A new parody video from WhatsTrending.com purports to show what might happen behind the scenes at PBS and the Children’s Television Workshop due to President Trump’s proposed budget. Most of the claims made by the video are off target. Nevertheless, the parody does expose the liberal mindset on the arts, jobs, healthcare and government funding.
In the sketch, Elmo is being laid off because, as his boss says, “the Trump Administration is cutting all arts and education funding from the new congressional budget.” There is truth to this statement. The Trump budget calls for elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Defunding the federal subsidies of the arts would not kill art, Sesame Street or PBS, however. PBS funding was an issue in the 2012 election when Mitt Romney said, “I love Big Bird… but I’m not going to keep on spending money on things that we have to borrow money from China to pay for.”
At the time, PBS CEO Paula Kerger discussed PBS funding on “The Fix.” “Communities treasure their public stations, and it’s individual philanthropy in those communities that actually makes public television work,” Kerger said. “We get about 15 percent — that’s one-five percent — of our funding, in aggregate, from the federal government. That actually goes to our stations, not to me, and that really enables public broadcasting to be seen in communities that may not have the economic means to sustain it. States like Alaska for example, where 50 percent of the funding to maintain that infrastructure comes from the federal government.”
That’s right. Eighty-five percent of PBS funding comes from sources other than the federal government. According to recent figures from Fortune, the federal government spends only $450 million on PBS and NPR combined. That amount could be easily made up by corporate donations, especially if corporations could improve their bottom lines in other ways, for instance a cut in the corporate tax rate.
The threat of firing Elmo was even too outlandish for the Huffington Post. The liberal site pointed out a recent tweet by Sesame Street that confirms that the show does not receive any funding from PBS or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
So how does Sesame Street get its funding? It is already funded by an (evil?) corporation. Since 2015, HBO has financed the classic children’s show. The partnership with HBO still allows PBS to broadcast Sesame Street episodes at no charge and even allows the show to produce more episodes than while it was funded by PBS. HBO’s partnership with Sesame Street is an example of free markets at work.
Elmo also worries about his insurance and pre-existing conditions in the video. This reflects the liberal belief that jobs are vehicles to provide workers with insurance, a core tenet of Obamacare.
In reality, jobs exist to provide economic benefits to the employer. If a job is not producing benefits for the person or company paying the worker’s salary, then the job is not sustainable. A company cannot pay more in salaries and benefits than it earns in revenues. Jobs that are not producing wealth (or aiding others in producing wealth) should probably be cut for the good of the company.
This is why Obamacare and increases in minimum wage adversely affect the job market. By making it more expensive to hire workers, the workers must produce more to justify their employment. All too often the result is fewer jobs, especially for unskilled, entry level workers.
“Elmo, you’re going to land on your feet,” the boss says. “Don’t worry.”
We know this is true. Elmo is a celebrity who could easily find a job on another children’s show. Elmo could make a lucrative deal licensing himself for toys and other merchandise. Who can forget the Tickle Me Elmo craze of 1996?
If PBS has a product that people want to buy, then it will survive. Elmo and Sesame Street will thrive in the private marketplace. It’s the shows that no one wants to watch -or pay for – that should be worried.