Killing Big Bird

President Trump looks to cut funding to government-subsidized art and broadcasting.


Next week, Donald Trump releases his new budget. It's expected to cut spending on things like the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Government has no business funding art. When politicians decide which ideas deserve a boost, art is debased. When they use your money to shape the culture, they shape it in ways that make culture friendlier to government.

As The Federalist's Elizabeth Harrington points out, the National Endowment for the Arts doesn't give grants to sculpture honoring the Second Amendment or exhibitions on the benefits of traditional marriage. They fund a play about "lesbian activists who oppose gun ownership" and "art installations about climate change."

The grant-making establishment is proudly leftist. A Trump administration won't change that. During the Bush II years, lefty causes got funding, but I can't find any project with a conservative agenda.

It's not just the politics that are wrong. Government arts funding doesn't even go to the needy. Arts grants tend to go to people who got prior arts grants.

Some have friends on grant-making committees. Some went to the same schools as the people who pick what to subsidize. They know the right things to say on applications so they look "serious" enough to underwrite. They're good at writing applications. They're not necessarily good at art.

Defenders of public funding say their subsidies bring things like classical music to the poor. But the truth is that poor and middle-class people rarely go to hear classical music, even when subsidies make it cheap.

Subsidies pay for art rich people like. Like so many other programs, government arts funding is a way for the well-connected to reap benefits while pretending to help the common man.

The Trump-hating left is incensed at the idea that government might stop funding the arts.

USA Today reports that "arts groups" will "battle President Trump." A Washington, D.C., lobby says it will mobilize 300,000 "citizen activists."

We can count on the media to distort the issue.

The New York Times ran the headline: "Why Art Matters." Of course it matters. But "art" is different from "government-funded art."

New York ran a photo of Big Bird, or rather a protester dressed as Big Bird, wearing a sign saying "Keep your mitts off me!" What New York doesn't say is that the picture is three years old, and Big Bird's employer, "Sesame Street," no longer gets government funds.

We confronted the article writer, Eric Levitz. He said, "Big Bird has long functioned as a symbol of public broadcasting … Still, considering Sesame Street's switch to HBO, I concede that some could have been misled."

You bet.

Big Bird doesn't need government help. Sesame Street is so rich that it paid one of its performers more than $800,000.

Levitz also complains that Trump's cuts (which include killing despicable subsidies for the Export-Import Bank and the White House drug control office) "would trim a mere $2.5 billion from the budget."

A "mere" $2.5 billion. That's Washington speak. It's another reason America's going broke.

It is true that Trump's arts cuts won't reduce the deficit, especially since he plans to preserve much of Obamacare and spend billions more on things like the military. But it would be a start—a dent in the foolish conceit that good things only happen if government funds them.

We will lose some propaganda if government money goes, but we won't lose art.

We might lose things like performance artist Karen Finley covering herself in chocolate, but most artists will keep doing what they do because they love it—and because sometimes other people love that work enough to pay for it voluntarily.

Let people pay for the art they really want instead of the art for which the government decides to make them pay.


NEXT: Trump Defends Due Process

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  1. Separation of Propaganda and State

    1. Yup Big Bird can be pernicious to conservative minds.

      F’ing snowflakes!

  2. Conservatives are dull and he artless so that could explain their under representation in the arts more accurately than anything liberals do.

    1. Obviously, if you prefer Shakespeare to Piss Christ you must be a dull and artless person!

      And that is why conservatives must be forced at gunpoint to pay for the kind of art liberals like!

      1. I wasn’t being completely serious.

      2. What if you like both?

        1. What the f*ck is there to like about Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ? Setting the issue of blasphemy aside (who cares?), it’s vulgar, nasty, and could be duplicated by a 14 year old in an afternoon. It is almost the antithesis of Art as it is almost completely devoid of craftsmanship and creativity.

          1. It’s really not any of that, but I don’t need to have this argument again.

            I find it to be an interesting and beautiful image. And there is a lot more to making it than peeing in a jar and taking a snapshot.

            You don’t have to like it and you certainly shouldn’t have to pay for it.

            1. It’s a profoundly adolescent smutty joke in dreadful bad taste. That anybody bothers to defend it tells me just how brainwashed we have been by the ‘Artists in service to Truth’ claptrap that has been in circulation since about 1815 (Paul Johnson’s BIRTH OF THE MODERN is well worth reading, on several fronts).

              IF he simply wanted to take a beautiful gold-tinged photograph of a crucifix, it would be a pretty, if unoriginal, picture. He had to tell the world in was in urine. He HAD to play ‘shock the squares’.

              If the political Left wants to look at the thing, fine. It ain’t art, but neither is My Little Pony, and I don’t want,to censor either. But declinngmto pay for is not the same as censorship.

              Which point you have already ceeded, I grant.

              I guess my point is that if the Left wanted public funding of the Arts, they should have stuck to pieces that the huge majority would agree were art. Instead, like Serrano, they wanted to pay ‘shock the squares’. And the trouble with playing ‘shock the squares’ is that it is a passtime of arrested adolescents with low impulse control. While there are exceptions in the entertainment industry, as a rule such people aren’t trusted with large slabs of cash.

    2. Nothing says art like a leftist political polemic. You called it dude.

      1. John, I was wrong not see it. ‘Piss on Christ’ is child’s play when compared to the spectacle of burning Korans, the caressing of rattle snakes, the drinking of the blood and eating of the flesh of a god, the ancient prayers, the costumes, the grotesque crucified man — is there a more artistic life than the life of religious devotion?

        1. Yes, you were wrong.

        2. burning Korans, the caressing of rattle snakes

          Abusus non tollit usum.

          the drinking of the blood and eating of the flesh of a god… the grotesque crucified man

          The God/Man died for the evils we did even while we were still doing them. He even died for the people who were actively crucifying him.

          Did you know that communion was based on an old Jewish wedding ritual? The groom would pour wine for his bride as a blood covenant to signify their marriage (that his blood was hers) and she would drink it. So, yes, metaphorically eating and drinking the body and blood of the God/Man who died for all of is important and symbolic.

          Now, I don’t expect the unbeliever to understand this, but the fact of it is that the God/Man came to Earth to die, he even said (long before his death) that those who follow him must “take up their cross”. It is the very thought of it all being awful, that the God/Man would die for us instead of being served by us, that makes it so powerful. He loved us this much!

          “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
          “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

          1. “[T]he natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

            There’s no point in citing Scripture on the Reason website. It is foolishness to most of those who frequent this website.

            Instead, I’d argue that religion is voluntarily funded by those who appreciate its value. If a person does not value religion, he should not coerced in a free country into funding religion.

            The arts should be funded the same way.

            1. Well, there are a few of us here, so it’s not a total waste.

              Also, some may not be on their way to perishing (just not quite there yet), and therefore it may speak to them. Generally, the more Scripture everyone hears, the more they realize they have to make a choice in the matter.

          2. I don’t think he’d expected to die a violent death. More like, “I’ll show them how to be a good Jew. But I can’t rig it, have to forget beforehand & give myself a fair chance of turning out rotten. But then afterward I’ll remember everything & see how I did.”

            Then afterward: “Wow, that really hurt! But at least I didn’t turn out rotten, showed them it could be done right.”

            1. “Looks like being a human being is pretty damn hard! Can’t blame a lot of them for turning out rotten, then. Also can’t blame some of them for turning out all sanctimonious & putting on airs about religion, like I did; it’s a fine line to tread. I just hope they didn’t catch on, because then they’d get confused. Maybe I’ll try it again some time & explain further; or maybe that’d just fuck them up more.”

              1. Also can’t blame some of them for turning out all sanctimonious & putting on airs about religion, like I did; it’s a fine line to tread.

                I’d bother responding, but Jesus already did, in Matthew 23.

                Good to note that Biblical illiteracy is more rampant in the unbelieving community than it is in the believing community. That just makes the people who are willing to study it more powerful.

            2. I don’t think he’d expected to die a violent death.

              I mean, if you completely ignore everything he said, then sure.

              I mean, if I completely ignore everything Lenin said or did, he was a pretty good guy.

              “Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.'”
              “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”
              “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
              “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”

              Nope, no predictions of a violent death. None. At all.

            3. Nisus Wettus: [a line of prisoners files past a jailer]
              Nisus Wettus: Crucifixion?
              Prisoner: Yes.
              Nisus Wettus: Good. Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.
              [Next prisoner]
              Nisus Wettus: Crucifixion?
              Mr. Cheeky: Er, no, freedom actually.
              Nisus Wettus: What?
              Mr. Cheeky: Yeah, they said I hadn’t done anything and I could go and live on an island somewhere.
              Nisus Wettus: Oh I say, that’s very nice. Well, off you go then.
              Mr. Cheeky: No, I’m just pulling your leg, it’s crucifixion really.
              Nisus Wettus: [laughing] Oh yes, very good. Well…
              Mr. Cheeky: Yes I know, out of the door, one cross each, line on the left.

          3. Now, I don’t expect the unbeliever to understand this

            Are you saying a non-Christian automatically does not understand the significance of communion?

            1. “[T]he natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

              Fully? Probably not. Somewhat? Probably.

              1. Do you think a non-Hindu can fully understand practices of Hindus?

                1. “[T]he natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

                  You seem to be fully proving what you’re trying to disprove. You don’t seem to be understanding that this is a reply.

                  Ask yourself, do I believe that the practices of the Hindus are spiritually discerned?

                  1. I’ve never been good at riddles, ace. Given what I understand form your response, you think that non-Christians cannot fully understand Christian practices since Christianity is a true religion that can be spiritually discerned, and that non-Hindus can fully understand Hindu practices because Hinduism is not a true religion and cannot be spiritually discerned since it does not come from the true God.

                    Is that correct or incorrect? It’d be helpful to give a direct answer rather than an indirect one, imo. It also comes off as a condescending way of trying to paternally “lead someone to the truth” which may not give a good impression to some people.

                    Furthermore, I’m not sure what I’m trying to disprove. I’m simply interested in your perspective.

                    1. Is that correct or incorrect?

                      Yes, with a few modifications. I believe that Christianity is true (not necessarily “religion” as you or the New Testament authors understood it) and that Hinduism is false. I am hesitant to call following Christ “religion” as most of the uses of the word in the New Testament are negative. I believe that “religion” is best understood as “man’s search for God(s) and salvation from [blank]” and what the LORD actually does is something more like facepalm at us and say, “No, I’m like this and this is how I’ll save you.” There are many times Christ said, “You’ve heard it said [A]… But I say to you [B].”

                      Furthermore, I’m not sure what I’m trying to disprove. I’m simply interested in your perspective.

                      Then I misjudged you, which can happen when communicating through text only ;). My bad.

                    2. Ace, I envy you. You’ve been successful delivering the Gospel message on a site rife with Bible ignorance and peopled with many eager to be in the club of agnosticism. It’s never easy to explain that huge difference between “religion” and Christianity. I wish I were further along in my walk and better schooled to attempt it myself. That you might have made one soul curious enough actually do a serious study of the Bible is what’s important. Belief, faith in, and commitment to Christ is the easiest thing one can ever do…..and the hardest.

        3. is someone suggesting that one taxpayer fund another’s desire to burn a Koran, or hold a rattlesnake?

    3. You’re such an idiot.

    4. One of the biggest funders of opera and ballet… KOCH BROTHERS! OMG! The conservative hate art! Aaargh!!!

  3. Sir Humphrey: [calmly] Bernard, subsidy is for art, for culture. [almost furiously] It is not to be given to what the people want! It is for what the people don’t want but ought to have!

  4. FACT: Rome fell right after they stopped funding penis statues.

    1. I actually saw one of those in Pompey, back when I was in college. Very inspiring, if not humiliating. The Romans were a bit larger than life in their art…

      1. Roman statues generally have fairly modest sized penises; maybe you’re thinking of Priapus or Satyrs, neither of which represented the Roman ideal.

  5. Defenders of public funding say their subsidies bring things like classical music to the poor. But the truth is that poor and middle-class people rarely go to hear classical music, even when subsidies make it cheap.

    No shit. People who think they should decide what everyone else ought to like need to be kicked in the balls at least three times per day.

    1. Rochambeau you for it.

    2. Not to mention that with Spotify and YouTube one can get nearly every classical music piece delivered to their home or phone instantly.

      What I am saying is the government should be buying people data plans with forced Schubert blaring 24/7

    3. Yes, the ones who spend time demanding that everyone should be loving the military, for example. To the tune of 600 billion dollars.

      But PBS at $100 million is the outrage.

  6. Next week, Donald Trump releases his new budget. It’s expected to cut spending on things like the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


    No, not good, very, very not good. Very, very, very bad. Donald Trump is President, the Chief Executive, not the Legislature, the body charged with control of the checkbook. Trump may propose a budget and he may propose budget cuts to individual programs, but he cannot – Constitutionally – simply release a new budget and say he’s cutting spending here and there. Whether a particular agency gets more or less funding for larger or smaller programs is up to Congress and if the President doesn’t like it he can eat shit and die because it’s not up to him to say what needs to be done, his job is to do what Congress tells him to do. You know, the whole “faithfully execute” part of the oath of office.

    You’d think a libertarian publication and a libertarian writer might catch that sort of mistake. The fact that the language betrays that they just breezily accept the assumption of “Trump’s” budget is truly disheartening.

    1. So suddenly we’re not blaming the President for everything his administration does?

    2. Everybody knows the president only proposes budgets. Is Day Without A Female making you cranky?

      1. Is that what this “Day” is about? We don’t get no shuger tonight in our coffee?

        1. sugar not “Shuger” Don’t know where the hell that came from…

          1. Huk’d on foniks werks 4 u!

        2. Nothing special for you, you still use your right hand

    3. where did Stossel say the executive has legislative budget power? He’s just applauding the notion of the feds not funding art.

    4. “Donald Trump releases his new budget.” So? Like Cato releasing one for fedgov. Just trying to influence Congress. What’s wrong w that?

    5. You’d think a libertarian publication and a libertarian writer

      LOL. This is where Republicans pretend to be libertarians

      1. To be fair there are plenty of socialists on here pretending (poorly) that they are libertarian.

  7. Excellent article. I am assuming it garnered no funding from the National Endowment et al, you know the kind that “captures community stories and that gives us a sense of ourselves and our place in the world.” And something something….

    1. My personal (fear-mongering cultural nationalism) favorite:

      If you get rid of the CBC how will Canadians be connected!??!

      The way I read that is: Shut and give me my money because I know what’s good for your cultural diet.

      1. If you get rid of the CBC how will Canadians be connected!??!

        Moose cock?

  8. “A government-subsidized artist is an incompetent whore.” – Robert Heinlein.

    1. Got any good-looking “government-subsidized artists” to send my way?

      (PS, watch out if they try to sell you ANY art containing eagle feathers or even fake eagle feathers, or any bodily parts of endangered Southern Pie-Bellied Slime Toad Warbler-Leeches, or anything like that, or ye could find yerself suddenly jailed by yer Compassionate Government Almighty…).

      1. Why would want incompetent whores? Personally I prefer my whores to know what they’re doing.

        1. Seriously. If I’m paying for it, they damned well better do it right.

    1. With an axe.
      Behind the barn.
      By Farmer John.
      Did I win?

      1. With a candlestick, in the study, by Colonel Mustard. You. Lose.

    2. Just think of the drumsticks! Each one could feed a family of 4.

  9. Doesn’t HBO own Big Bird now?

    1. Virtual slavery it is.

  10. Poor muppets. I guess they’ll have to scrape by on their profits.

  11. Art forms the molecular structure of my being and yet something boundlessly repulsive exists in the slime of bureaucratic muck that promotes the violent seizing of annual cash from the unwilling and disinterested to fucking support the dreamy cascades of apathetic brush poets.

    Respect on Glittering Images, Camilla, but no art has a right to exist under the umbrella of confiscation- no matter what its stratospheric acclaim potential.

    Government-endorsed pocket-picking begets pink kittens napping on imagination hammocks gently rocking in the sanguine breezes of social calm and a goddamn everything-is-superpeachy-keen, Little Miss-Mister Fucking Sunbeams? Fuck no.

    Fuck all seizing of moneys that don’t go directly into a lean tight-britches government. Art, news, info, poetry, music, bullets, grants, and the forever list of crap that justifies centralized wallet-raiding and the skin-crawling existence of its political Cosa Nostras can all go to hell.

    1. And, AG is in top form today.

  12. “Government has no business funding art. When politicians decide which ideas deserve a boost, art is debased. When they use your money to shape the culture, they shape it in ways that make culture friendlier to government.”

    There are lots of examples where this is not true. In the Soviet Union for example, the government funded (and celebrated) artists whose message was not friendly to government. Shostakovich, one of the premier composers of the last century. In Germany around the same time, the government held an exhibition of ‘degenerate art.’ It turned out to be so popular and drew such crowds, that Goebbels had to close it down. To this day, some works of art enjoy inflated prices and reputation on the strength of being included in the exhibition.

    The example used in the article, Big Bird, may be aimed at making the culture friendlier to government, but Big Bird is a character in a children’s TV show, not a work of art.

    1. There are lots of examples where this is not true. In the Soviet Union for example, the government funded (and celebrated) artists whose message was not friendly to government.

      You are such a tool. You point to the very epitome of nefarious state funded propaganda as evidence that state funded propaganda isn’t really propaganda.

      1. That’s “fool” with an “f”.

        1. Check Shakespeare, another government funded hack artiste. Fools not only got all the best lines, but they were also the only ones to speak the awful truth.

          1. Check Shakespeare, another government funded hack artiste

            Shakespeare wasn’t government funded.

            1. He wasn’t a hack either.

      2. Believe it or not, people still listen to the music of Shostakovich today. Not all the listeners are communists. Good art or bad art will live and die on its own merits, regardless of whatever the government of the time had or has in mind.

        State funded art is more than propaganda, although it may be that too. Whatever propaganda value a work of art has, it fades in time. It’s artistic merit lives on. The Soviet support of Shostakovich was one of the few things future generations will thank the Bolsheviks for.

        1. State funded art is a lousy ROI. Whether it occasionally produces something nice is irrelevant, what matters is the opportunity cost.

          1. The whole point of state funding is that it will take risks where private enterprise won’t. That’s how we got the Piss Christ, that’s how we got touch screens and GPS. They all have opportunity costs, even substantial ones.

            1. But now we have Kickstarter. 🙂

  13. Still, considering Sesame Street’s switch to HBO, I concede that some could have been misled.

    Are those muppets gonna f*** Khaleesi?

    1. I think you meant to say Snufflupaggus boobs. I forgive you.

  14. Dear Lefty culture vultures,

    If you wanted to keep government funding of the Arts, you should have stuck to traveling exhibits of established works, and subsidized performances of old favorites. Sending little care packages of hipness like the Mapplethorpe exhibit or Piss Christ around the country on the taxpayers’ dime was going cause trouble. Hell, you-all aren’t poor (a few of the homeless aside, by global standards, nobody in this country is poor); set up your own funding for the Arts and stop pretending that your pet exhibits are anything but attempts to stir up the squares.

    Face it, you are offended by the idea that the Great Unwashed should have any say over how their money is spent. You want to watch that tendency; it tends to lead to the guillotine, or to lots of elitists darling from lamp posts.

    1. Face it, you are offended by the idea that the Great Unwashed should have any say over how their money is spent….

      Correct, but Lefties are the mere counters to a Rightist culture that bubbles its lips contentedly on the soulless acquisition of workers’ funds for deployment of billion-dollah see-all kingdoms, rambunctious police states with wide moral visions to pursue, programs after fucking program to save society from itself… release the ‘on-and-on’ drone.

      The Left AND right are two fucking beggars scrabbling over the purse of a bitch they just clocked in the head.

      1. No. Just no. I’m tired of the moral equivalence narrative. Communism murdered one hundred million people in the twentieth century. There were (and are still) Right Wing monsters, but the biggest of them (arguably Francisco Franco) topped out at less than half a million, and there were fewer of them.

        I have scant patience with the likes of Falwell, but the political far left is the immediate threat. It is the political Left that drives the State.

    2. Mapplethorpe’s exhibits caused trouble around the country? I’m outraged!

      1. I don’t care if it’s Mapplethorpe or Norman MOFO’in Rockwell, .gov shouldn’t be funding teh ARTZ.

        1. Of course not. They should only be doing things you approve of with the money you give to them.

          1. Yes. And your point is….?

            1. Mapplethorpe’s exhibited photos didn’t cause trouble around the country. And if you really don’t want the government to spend money, don’t give it to them in the first place. All this whinging is too little, too late.

  15. Government has no business funding art. When politicians decide which ideas deserve a boost, art is debased. When they use your money to shape the culture, they shape it in ways that make culture friendlier to government.

    When I grab you by the throat with both hands and restrict your airway from accessing that precious molecular structure it so desperately gurgles for zero clever amounts of political uprightness, incorrectness, or superduper middle-of-the-roadness hold any such purpose as to why this is so.

    The immutable law of the universe is that humans require oxygen to exist and so it should be on a practically immutable level that aside from that which defends the existence of a free state and the efficient performance of narrowly-defined duties there exists NO common purpose or good that can EVER justify the confiscation of moneys from subjects under the threat of group violence, however thickly-veiled this bloodless myopic hell.

    Respect, Johnnie S, but if taxpayers had their moneys ripped from their paychecks every week and all the fucking pennies utilized within a perfectly-calculable continuum of fairness on the level of the gods and prophets this process in no remote fashion would make right or remove the abysmal and immoral governing act of hyper-feckless rampant taxation which has been the fucking norm for decades and decades.

    Humanity is ceding its evolution into the grinding precipices of political tomfoolery brigades.

    1. This message not brought to you by the NEA (but would be a bettet use of your tax dollars).

  16. I do believe, however, that it is within his prevue to not spend the funds even if appropriated…

  17. Also;

    “Killing Big Bird”. Yes, please. Chop his head off, preferably in the middle of an episode, and then roast that fat bastard. Get Elmo while you’re at it (but don’t roast HIM, he probably tastes as awful as he sounds).

  18. just before I saw the receipt that said $7527 , I accept that my mom in-law wiz like actually making money in there spare time from there pretty old laptop. . there aunt had bean doing this for less than twenty months and at present cleared the dept on there apartment and bout a great new Citroen CV . look here…..
    _________________+_+_+_+_+… ..

  19. I don’t have a problem with public broadcasting because I think it’s a trivial amount of money to spend compared with the good it does. With no concern about profit, there is a lot more freedom to create unpopular content. In addition, they are not beholden to advertisers. Large advertisers hold an unspoken clout over media content and will threaten to pull the plug on anything too controversial. There is a reason PBS and NPR have much higher quality news than fox and CNN. Cable news is shallow and sensationalist and concerned primarily with ratings.

    Maybe something equivalent to public broadcasting that was privately funded by charitable contributions would emerge without government support (a large portion of local NPR stations budgets are funded by small donations anyway). But I don’t think it’s a battle worth fighting. If you are concerned with waste of tax payer dollars look at entitlements and defense. Non defense discretionary is about 20% of the budget and provides what even libertarians would consider “core” functions of government. It should be the last to go.

    1. “But I don’t think it’s a battle worth fighting. ”

      But this is the stuff of culture wars. No battle is too small. Besides, a photo of a naked man still has the power to threaten people here. The same folks who feel protected by government funding of the military.

    2. Oh, please. Think. You’re saying that a broadcasting network that takes government money will be more OBJECTIVE?!?! Or maybe you thin that a news organ that has to beg, hat in hand, for funds will?

      No. The amount of money is not ‘trivial’. A recent appropriation was $445 million. Now, I don’t know about YOU, but I would be over the moon if somebody dropped $445 million in my lap.

      We aren’t going to get the parasites in DC to cut anything substantial unless we can get them to cut ‘small things’ first.

      1. All they’ll cut is small things so that they can ADD to the substantial things.

        You do understand that all these cuts are to try and fund an extra $54 billion in military spending, right?

        1. Oh,myes, I understand that. But they seldom cut ANYTHING. I think they believe that if any part of the budget actually gets cut (instead of having its usual increase diminished)’the sky will fall. I want to get them used to cutting the piddly crap.

          And as I’ve noted elsewhere, their idea of piddly would make me very happy if it dropped in my lap. I have been watching various smug politicians say ” it isn’t worth our time to cut that, it’s too small to matter” since the mid 1970’s, and I’m sick of it. It always makes me want to say, “OK, if $500,000 is too small to matter, how about YOU, Mr. World Weary Statesman, give me that much out of your personal fortune.”

          Get them used to looking under the governmental seat cushions for loose change, instead of raising taxes.


      Even Reason TV has a great answer to your questions.

  20. My Uncle Nolan recently got Infiniti G Sedan by working part-time from a macbook… go to
    the website………….

  21. “We will lose some propaganda if government money goes, but we won’t lose art.”

    Love Stossel

  22. Would Leonardo Da Vinci have gotten his start without the De Medici dynasty propping him up? Michelangelo? Hell, even George Orwell couldn’t have survived as a professional writer without getting his bread and butter from the BBC. The fact is that soft power is one of the most underrated projections of domination. Europe ate up the piss Christ. The debate about it in this thread proves its worth. Even if 99.9% of the funding goes to ridiculous projects and leftist morons isn’t it worth it for the chance to unearth the next Orwell? The free market certainly wouldn’t listen to him if he speaks against the narrative. Without art a culture will perish.

    The libertarian message I’m getting here seems to be that we should all give up trying to challenge ourselves, retire to our ranches and listen to Justin Beiber whilst chugging down cans of coke. Freedom. Whoo!

  23. Millionaires, billionaires, corporations, and foundations who want this can fund it themselves.

    Some things, like PBS, were from a bygone era where information was scarce?unlike today. There are a number of shows that would survive easily and quite a few that would disappear without loss. Let the free market decide.

  24. I’d love some actual data rather than anecdotes about who gets funded. I mean, if we’re going with anecdotes, I can tell you how little arts funding there is available in my rural town of 2800 people, and how we’re looking to NEA grants to help us reopen our local theater (the only one for 50 miles) as well as other placemaking projects which might help bring this town back. I know ours isn’t the only place looking to do similar stuff, and we’re doing it because it’s been successful in other places.

    The types of projects we do aren’t splashy; you’re not going to see them in the national media. Even the locals who benefit directly probably won’t know the NEA helped fund them. But they do have a demonstrable effect on these communities. This isn’t just about art. It’s economic and community development in hard-hit places where funding is tight to non-existent.

    Is this the only way to do this kind of work? No, but it’s the one available to us currently, and I haven’t seen anything from the current administration that suggests they’re even thinking about alternatives. So, if you’ve got a beef with the NEA, let’s talk about how to make it better and more inclusive of the full political spectrum. Let’s talk about how to get more of those funds to the communities that need them (oftentimes to preserve the traditional arts of rural America). But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater just because of a few high-profile, controversial projects.

    1. But..but think about how many $1000 hammers and $1300 toilet seats the strapped and decimated military can buy.

      Note how the outrage is focused on Big Bird while $600 billion on defense spending is whistling past graveyard territory.

      THIS is why libertarians rarely get taken seriously. No sense of prioritization of problems. Or a sense of scale. How many articles on defense waste will have to be done to compensate for one on Big Bird?

      1. How about we sh*tcan the procurement rules (written by Congress, natch) that DRIVE those absurd prices the Army pays for some things.

        Every time I run one of those stories down, I find a lot I’m not being told because it doesn’t fit the “wasteful Military” narrative. $700 toilet seat? It was for an airplane toilet, and rather than buy off the shelf from an airline supplier (which would still have been expensive, mind, because smaller production run things always cost more) Congressional rules make them draw up specs and put it out for bid, which means you end up paying for tool up costs spread over a VERY small run. And carefully measureing something that already exists and submitting those specs is illegal (although it gets done a lot on the sly, or the Military would be even MORE wasteful).

        Which isn’t to say that the Military isn’t wasteful. Years before the transition from Jeeps to Hummers, the Air Force (which hates to spend ANY money on trasport planes) had just finished acquiring jet transports that were,designed to securely hold two Jeeps, side by side. And then the Army changed the model of Jeep they were buying to one that was two inches wider.

        But, as a rule, any time you hear a Congresscritter loudly declaiming that the Military if wastefully paying $X for what should cost x?, you can assume that the REASON the Military is paying that much to smbecause Congress screwed up.

    2. Contrast the detail and scale of Stossel’s outrage at Big Bird with his on defense spending

      At least the president, like Paul, and unlike McCain, promises to fund military increases with cuts to other parts of government. But will his proposed cuts of things like NPR funding really be made? All have interest groups ready to bribe congressmen to keep their subsidies.

      Yup, because cutting “things like NPR funding” will get us to the 600 billion boondoggle.

      America’s going broke. But the president will not touch entitlements, the biggest threat to our solvency. The $608 billion military is the next biggest.

      Drumpf was right when he said he wanted cuts, not increases. He was right to point out that just five NATO countries meet the minimum spending they promised?two percent of GDP. Germany spends just 1.19 percent.

      Drumpf was right? Oh, “when he said he wanted cuts”

  25. Art is always left at stake, with government always willing to cut the budget for it, and finance something else. But I think that on the contrary, people are becoming more aware of the problem and soon there is going to be a big change in the system. Recently I ordered an essay here and I’m very satisfied with the work of this company.

  26. CLICK BAIT caption – BigBird and Sesame Street have been privatized to HBO – Cutting PBS will NOT “kill Big Bird”

    Sad that “Reason” Magazine resorts to out right lies to get clicks

    1. “Sad that “Reason” Magazine resorts to out right lies to get clicks”

      It’s only a lie if they knew Sesame Street was sold to HBO, but said otherwise.

  27. When someone says it’s only 2.5 billion it shows the problem of denting debts and unfunded liabilities that total 10’s of trillions. Kind of reminds me of the piece of garbage Harry Reid crying over cutting $20k for cowboy poetry.

  28. In 2005, Sesame Street was bringing in an esitimated $96 million annually. They need government funding why?

  29. Is there a breakdown on the money raised from the sale of toys, music, movies in relation to the funds received by the government?

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