The nominee has never equivocated on his pledge to review every significant government expenditure by posing an uncomfortable question: is this project so important that it’s worth borrowing more money from China in order to pay for it?
In the case of PBS, the answer ought to be an obvious no. Only a tiny proportion of the cost of operating the nation’s elaborate system of public broadcasting (with more than 350 independent stations across the country) comes from federal funding. The $445 million appropriated by Congress for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 2012 amounts to less than 18 percent of the estimated budget for the whole of America’s system of public TV and radio. In the case of the hugely popular Sesame Workshop, for instance, less than 8 percent of the yearly budget of $170 million comes from governmental sources, with the great bulk supplied by licensing agreements that produce toys and games and stuffed animals featuring all those beloved characters.
It’s grimly amusing that while the left (quite rightly) regularly points to “corporate welfare” programs as wrong, they are are so bitterly opposed to removing a subsidy from Sesame Street – which while not-for-profit has some very lucrative income streams.