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Big Bird Is Richer Than Romney
www.newsmax.com/ErnestIstook/Big-Bird-Romney-grants/2012/10/...

Big Bird has been occupying public television for 43 years, yet he's definitely part of the 1 percent. Big Bird is richer than Mitt Romney. Sesame Workshop (successor to Children's Television Workshop), reported to the IRS a $356-million net worth as of June 30, 2011, compared to Romney's estimated worth of about $250-million....

Sesame Workshop has a liquid cushion of over $130-million in cash and securities...thanks to annual sales of $515 million in Sesame Street branded products, according to Forbes.

DB2
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And your point is?????
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And your point is?

Sesame Street brings in more than twice as much as the Batman franchise, for example. It hardly needs taxpayer subsidies.

DB2
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Sesame Street brings in more than twice as much as the Batman franchise, for example. It hardly needs taxpayer subsidies.
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Yes, it does, so do all the other children's programming on PBS. I have seen what passes for children's television on cable and network TV. They are tools for advertisers, and kids get very little education. At least with shows like Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid, The Electric Company, Arthur and Curious George they aren't advertising tools. PBS makes sure those shows are doing what they are meant to do - entertain and educate.

For Mitt Romney, his millions pay for another home.

Charlie
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Sesame Street brings in more than twice as much as the Batman franchise, for example. It hardly needs taxpayer subsidies.
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Yes, it does, so do all the other children's programming on PBS.


I put it in the same category as Planned Parenthood. They both do good things, and I have sent them lots of money over the years. Both should be supported by those who want to use it and those interested in their continued operation, not general taxpayer funds. Being self-funded also removes them from the political crossfire.

DB2
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Both should be supported by those who want to use it and those interested in their continued operation, not general taxpayer funds.

Educating young children is a public good. Everyone wants to use 'it', where 'it' is having more educated people in your society. So it should be paid for by everyone - from general taxpayer funds.

The same argument applies for Planned Parenthood, where the 'it' is the reduced population of unwanted children who grow up to be unproductive adults or criminals.
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PBS makes sure those shows are doing what they are meant to do - entertain and educate.

You mean giving parents and child care workers a false sense they're educating - since child development experts still say it doesn't matter what's on - it's best to turn TV's off around young children.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/children_shealth/5421888/P...
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Educating young children is a public good. Everyone wants to use 'it', where 'it' is having more educated people in your society. So it should be paid for by everyone - from general taxpayer funds.


that's the trick though isn't it

not everyone wants the public good of educated children

at the least, to paraphrase, it's not important enough
to spend tax dollars
..: certainly not when there's people to kill &
cities to raze
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Cutting $400 million (or whatever the number is) from the PBS budget is hardly going to 'kill' Big Bird or the federal deficit. It is, however, an eight-foot-tall canary in the coal mine about the seriousness of addressing trillion-dollar deficits.

As an example, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently had its climate change-related research budget slashed by a fifth. There are not many people buying t-shirts to support climate research.

As entitlement payments grow they will consume more, and cuts will be required everywhere. Big Bird is indeed an eight-foot canary.

DB2
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DB2
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No.
It was brought to you by a zero.

AM
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I have seen what passes for children's television on cable and network TV. They are tools for advertisers, and kids get very little education. At least with shows like Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid, The Electric Company, Arthur and Curious George they aren't advertising tools. PBS makes sure those shows are doing what they are meant to do - entertain and educate.

So what are those minute long promos that run between these shows? Education or Entertainment?

Ed
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So what are those minute long promos that run between these shows? Education or Entertainment?

The difference for me, as a parent of little ones who watch PBS, is that the promos are for other shows, rather than products. But more importantly, they are just at the end, making it really easy to shut off the tv before they come on. I tivo everything, so in theory I could fast forward through commercials, but that would mean I had to sit there the whole time they watched tv.

As far as the educational value, it's in how you use the tv. The study linked earlier was about having the tv on as background noise. That undoubtedly hampers learning and reduces focus. It has also been demonstrated that kids under 2 do not learn appreciably from the tv. But over 2, the tv can be one tool in a parent's toolbox for teaching if used right, or it can be just entertainment, which is ok too.

My kids have learned a lot from Sid the Science Kid and Curious George. (Right now those are the only shows they watch.) But I also talk about the shows with them later, often recreate the experiments from Sid for my kids so they can experience it hands on, and generally encourage learning. Sid provides a nice framework and introduces them to the concepts in age appropriate and entertaining ways that would be difficult for me to do, but it is then up to me to capitalize on that and make sure my kids really understand what is being presented. Curious George is more entertainment than education, but I'm ok with that.

DEG
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AM, here's a question for you. If you were the decision maker, would you allocate $400 million to Sesame Street or climate research?

DB2
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AM, here's a question for you. If you were the decision maker, would you allocate $400 million to Sesame Street or climate research?

DB2

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I don't think the answer to that question is that simple.
First of all, it's not a fair question because they are not even in the same category.
One is the arts. The other is science.
I believe both should be funded.
I'm not in the driver's seat and don't have the information the president and his advisers have so I don't have the actual capability of making that decision - even if it were a fair comparison.

AM
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Both should be supported by those who want to use it and those interested in their continued operation, not general taxpayer funds.

Then PBS would probably die. About 20% of their funding comes from the CPB (non-profit). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation_for_Public_Broadcas...

Without those monies they couldn't produce as much quality programming, and viewership (and donations) would likely decline further. Which would result in even less quality programming, leading to further decline in viewership...it's a death spiral.

You probably are one of those who felt the USPS should be self-sustaining. Well, congrats, it's spinning down the drain now. I would not be surprised if it's all but dead in 10 years.

Some things are an investment. Public schooling. Public broadcasting. The USPS. And, arguably, Planned Parenthood. I have no problems with my tax dollars supporting these things. I think those that do are tremendously short-sighted.

1poorguy
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If you were the decision maker, would you allocate $400 million to Sesame Street or climate research?

False dichotomy.

I'd fund both.
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If you were the decision maker, would you allocate $400 million to Sesame Street or climate research?
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I don't think the answer to that question is that simple. First of all, it's not a fair question because they are not even in the same category.
One is the arts. The other is science. I believe both should be funded.


True enough, in that it is not a real world question; their funding would come up in different committees. The real world point I was trying to make is that as entitlement spending expands it will put enormous pressure on the rest of the Federal budget. All departments will feel it. At first there will be the 'easy' stuff: hiring freezes, no inflation adjustments, then program cutbacks.

The math is easy; the decisions will be hard (no matter which party is in power).

DB2
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I'd fund both.

I know; everybody would like to fund it all. Unfortunately the math doesn't work out that way.

See, for example
http://boards.fool.com/quotthe-promises-that-are-being-made-...
The 'everything else' category is going to be squeezed in a vice.

DB2
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"If you were the decision maker, would you allocate $400 million to Sesame Street or climate research?"

I would cut our $520 billion annual defense budget by at least 10% ($52 Billion annually).

I would spend that money on climate research and/or light rail and/or solar research and healthcare and so on.

Talking about big bird instead of the Romney Ryan plan that adds $5 Trillion in unfunded tax cuts to the biggest deficits in history is crimminally insane.
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If you were the decision maker, would you allocate $400 million to Sesame Street or climate research?
========
False dichotomy.

I'd fund both.



or neither ..... $400M buys a lot of Napalm



/>:
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What jgc said. Plus I'd raise the top tax rate to at least 50%. There's at least one study that was done which said the optimal rate was 70% (on the uber-wealthy).

I am aware of the concerns about entitlements. Those need to be managed. But anyone who thinks we will balance our budget with cuts has blinders on. It won't happen (unless we practically shut the entire thing down).

This wasn't the site I was looking for, but it's still interesting.

http://crfb.org/stabilizethedebt/#
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What jgc said.[cut our $520 billion annual defense budget by at least 10% ($52 Billion annually)]. Plus I'd raise the top tax rate to at least 50%.

Fine, but....
No matter what the tax structure of the country, no matter who the president or which party, Federal tax receipts have only been above 20% of GDP twice (1943 and 2000). The average has been between 18% and 19% of GDP since WW2.

Let's go with the higher 19%. Here's where we are headed, even if we cut Defense spending in half:

Defense 2% cut the defense budget in half
Debt interest 2 both debt and interest rates will increase
Social Security 6 the SSA estimates 6%
Other safety net 3
Medical 10 10% estimate is for 2035, higher later
Everything else 4
.
Total 27%

We will have an 8% of GDP shortfall (yearly). How do you bridge the gap? Maybe you'd get higher receipts (20%) in some years, but others would be lower. We can't avoid interest on the debt.

DB2
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We can't avoid interest on the debt.

I don't accept the premise that we are limited to revenues of 20% of GDP without some explanation of why that would be the case. However, I think it was rmhj who linked an article that explained that we CAN avoid interest on our debt. The feds can just fund it themselves instead of borrowing from others. But for some odd reason they don't.

When I ran the link I provided I beat their goals. I had it down to 54% of GDP by 2020.

current law 2960
current policy 6910
reduced to 54%


And I did it mostly with revenues while increasing NASA and R&D and a few things like that.

It wasn't even that difficult...because I was willing to raise taxes.
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I don't accept the premise that we are limited to revenues of 20% of GDP without some explanation of why that would be the case.

Maybe we can, but as we've never done it the burden of proof is on those who think we can get more. I suspect FDR would have liked to get more during WW2 (or JFK or LBJ or Carter or....)

DB2
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Perhaps it's because raising revenues raises GDP in some fashion? So that 20% number is never exceeded? In which case, as GDP goes up the percent of GDP of a given budget item would decline.

Sorta makes using GDP as a reference tricky. It's a moving target. It goes up, it goes down.

Just simplify it and raise taxes to where they should be. Stop feeding the Randian fantasy of everyone surviving on their own "moxie" without a functioning government.
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1pg: You probably are one of those who felt the USPS should be self-sustaining. Well, congrats, it's spinning down the drain now. I would not be surprised if it's all but dead in 10 years.

Is it?

Aside from congress insisting that it fully fund its pension plan for the next 75 years NOW!, just because congress said so, I don't have any idea how solvent or insolvent the post office is. It seems, however, to be a very popular talking point from the usual untrustworthy purveyors of right-wing talking points.

They are seeing substantial competition from the internet (as well as benefits), and in urban areas they see a lot of competition from DHL, UPS, FedEx, &c, while the USPS is constitutionally required to serve all of the U.S.. But I have a very hard time hearing this talking point and not imagining that it's an awfully "fact" from a bunch of folks who'd love to see it fully privatized.

rj
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Is it?

I believe so. From what I've read they are financially in a hole. They're talking about reducing the number of delivery days to help. They've raised the price of stamps several times. They're still in a hole.

Though I do believe a good chunk of their deficit is related to the benefits you mentioned.

Between the competition you mentioned, the changing landscape (I don't remember the last time I sent a paper letter...I use email for anything that doesn't require a check), and some of the other burdens you mentioned, they appear poised to go down the tubes. And I only see it getting worse.
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Sorta makes using GDP as a reference tricky. It's a moving target. It goes up, it goes down.

The advantage of using percent of GDP is that the numbers are easier to understand. When you start talking to someone about trillions their eyes glaze over. Most people can understand percentages and simple math without tuning out.

Just simplify it and raise taxes to where they should be. Stop feeding the Randian fantasy of everyone surviving on their own "moxie" without a functioning government.

Agreed about Randian fantasies. But there are much more real issues. Here is Paul Krugman from 15 years ago in 1996, long before he won a Nobel Prize:

www.nytimes.com/1996/10/20/books/demographics-and-destiny.ht...
"Responsible adults are supposed to plan more than seven years ahead. Yet if you think even briefly about what the Federal budget will look like in 20 years, you immediately realize that we are drifting inexorably toward crisis; if you think 30 years ahead, you wonder whether the Republic can be saved....

DB2
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More from Krugman:

...in reality what the Federal Government spends your money on mostly is benefits to the middle-class elderly. Well over half of Federal spending -- other than that on national defense and interest on the national debt -- goes in one way or another to retired people, mainly in the form of Social Security and Medicare, but also via Federal pensions and veterans' benefits....

In 2010, however, the boomers will begin to retire. Every year thereafter, for the next quarter-century, several million 65-year-olds will leave the rolls of taxpayers and begin claiming their benefits. The budgetary effects of this demographic tidal wave are straightforward to compute, but so huge as almost to defy comprehension....

In short, the Federal Government, however solid its finances may currently appear, is in fact living utterly beyond its means. While the present generation of retirees is doing very nicely, the promises that are being made to those now working cannot be honored....

Something is bound to give -- but what? Will retired boomers -- who will have even more political clout than today's smallish population of retired voters -- be willing to accept a sharply reduced standard of living? That is hard to imagine. Will younger voters be willing to accept huge increases in tax rates to support the boomers in the style they have been promised? That is equally hard to imagine. Or will the Government try to square the circle by simply printing the money it needs, creating runaway inflation? Surely that is inconceivable. Yet one or more of these unthinkable things will happen, because something must.

DB2
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