street. Along with government funding the Workshop receives funding from a variety of sources, including charitable foundations, corporations, program sales, and product licensing.

I honestly am not convinced Big Bird needs tax dollars to survive. With all the books, toys, dvds, Sesame Street Live shows, Sesame Place, Sesame shows at other theme parks... I kinda think Big Bird is a big money maker. That dang bird is probably in the 1%. (Here is where half my readers Google it and come back to slam me :-)

But even if Big Bird did need government funding to survive... there are so many underfunded programs that frankly mean as much or more than Sesame Street to some kids, and at some point with a yearly trillion dollar deficit, we have to choose to cut somewhere... at least until we get back on our feet.

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What do you think? Will Big Bird rock the vote? Is he more important than say the funding of IDEA?

1 comment:

Steven DesJardins said...

Big Bird (and his buddies) made $46.9 million in licensing fees last year. I don't think he needs a government entitlement.

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