Tag: NPR

Tina Brown and the Economics of Recession

Talking about royal weddings on NPR, Tina Brown says that there’s high unemployment in Britain, as there was in 1981, because of Conservative governments’ budget cuts (transcript edited to match broadcast):

Of course, the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana occurred three decades ago, but Brown points out that there are plenty of similarities between the two eras. “2.5 million are out of work right now with the budget slashes and all the economic austerity that’s happening in England,” Brown says. “There were actually the same amount of people exactly out of work at the time of Charles and Diana, when Mrs. Thatcher came in and began her draconian moves.”

I know that Tina Brown is a journalist, not an economist, but surely she’s heard of the recessions of 1979 and 2009, both of which may have helped to usher in a new government pledged to economic reform. It isn’t budget cuts that have increased British unemployment, it’s the recession. The unemployment rate started rising in early 2008 and kept right on rising during the world financial crisis, which featured not budget cuts but massive spending by governments around the world.

Your Tax Dollars at Work (2)

Public television stations in Washington and elsewhere will be broadcasting live the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton for several hours on Friday, April 29. And if you need more background on the happy couple, they will also broadcast a documentary, “William and Kate: The Royal Wedding,” in the weeks leading up to the big day.

Now some churlish republicans might say that our ancestors fought and died just so we didn’t have to pay attention to the comings and goings of royalty. But I say it’s just this sort of live, breaking-news, current affairs coverage for which we need public broadcasting. Without PBS, where could Americans watch the handsome young prince take the beautiful commoner to be his wife? I mean, other than ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, TLC, BBC America, and YouTube?

As they used to say, If PBS doesn’t do it, who will?

‘We’re All In This Together’

Today POLITICO Arena asks:

Given that Planned Parenthood’s online donations have shot up over the last two months, is Mike Pence (R-Ind.) correct to say it could – and should – operate without taxpayer funds?

My response:

Given that many Americans believe that abortion is murder, of course Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider, should not be publicly funded. (And please don’t say that no taxpayer funds go for abortions: money is fungible.)

Democrats think that almost everything should be publicly funded – education, health care, retirement, the arts. What’s next? News? Entertainment? Oh, I forgot: NPR and PBS. But only that programming that meets their exacting standards. FOX News? Faget about it! Where you from? Kansas? And they wonder why there’s a Tea Party.

Wednesday Links

  • “Since Congress has not declared war on Libya, is American involvement in the Libyan war unconstitutional?”
  • A year later, Obamacare still faces bipartisan opposition.
  • Public sector unions have awakened a sleeping giant.
  • It is irrelevant which way public broadcasting tilts–the problem is that it tilts at all.
  • Cato founder and president Ed Crane made a rare media appearance yesterday, joining talk radio host Neal Boortz to discuss Libya and…well, a bunch of other things:


Tuesday Links

  • Still think the War on Drugs is a good idea, or that it’s working? Decreases in cocaine production in Colombia have been almost fully offset by increases in Peru and Bolivia.
  • Why is nobody talking about the right of Wisconsin taxpayers to not deal with unions?
  • “If you’re the rare bird who favors limited government at home and abroad, you can hardly expect good news from a poll of this generation’s Tracy Flicks.” (Maybe not.)
  • NPR and PBS are using taxpayer dollars to lobby for… more taxpayer dollars. But that’s hardly a new game in Washington.
  • Afghanistan: nation-building on crack.
  • Saying no to a no-fly zone over Libya should be a no-brainer:


NPR — A New Target for Harkin?

Secret recordings apparently revealing rampant dirty dealing. Big headlines. Taxpayer dollars wrapped up in it all. Surely all this ugliness — even if it turns out that the reality isn’t nearly as bad as inital reports make it sound — is coming from the favorite target of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), evil for-profit colleges!

Nope. It’s National Public Radio. And I assume Harkin and his pals will give NPR the exact same over-the-coals treatment they’ve been giving for-profit schools.

OK, I’m probably not able to assume that at all — but I should be.

Privatizing Public Broadcasting

I appeared on WFPL, the NPR affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky, today to argue for ending the federal funding for NPR and PBS. Sort of like Daniel in the lion’s den. But since I survived, and since NPR stations are using all their government dollars to mount a vigorous radio and internet campaign to get more government dollars, I thought I would pull together some of my writings on the topic.

You should shortly be able to listen to the show here. I made the point that we have a $1.5 trillion deficit, and every spending program has to be on the table. But more importantly, as I said in my article on the top ten reasons to privatize public broadcasting,

And the number one reason to privatize public broadcasting is:

1. The separation of news and state. We wouldn’t want the federal government to publish a national newspaper. Why should we have a government television network and a government radio network? If anything should be kept separate from government and politics, it’s the news and public affairs programming that Americans watch. When government brings us the news—with all the inevitable bias and spin—the government is putting its thumb on the scales of democracy. It’s time for that to stop.

Here’s my testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee – four public broadcasting CEOs and me – which is actually more balanced than most congressional hearings. This includes data on public broadcasting demographics that I cited on the air.

Here’s the Cato Handbook for Policymakers chapter on “Cultural Agencies.”

Here’s my speech, “The Separation of Art and State,” delivered at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts.

Read my reflections on the scandals in public broadcasting here.