The Left is in a tizzy today because Mitt Romney supposedly threatened Big Bird. I call BS.
If someone wants to argue that PBS deserves public funding, then fine. I disagree with that given our massive deficit issues, but if you want to argue that, so be it. All I ask is that people quit dragging Big Bird into it. Big Bird is doing just fine, thank you.
First off, even if Sesame Street depended heavily on public funding for its survival currently (it doesn’t), does anyone think that if PBS suddenly ceased to exist that Big Bird’s big yellow tail feathers wouldn’t be syndicated in about 15 minutes? Of course not. Sesame Street can leave the public trough anytime it wants to.
But if you prefer numbers to obvious rhetorical questions, let me provide some, courtesy of Senator DeMint: “Shows like Sesame Street are multi-million dollar enterprises capable of thriving in the private market. According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 — nearly a million dollars — in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, ‘Sesame Street’ made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales.”
So basically, between 2003 and 2006, Sesame Street pulled in over $50 million per year from merchandising. That’s about four times what Mitt Romney makes, for reference. It’s reasonably safe to guess that the number hasn’t dropped a whole lot since 2006, as any parent of small children with hundreds of dollars’ worth of Elmo crap in their house could probably tell you.
So quit pretending that Big Bird is suddenly going to disappear if PBS were to get cut. It’s a complete garbage argument, and especially hypocritical from the side that constantly complains about subsidies for big corporations. It’s time for Big Bird to leave the public nest.*
* – To quote Iowahawk: “No wonder lefties identify with Big Bird. [He’s] a 43-year-old welfare layabout with imaginary friends.”