Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Politics

A Model for Cutting Government: Defund NPR

This election will give Republicans an opportunity -- more likely, a mandate -- to begin tackling big government. Painful as it may be, some government programs just have to go. The programs that are entirely funded by the government are the hardest ones to cut. The best we can hope for, at least in the short term, is some sort of reform of those programs (e.g., the welfare reform of the mid 90s). But there are a lot of partly federal, partly private programs that can more easily be set free. Enter NPR. 

NPR's firing of Juan Williams was hypocritical, badly done (over the phone, by some VP), and badly timed (right before this particular election and in the middle of NPR's fundraising week). While it is astounding how arrogant liberals have become after Obama's election, Republicans should thank NPR for what they have done, as they have put the spotlight on themselves as an opportunity for government reform. But Republicans need to be careful not to use the firing of Juan Williams as the reason to pull NPR off the federal teat. There is a much better reason. 

If Republicans want to scale back the size of government, one principle they can declare from the outset is that the government should not be funding programs that compete with the private market. If private companies are already doing something effectively, there is no reason for the government to get involved and compete with these private companies. In terms of news, we have more private companies involved than any of us could possibly follow. Just take a look down the left column of the Drudge Report to see the dozens of major news outlets already available to us.

NPR is claiming that less than 2% of their support comes from federal government sources. It looks like NPR's budget is around $152 million, which means they get a little over $3 million from the federal government. Okay, by government standards, that's not that much. But while NPR would like us to stop there, the story is not that simple. The federal government also gives $420 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting gives over $65 million  to local public radio stations. What do those local radio stations do with that money? According to NPR, 40% of their revenue (over $60 million) comes from these local radio stations as "Station Programming Fees." So yes, NPR receives only $3 million or so in direct federal money, but they receive another $60 million or so indirectly through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It would take a forensic accountant to really figure out what is going on here, but it is clear we are talking about a lot of money.
 
NPR should be given the opportunity, just like any other news outlet, of proving its relevance in the market. Many NPR listeners give money to NPR. A few years ago, Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, left $200 million in her estate to NPR. Clearly, they are capable of raising money on their own, and now is a great opportunity to set NPR free of its government subsidy. But Republicans should avoid doing this because of the unjustness of what NPR did to Juan Williams. They should do this with NPR -- and many other federally funded programs -- because the government should not be subsidizing organizations to compete where a strong private market already exists. If NPR survives, good for them. If not, I'm entirely confident that the only redeeming program on NPR -- Car Talk -- would have many offers from other networks and could easily survive very well on its own in the free market.
Categories > Politics

Discussions - 14 Comments

NPR Soros grant announced day they fired Juan.
Via Howard Kurtz in Daily Beast: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-10-21/nprs-juan-williams-disaster/

Juan spoke for you guys, right? Do you have it on-line?

His talk during our Presidential Academy program for teachers is on-line at:
http://www.presidentialacademy.org/2006audioarchive.html#28

Today NPR, tomorrow the USPS?
Hey! there is hope for change!

Soros gets his billions from a very, very profitable oil company that he owns in Brazil, South America - Petrobras. This Soros-owned company does tons of OFF SHORE Drilling and Soros reaps the benefits - profits - a true capitalist at heart. So true, that he gives millions away to U.S. Senators and Congressman who believe in global warming and will not allowing drilling of any type in the United States. Gee, I wonder why.

While both radio and the postal service are declining growth industries(I send 1000 emails per letter). I can think of several reasons why privitizing the USPS would be ill advised.

The government can safely exit radio and television we can cut out the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR loose.

On the other hand you know how the democrats will play this. They will use a sort of "conservative/nostalgia" claim that doing this will put an end to the good old days when you didn't need to have cable to watch TV, and talk about FDR and fireside chats, the times before Reagan got rid of the fairness doctrine, when there were still serious people on the radio, and it wasn't just howard stern and glenn beck(serious people of a different temperament).

Now you need cable to watch tv and the market even tries to get you to go for monthly fee satellite radio!

So defund the corporation for public broadcasting, but beware of old people, who still listen to radio.

Satellite radio of course is doing horrible, or it is doing incredible. I mean in 2010 it is doing incredible more than doubling as SIRI traded from 60 cents to 1.30. More than a double! In 2009 it started at 10 cents a share and moved up to 60 cents. 6 fold in 2009, and 13 fold thru 2010.

Had the government bailled out satellite radio, they could all be patting themselves on the back for getting tax payer money back and then some.

Of course future expectations for satellite radio were rather astronomical in 2000, when SIRI traded at 63 a share, and the stock is down considerably from its split adjusted IPO price of $4 in 1994. Ironically the stock hit 1.69 in 1994 as the insiders probably considered the IPO a joke...before catching fire for 6 years, in the hayday of howard stern.

It is interesting to note that the SIRI of 2000 is NFLX (netflix) IPO at around 7 in 2002 followed by a drop to 3.00 in the same year, followed by a more or less recession proof constant run up to 170 in 2010.

Of course there are good reasons to think the internet and cell phone are more bankable establishments than sattelite radio.

Netflix might be overvalued but it tells me that radio is dead, that tv as it might have existed in a bygone era is dead, and that entertainment itself needs to be reconceived. Trips to blockbuster and familly video are nostalgic.

Note: Blockbuster filled for bankrupcy today, this follows its delisting from the NYSE on July 2nd.

It is long past time to axe the corporation for public broadcasting.

I'm not against Fed funding of NPR because private entities are providing the same service; I'm against it because it's grossly unConstitutional The USPS is Constitutional. Fed funding of a broadcasting network is not. that's all we ought to need to know.

NPR is also a regressive tax. We all fund it, but its listeners tend to be one the wealthy side.

only redeeming program on NPR is 'CAR TALK'?
Give me a break- what about all the other shows and the in-depth news which provide us with world-wide coverage in 8 minute segments commercial free?

NPR is a national treasure that doesn't scream and tries its best to be non-partisan- thus the firing of Juan.

My Grandparents and parents listen and they are Republicans- be careful- you Obama haters may add another group to the list of people who have a problem with your radical, right-wing agenda.

PS- IF ITS ABOUT MONEY... NPR COSTS THE GOVERNMENT LESS THAN 15 MINUTES OF THE COST OF THE BUSH WAR OF LIES IN IRAQ.

Why do you hate America?

NPR is a national treasure that doesn't scream and tries its best to be non-partisan- thus the firing of Juan.

Ah, yes, such fine, gentle, nonpartisan moments as Nina Totenberg expressing her hope that Jesse Helms contract AIDS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7msrF1V4NeY

The worthwhile things on NPR would certainly survive without taxpayer funding, though probably somewhere else.

I must admit, though I couldn't care less about Car Talk, I regularly enjoy the (admittedly left-leaning) Satuday news quiz Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me! Like Jon Stewart, they don't claim to be fair and balanced. But, if you're competing for laughs, you can't ingnore the crazies on the Left. I'll also admit that it does add an extra sweetness when quoting a particularly funny barb aimed at Obama or Reid to cite NPR as the source.

So, what your saying is NPR costs $0.20 per American per year. Is that right? (63,000,000 / 310,000,000 = 0.2032) Then, yes let's defund every cent in order to save America.

Hmm.. $63 million for NPR... what about the $206.5 million we taxpayers pay for Voice Of America? We should cut that even faster yes?

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/15786