Las Vegas Sun

August 1, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Big Bird is doing just fine, thank you

There is a growing concern over Mitt Romney’s statement at last week’s debate that he would stop publicly funding the Corporation For Public Broadcasting. We taxpayers have partially funded PBS and NPR for more than 40 years. Pundits have declared that without taxpayer funding, PBS and NPR — along with Big Bird — will cease to exist.

PBS receives approximately $450 million each year from the taxpayers and receives millions in dollars through private donations and merchandising. A look at where some of the money goes is quite revealing. Executive salaries far exceed what taxpayers pay members of Congress, Supreme Court justices and top-level military commanders.

The producers of the highly successful brand-name public program “Sesame Street” made more than $211 million in merchandising from 2003-06 and the Sesame Street Workshop chief executive made almost $1 million in 2008. That puts Big Bird and his cohorts as 1 percenters. As Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., stated “Big Bird doesn’t need the taxpayers to help him compete against the private run Nickelodon cable channel’s ‘Dora the Explorer.’” It is time for the federal government to stop using taxpayers money to pick winners and losers.

It is time for the Corporation For Public Broadcasting to go private and free Big Bird from the nest.

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