Why PBS Matters and Mitt Romney Doesn't

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Wednesday's debate was the kind of stuff that reminds me of why people get upset and disillusioned with politics.  According to most mainstream sources, Mitt Romney “won” the debate, not because of what he said, but because of how he dominated the conversation.  He styled his argument well, in an uncanny way.  He basically took the message that Obama had crafted and straight up copied it.  This is why people hate politicians; because politicians like Romney are lying liars who lie to try to win elections.

This doesn't matter though, because one truth did come out of Romney on Wednesday – that he would courageously cut PBS from the federal budget, saving the taxpayer a whopping $1.35.  Cutting PBS does not makes sense politically, practically or even philosophically, but it doesn't stop Mitt Romney from trying to lay off big bird and the moderator of his own debate to save a buck or two.

PBS made a statement after the debate:

“The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation's debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.”

This courageousness comes from the fact that Romney tried to play the moderate candidate to undecideds, but cutting PBS funding is truly a radical idea for any number of reasons.  

First, most of the audience that PBS reaches are children, and most of these children are underserved to begin with making PBS a cheap and valuable educational tool.  In fact according to PBS's statement, their service is watched by 81% of all children between the ages of 2-8, regardless of where they live.  If PBS were to be cut, children who live in rural areas or who do not or cannot attend preschool would be without this valuable learning tool.

Second, the taxpayer investment has a 600 percent return rate, meaning that for every dollar given to local public broadcasting, 6.00 are raised in return. Considering that these dollars are raised to support local media and the expertise that comes with localized content, this is an invaluable return in quantity and quality.

Third, as small of a federal investment this is, the investment is still critical.  According to PBS's statement, many studies, including one requested by Congress earlier in the year stated “the absence of this critical seed money would cripple the system and bring public services to an end.”  

This is not politics, this is just common sense.  Most Americans support public television and 69% of the American public oppose federal cuts to public broadcasting, but this is completely lost on Mitt Romney.

Click here and here to learn more about PBS.  

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