House Republicans vote to slash PBS funding by 23%.

The tried to do this last year and it looks like they’re going to try it again this year:

On a party-line vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees health and education funding approved the cut to the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes money to the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. It would reduce the corporation’s budget by 23 percent next year, to $380 million, in a cut that Republicans said was necessary to rein in government spending.

Republicans are looking for ways to save taxpayers’ dollars, amid fiscal conservatives’ concerns over the budget deficit.

“We’ve got to keep our priorities straight,” said Representative Ralph Regula , an Ohio Republican who is chairman of the appropriations panel that approved the cut. “ You’re going to choose between giving a little more money to handicapped children versus providing appropriations for public broadcasting.”

Gotta love the Republicans. When it’s big business, the rich, or the War!OnTerror! they can’t spend the money fast enough and when they finally decide to start cutting spending they go after programs that are already paltry in comparison to begin with.

“Dick Cheney and the Republicans have decided to go hunting for `Big Bird’ and `Clifford the Big Red Dog’ once again,” said Representative Edward J. Markey , a Malden Democrat who led the successful effort to reverse the cuts last year. “PBS is right at the top of their hit list—always has been and always will be, until they can destroy it.”

Most of the savings would come by eliminating subsidies for educational programs and grants for a number of technological upgrades.

Of course PBS is accused of having a serious liberal bent so it probably shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the Republicans want to destroy it. They’d rather their constituents remain ignorant sheep so anything that promotes education has got to go! But hey, they’re just trying not to spend more than last year, right? Right?

Uh… not really:

The cuts are included in a $142 billion spending bill covering domestic social programs in health, education, and labor. Even with the cuts to public broadcasting, the bill would spend $1 billion more in total than is being spent this year on those programs, and $4 billion more than President Bush had requested for those areas of spending. Student loans and research grants to local hospitals are among the areas that would see funding boosts.

If they’re already over by $1 billion dollars from last year anyway then what difference is another $115 million going to make? Not a damned bit of difference. It’s not about saving money, it’s all about trying to gut an institution they can’t stand.

Hat tip to Think Progress.

31 thoughts on “House Republicans vote to slash PBS funding by 23%.

  1. How about they dump the International Space Station?  Or, the ‘trip to Mars?’  Or even, the next time one of them wants to invade someplace, just say no?

    Literally millions of people each year listen to NPR.  How many people will drive across the ‘bridge to nowhere’?

    If NPR were like FOX news, they’d need extra rooms to store all the federal money.

  2. Gee, if only they could find the nine billion they lost in Iraq marked for reconstruction. Apparently they can slash PUBLIC Broadcastings funding by a quarter but can’t find enough Republicans in Congress that give enough of a shit about NINE BILLION dollars that were “misappropriated”!

    Okay kids, todays word is corruption and todays number is nine billion.

  3. How about they dump the International Space Station?  Or, the ‘trip to Mars?’

    Wow now, hold on.

    The space program is the one thing I think we need to dump more and more funding into. Let’s face it, no matter how we conserve or what we do here, earth itself is a non renewable resource. Humankind is eventually going to become to big, we’re eventually going to use up too much, we might get struck by a stray asteroid or our sun may go supernova sooner than we think.

    Sooner or later, we’re going to have to get off this rock and if we’re not ready, we’re fucked.

    None of which has piss all to do with PBS funding, by the way. I love PBS, it’s where I first discovered Doctor Who and Red Dwarf among many other favorites. But if we need to get money from someplace, let’s not do it at the expense of the space program.

  4. Does anyone have the stats for how much the administration gives to “abstinence only” sex ed programs and anti-abortion literature in poor countries?  I have afeeling it great elipses what they want to cut for PUBLIC BROADCASTING servuces used by millions every day.

  5. I’ve got a great idea. Condom machines in every public building with the proceeds going to PBS. We’d be fucking for better TV. We could even have a fuckathon…..

  6. How about they dump the International Space Station?  Or, the ‘trip to Mars?’

    Even before I saw KPG’s post I thought NO.

    There is a depressing trend to what Jeremy Clarkson identified as using baby incubators as a currency. i.e. every time a space shuttle is launched people will say ‘they should have spent the money on baby incubators/replacement hips/education’ etc etc.

    If European Monarchs had said the equivalent (‘Do you know how many quail eggs I can buy for that, Mr Columbus’) the world would be a different place. 

    It is a depressing trend since the 80’s that the reason for things to exist is to make profit.  Argue for the aesthetic, or to expand knowledge, and you are treated like an idiot. The pursuit of such was one of the contributions of Christianity to Europe.  Now ‘Greed is Good’.

    PBS is one of those things under attack.  In Britain the BBC is funded by a tax called the TV licence- every home with a TV must pay £130 (about $200) p.a.  For that you can have as many as you like (in multi occupancy buildings it is one per dwelling).

    I understand that to be taxed on owning a TV seems weird to Yanks.  But for that we get an independent broadcaster, for whom the charter is to inform, not just entertain.  While the main terresitial broadcaster here just goes down hill, the BBC does not rely on adverts (therefore viewing figures). It can therefore make programmes that do not need to reduce its commitment to a programme just to make it popular.  It makes programmes for minorities, it makes programmes that does not pander to the lowest denominator.  It is not held to ransom by the advertisers.

    Murdoch (owner or Fox) owned press hate BBC. They bitch constantly about it being full of liberals.  Because the BBC is an obsticle to Sky (owner R Murdoch) dominating UK TV.

    In 1982 That Bloody Woman complained that the BBC called British Troops in the Falklands British Troops, instead of calling them ‘Our Boys’. NO Maggie, thats not anti British, thats neutrality in reporting.The whole WMD thing in Iraq brought the BBC and the Government (who effectively provide the money) into conflict.  Bliar forced resignations from the Beeb for saying the WMD intelligence had been over stated by Shrub and Bliar.  Still no WMDs, still no contrition from Tone.

    About the only thing I know about US PBS is Sesame Street (One Athiest, ha ha ha). But I believe when Business holds all the purse strings then democracy does not exist, however many times you vote.

  7. KpG: “Condom machines in every public building with the proceeds going to PBS. We’d be fucking for better TV. We could even have a fuckathon…”

    KpG, that is genius! 

    To clarify, I am not anti-space-program, I am anti-boondoggle.  The ISS is producing NO science at this time, it just goes ‘round and ‘round.  There is a lot of hard science that needs doing, and robotic craft can do it at a tiny fraction of the dough we pour into manned flight. 

    For what we pay to have people in orbit doing basically nothing but dusting and keeping alive, we could be funding a couple dozen really great science missions; find out what asteroids and comets are made of (may be important to our survival someday), various kinds of space telescopes, planetary probes, and an armada of Earth sensing satellites to give us more insight into climate, pollution, animal migrations, etc.

  8. I’ve got a great idea. Condom machines in every public building with the proceeds going to PBS. We’d be fucking for better TV. We could even have a fuckathon…..

    Sadie darling- fancy helping raise some money for PBS…

  9. KPG: Sadie, would you care to use me shamelessly for a good cause?

    But of course, darling. Not only am I a devout fan of condoms, but I harbor many fond memories of PBS-viewing.  smile

    So, in PBS-speak: You and me, baby, ain’t nothing but mammals…I’d finish, but that would involve another network entirely. Cable, at that.

  10. EricP: … if only they could find the nine billion they lost in Iraq marked for reconstruction.

    I heard about that. And it’s gone off the radar in favour of Positive GOP propaganda because of … Positive GOP propaganda. Sounds kinda like circular logic similar to … ??

    LH: … we [have] an independent broadcaster, for whom the charter is to inform, not just entertain…. It is not held to ransom by the advertisers.

    We have ABC (about 10% of the viewers) & SBS (about 6% including all the soccer and minimal advertising on the hour).
    No matter which party is in power they’ve both said the ABC is not objective as they ask the hard questions of all players whereas the other 3 commercial broadcasters just go for the sensational and lowest common denominator – which is what hoi polloi want – bread and circuses. LOL

  11. The US would have never seen Doctor Who without PBS. PBS’s airing of Doctor Who in years past is reason enough to give PBS all the money they want.

  12. Qwerty: PBS’s airing of Doctor Who in years past is reason enough to give PBS all the money they want.

    I saw a YouTube of an old Python interview on PBS that suggeted the same thing about them. LOL

  13. SBS (about 6% including all the soccer and minimal advertising on the hour).

    They’re actually going to start using ad breaks soon.

  14. Mick: They’re actually going to start using ad breaks soon.

    Bummer. That’ll ruin Insight for me.  downer
    Only ABC left … for how long?

  15. In Britain they increased the adbreaks in hour long programs to every 15 mins, from 20.  It means when they show old old programs it’s all cut wrong.

    Classic quote form readers letters in Murdoch paper.  ‘When Sky show Star Trek it is an hour long, but only 45 minutes on the BBC.  Ehat are they cutting out?’

    The adverts, you pillock.

    Of course the pro Sky paper didn’t point this out.

    It did mean ‘24’ was a bit odd on the BBC though- it was actually ‘18’ (what did they do on the DVDs.

  16. Many of my more liberal colleagues go into near convulsions when they read legislative factoids like this. I sometimes see their eyes flicker and jolt upwards, as they can hardly contain their emotions (bad American upbringing, again).

    I do not get so much in a emotional fit as they.
    I’m more calm.

    Why?  Cause i know we live in a democracy, and in a few short years (months even?) these policies can be easily reversed.  We’ve been through cycles like this before.  Pick up a history book.

    If the voters want it otherwise, so it shall be.
    Now get back to work and stop freaking out, and vote locally and nationally (unlike most Americans).

    rob@egoz.org

  17. Even before I saw KPG’s post I thought NO.

    There is a depressing trend to what Jeremy Clarkson identified as using baby incubators as a currency. i.e. every time a space shuttle is launched people will say ‘they should have spent the money on baby incubators/replacement hips/education’ etc etc.

    If European Monarchs had said the equivalent (’Do you know how many quail eggs I can buy for that, Mr Columbus’wink the world would be a different place. 

    First of all, Columbus was an idiot.  It was the wrong time for such an expedition, Columbus was the wrong man for it and he didn’t even do what he set out to do… and we did such a good job with the land when we got it.

    Secondly, the SPACE program isn’t the shuttle or the ISS.  All of those programs cost too much money, don’t bring back the science.  About the only thing they are are VERY expensive PR gimmicks.  Everything they do can be done better and cheaper by using other programs.  The probes we’re sending to Mars are bringing back tons of information and costing a tiny fraction of the money we’re spending on the shuttle and ISS, and don’t even get me started on the Manned Mission to Mars.  Manned space flight will be done by the commercial sectors and it will make money and will cost a tenth of what the government makes and make money to boot not to mention being more PR than they could ever have with the shuttle and ISS.

    Certainly better to cut those programs than Public Television.

  18. Manned space flight will be done by the commercial sectors and it will make money and will cost a tenth of what the government makes and make money to boot not to mention being more PR than they could ever have with the shuttle and ISS.

    While “spaceflight” (think low-orbit oh!-ah!-neat! trips) it might be commercially viable, there’s no way in hell (note the lower-case “h”) flights to the Moon or Mars will be in the near or semi-long-term future.

    There is not one insurance agency large enough, besides the USG, willing to back such missions.  The technology is so unproven for static, sustainable colonies/stations on their surfaces that any corporation would be insane to back such a venture.  The risk for catastrophic failure (“This is Houston Mars-America. Hello?  Mars-America? Hello? Anyone alive? Anyone?”) is way too high at this first-attempt stage.

    This is why governments are often the first, and *then* corporations are second when it comes to space exploration. That’s a model we’d be wise to continue.

    rob@egoz.org

  19. Thanks, Sordsbane. 

    The one thing we don’t have for the Moon or Mars is a reason to go there.  Exploration may find that reason, and robotic exploration is orders of magnitude cheaper – and even more effective – than human exploration.  Why?  Because Mars is out at the extreme end of a very long survival probability curve.  By they time the astronauts get there (still faced with the return journey) they are spending 99.99% of their effort staying alive.  A robot has no such concerns.

    Now having said that, and having come off as an anti-space philistine, let me hasten to add that the other suggestions here are very good ones; the missing $9bn, bridges to nowhere, invading other countries that don’t need invading, etc.  It’s painfully obvious they’re cutting PBS funding just because they don’t like PBS.

  20. Thanks, Sordsbane.

    The one thing we don’t have for the Moon or Mars is a reason to go there.  Exploration may find that reason, and robotic exploration is orders of magnitude cheaper – and even more effective – than human exploration.  Why?  Because Mars is out at the extreme end of a very long survival probability curve.  By they time the astronauts get there (still faced with the return journey) they are spending 99.99% of their effort staying alive.  A robot has no such concerns.

    Now having said that, and having come off as an anti-space philistine, let me hasten to add that the other suggestions here are very good ones; the missing $9bn, bridges to nowhere, invading other countries that don’t need invading, etc.  It’s painfully obvious they’re cutting PBS funding just because they don’t like PBS.

    There are plenty of reasons to go to the Moon.  It’s full of raw materials that are practically lying there right on the surface.  Anyone who went there with that in mind would make several hundred percent profit from such a trip.  Mars is further away and we could probably do everything we need to do with robots, but it has the same potential, and so does any planetary body out there.  Once you get to Low Earth Orbit, you’re half-way energy (fuel) wise to anywhere else in the solar system…. And the survival probability curve has been grossly overexaggerated by too many people.

    It’s not that their aren’t good reasons to go, or even good reasons to send people.  It’s that the government isn’t doing it for those reasons and they are spending way more money than they have to.  OUR money.  The government talks of putting a permanent base on the Moon but doesn’t say what for.  They want to send people to Mars, but they don’t say what they want to do that can’t be done by robots.  There are legitemate answers to those questions, but the gov isn’t using them.  They want another PR (look what we can do) gimmick.

    But when they look for money, they try to cut PBS.  Like you said, it only makes sense when you see that they just don’t like it.


  21. Why?  Cause i know we live in a democracy, and in a few short years (months even?) these policies can be easily reversed.  We’ve been through cycles like this before.  Pick up a history book.

    Good, then you surely have books of world history which show these events of concentrating power and total control of media have been precursors for two of the most tyrantic and destructive regimes there has been.

    “The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
    -Joseph Stalin
    Now compare that to your previous elections.

    Secondly, the SPACE program isn’t the shuttle or the ISS.  All of those programs cost too much money, don’t bring back the science.  About the only thing they are are VERY expensive PR gimmicks.  Everything they do can be done better and cheaper by using other programs.

    Saying that space exploration is expensive is total 100% pure BushShit.
    For example whole Apollo project cost much less than war for liberating Iraq’s oil resources… and that includes taking inflation into account.

    Also NASA’s whole budget is peanuts compared to what goes into “poor hands” of military industrial complex.
    Then how about tax evasion of big corporations… some of your biggest corporations practically don’t even pay any taxes, they get “rebates” from government.

    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/107493main_FY_06_budget_summ.pdf

  22. Saying that space exploration is expensive is total 100% pure BushShit.
    For example whole Apollo project cost much less than war for liberating Iraq’s oil resources… and that includes taking inflation into account.

    Also NASA’s whole budget is peanuts compared to what goes into “poor hands

  23. Fear not! American settlement of the Moon and Mars shall take place. Both will start during many of our lifetimes.  It’s the destiny of the largest, most innovative composite-nation that our civilization has ever known.

    The Moon: with its “New NewYork” colony, a fitting commemoration for a noble city of American aspirations and struggle for innovation
     
    &

    Mars: with an expansive, multi-settlement known as “New America”, given the huge potential of this planet for *all* the nations of the planet, a beacon for migration, and future-hope.

    America, the great composite-nation of Earth, is all about fostering and heralding equality and opportunity *in the context* of exploring new frontiers, both physical and social.  It’s in our bones, it’s one of our core-ethos.  Yes, there will always be cynics, but they are (ultimately) irrelevant to our nation’s goals, as they always been.

    rob@egoz.org

  24. Fear not! American settlement of the Moon and Mars shall take place. Both will start during many of our lifetimes.  It’s the destiny of the largest, most innovative composite-nation that our civilization has ever known.

    The Moon: with its “New NewYork

  25. Yeah… whatever… As long as they don’t take the money from PBS.

    If there were oil on Mars, there’d be a permanent military base already….

  26. Fear not! American settlement of the Moon and Mars shall take place. Both will start during many of our lifetimes.

    Surely you jest, rob.  Can it have escaped your notice that the Moon is really far away, and Mars even further away?  Antarctica is closer, and a lot more hospitable, what with having air and all.

    Of course, it’s always risky to predict what technology will, and will not, be able to accomplish in the future.  Who knows- maybe we’ll soon have fusion power plants efficient enough to generate power, and oxygen, from the water on Mars.  But what would be the point?  Whatever kinds of government waste we experience now would pale in comparison to the depletion of resources, financial and material, on Earth, to make settlement of the Moon or Mars possible.

    I’ll bet a hundred bucks it won’t happen in my lifetime.  After that- well, you can stomp on my grave. LOL

  27. Zilch: After that – well, you can stomp on my grave.

    I hope this was a figure of speech – you aren’t really the type of eog-tripper who wants to take up valuable real estate for your bag of shit, blood, puss and bones After your cadaver has ‘given up the ghost’, are you?
    Mum said: Burn me and, if you must, put a plaque in a wall somewhere, I don’t care.
    We did.
    I wonder why I agree.
    I’ve already paid for My brick in the Vietnam Veterans wall here in Bathurst and I’ve been in touch with Sydney university if they want my cadaver to play with. They do.
    Although I don’t treat it as such, I may consider my body a temple while I’m here but afterwards, when ‘I’ am not here, it’ll just be a rotting mess of feed for something.
    Burn it or leave it for the crows. I don’t hold with the sanctification of bodies or anything else. smile

  28. I hope this was a figure of speech

    It was.  If rob wins the bet, he can also feel free to stomp on my ashes, or on the lawn of the medical school where my remains repose.  Although I don’t have anything against burial, if it’s not in a fancy coffin, so that I will be grokked by the gentle rain and worms.

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