Here’s a tangible, fundamental change to the American cultural landscape that will come with a Mitt Romney presidency. Under President Romney, Sesame Street will be brought to you by more than “The Letter Q.”
Explaining his plan to slash the federal budget by billions in order to reduce the deficit, Romney targeted a (minuscule) part of the federal budget Republicans have wanted to do away with for years: taxpayer subsidies for children’s programming on PBS.
“I like PBS,” Romney told a town hall in Clinton, Iowa Wednesday. “We subsidize PBS. Look, I’m going to stop that. I’m going to say PBS is going to have to have advertisements.”
Funding for public broadcasting played a big part in the battle over the budget that nearly led to a government shut down after the Republicans took over Congress. Republicans aimed their rhetoric at NPR, but PBS funding would also have been cut (from basically nothing to nothing) under their plan to government funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Romney would also go after CPB funding, as well as funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, another favorite Republican target. He has promised to increase funding for the military.
The irony of all this is that while Republicans love to hear about an end to CPB funding, a majority of Americans want more spending on public broadcasting, not less. At the height of the fight over NPR funding — when the GOP anti-CPB machine was at its loudest — a bipartisan poll (sponsored by PBS) found most people don’t want funding for public broadcasting cut.
Perhaps to allay their fears, Romney promised that the programming they’re used to won’t go away.
“We’re not going to kill Big Bird,” Romney said. “Big Bird’s going to have advertisements, alright?”