Free Markets, Free People

The NPR kerfuffle and subsidies

Call it the obligatory NPR story, but I found the video of the NPR exec talking to a couple of fake Muslim Brotherhood types to be pretty revealing about the attitude of that particular organization.

And, like you, I’m sure, wondered “why, again are we subsidizing this particular entity?” 

Of course I’d like to see government get out of the subsidy business altogether and yes that includes corporate welfare as well.

But this thing with NPR hit a particular nerve that goes beyond that.  It clearly exposes a bias that certainly didn’t require much prodding from the fake Muslims to expose.

Ron Schiller, the NPR executive, is a real “treasure”.  He tells the “Muslims” that NPR fired Juan Williams because it provides "non-racist, non-bigoted, straightforward telling of the news"  and apparently William’s association with Fox News ran counter to that.  At the same time he goes on a racist, bigoted and frankly uninformed rant about the Tea-Party, was open (or at least didn’t condemn) to slamming Jews and chuckled at the suggestion that radical Muslims called NPR “National Palestine Radio”.

He also said "it is clear that we would be better off in the long run without federal funding."

That’s been clear to me for decades.   But for some reason, or perhaps multiple reasons, each time ending the subsidy to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (the organization that passes those funds on to NPR) is brought up, we’re told that NPR can’t survive without it.

Uh, fine, so let it “wither on the vine”.  NPR will either do that or find a way to survive and, per Schilling, it really would be better off without it.

I say grant his wish. 

As David Harsanyi asks:

The function and purpose of government has been rather expansive over the past few decades. Do we really believe that providing tax subsidies for entertainment and journalism is one of the charges of government?

No.  Neither is it a charge of government to provide corporations with subsidies, or ethanol producers, mohair producers, “green energy” companies, farmers, or any of a almost endless list of those given subsidy via government.

NPR’s particular case will probably see it’s subsidy ended – not because it is the right thing to do and as a precedent for ending subsidies everywhere, but because Ron Shilling made it indefensible by the left.

Looking at the list of subsidies this government pays out gives one the understanding as to how deep government’s tendrils are and how many there are.  If subsidies were a cancer, I’m sure the doctor would pronounce the disease to be in stage 4.

It is a habit – an addiction – we have to break if we’re ever to see “smaller, less intrusive and less expensive government.”  Let’s start with NPR, but for the right reasons.



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24 Responses to The NPR kerfuffle and subsidies

  • NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller certainly seemed to adhere to Sharia by letting the man do all or most the talking.
    The board handed her her ass.  She’s history.

  • Frankly, I see this as part of a bigger problem.
    My local government recently passed a ban on outdoor burning, except for food cooking.  So, now I have to keep a raw chicken or some marshmallows handy if I do any burning.  Their prize was a grant from EPA for $65,000.
    Now imagine if I went over the my local supervisors and offered $65,000 to pass a law.  They would put me in jail for bribery because I offered a “quid pro quo” but exactly how is that any different than what EPA did ?

    • The EPA is doing it (wait for it!)…

      FOR THE CHILDREN! Or the earth, or something…

  • Ms. Schiller is out da doe, and the Federal $$$ will be close behind.
    But this is merely a bucket drop.  And the problem is that the central government has been allowed to metathesize completely beyond its charter.
    Maybe…perhaps…we have seen the tipping point, and that will finally be remedied.

  • My new bumper sticker will be:
    Defund National Propaganda Radio

  • As Bruce McQuain says over at QandO

    NPR’s particular case will probably see it’s subsidy ended – not because it is the right thing to do and as a precedent for ending subsidies everywhere, but because Ron Shilling made it indefensible by the left.

    NPR’s staff did this to NPR

  • Sometimes you get the feeling that Liberal vs Conservative is much like White vs Black.

  • Jim Geraghty notes the colossal severance packages that have been given to previous outgoing executives – former CEO Kenneth Stern received $872,189 when he stepped down. Considering NPR’s claims regarding the absolute necessity of maintaining its federal funding, the severance pay Schiller receives is a tangentially-relevant political question.

    Read more:

  • During the Middle Ages, patronage of the arts was the sole province of the baronial class.
    With the development of market economics, the common man became the primary source of income for the artists, who competed for their custom.
    We have come fully to the day when the New Barons of the political class are the patrons of the arts.

    • Complete with taxpayer subsidies for Cowboy Poetry and “Piss Christ”, not to mention San-Fran Nan’s declaration that we should provide subsidies for medical coverage for these artists so they can do ‘art’.
      Call me a rude barbarian, thanks, I’ll subsidize art as I see fit, not as I’m ordered to.

  • And Ronnie not only had to resign from NPR yesterday (doing it earlier than he’d planned), but he also lost the new job at the Aspen Institute.
    In two days, two people lost three jobs.  I find that fairly impressive.

  • Meanwhile the Lame Stream Media continues to play the ‘heavily edited video’ theme for the sting.
    Shocking that NPR would respond to a ‘heavily edited video’ in such a fashion.

  • really? like cutting npr wil make a difference to the national budget? these are meaningless steps that wouldnt make a difference in the grand scheme of things. if the right had real guts they would cut social security and medicare but they wont. they are simply the other side of the coin. never mind the huge amount of waste in the military….. here we go again with selective measures that attack liberal interest without cleaning your own house first. doesnt the bible say “let he without sin cast the first stone….”

    • Actually, clearing out all of the “tilt” in the system is very important. Good luck getting elected on social security reform when even Pres. Obama won’t touch it with a ten foot pole. His own commission said to do something…so where is his leadership? Has the Senate agreed to pass such reforms? No.
      As usual, those on the left want the GOP to commit suicide. Social Security reform will happen when the money runs out. We are not quite there yet. If we had a non-biased NPR that could explain that all of those promises made by (D) people that they were “paying into” a system were lies it would help.

  • Just saw late report that O’Keefe did the same thing with PBS executives.

    I guess the Illuminati will be careful about who they have lunch with from now on.

  • There is another aspect to the tape, one not as recognizably incendiary, but one that splays the motivational heart of the progressive left.  At 4:06 of this vid, Schiller says,

    Well, to me, this is representative of the thing that I.. I guess I am most disturbed and disappointed by in this country; which is that the educated so called elites, in this country is too small a percentage of the population – so that you have this very large uneducated part of the country that carries these ideas.

    This is so typical of the left, and so typical of the last five decades of college educated liberals.  They view themselves, mostly undeservedly, as vanguards of a new order, heaven on earth if you will.  Coddled yet subtly badgered into ideological submission, they just know (and wholly without empirical evidence) that their Utopian dreams can be realized – if only the stupid people (natch, definitionally those who disagree) are kept silent.
    It hearkens back to an observation I, along with many others have made.  These preening pseudo-intellectual gumbies can not comprehend the fact that their arguments have been heard, honestly considered and then have been summarily rejected.  So mired in their own sense of brilliance and benevolence, it is beyond Schiller’s et al comprehension that educated folks can have an intellectually honest disagreement.  And to further accentuate their willful ignorance, they fawningly accept as an honest viewpoint, an ideology promising existential threats, eg radical Islam/Jihadism/Shariah (to prove their magnanimity and tolerance), all the while refusing to fairly broadcast a point of view much closer to their own (conveniently constructed to appear hateful, and of course truly evil).
    Yes the right has its own flaws (many that coincide with the lefts), but in my thirty years of following politics, I have never seen such blatant examples of projection.  What first world leftists accuse conservatives of, is played in spades by themselves;  and they are utterly blind to this.  The left has been rendered intellectually sterile by a hermetically sealed echo chamber of their own making – and that chamber will either be breached by friendly forces, or will be ruthlessly and irrevocably shattered by their “enemies enemy.”
    It takes a certain kind of person to admit their error, unfortunately, few exist within present day’s left.

    • As a mind game, consider a similar surreptitiously taped conversation, but instead with two representatives of, say the Koch brothers bandying about $5M.  Anyone doubt the brain-trust of NPR would have acted differently?

    • Just to emphasize the point, this is Big Tent of Jeralyn Merritt’s site Talk Left; sometimes a good site for lefty legal insight.

      Economic reality tells us that it is not the time to reduce government spending as the nation continues to suffer from insufficient aggregate demand, slack that the private sector is simply not capable of picking up at this time. So, if we must address the deficit now, the most efficient (not to mention fair and decent) policy choice is to raise taxes on the rich.

      Yep, economic reality tells us this.  That is Keynesian economic reality as professed by the liberal intelligentsia of the past five decades, the erstwhile vanguard ushering in the yearned for utopia.

      I ask that question because voters, for whatever reason, seem comfortable with a system that protects the rich and punishes the middle class and the poor.

      Straight out of the liberal manifesto (and a community organizer’s handbook) – anyone who disagrees with his prognostications must, ipso facto, want to punish the middle class and poor.  I’m telling you, these folks learned an argument years ago, long protected by a media shroud, that is fraying.  Only they are still stuck in that oh-so comforting ivory tower echo chamber.  Either by ego or willful ignorance they refuse to accept reality.

  • McQ – [L]ike you, I’m sure, wondered “why, again are we subsidizing this particular entity?”

    Are we talking about NPR or the UN?  Oh, well, it doesn’t matter, really: the US taxpayer is funding both of these bloated, anti-American organizations.

  • Anybody notice the irony of Schiller slamming “fundamentalist Christians” to a group representing fundamentalist Muslims (i.e, the Muslim Brotherhood)?

    Or do you think Schiller is stupid enough to actually believe that garbage about the MB being “secular”?

  • Does anyone here recall that on Sept. 10, 2001, then Secretary of War* Donald Rumsfeld announced to a press conference that our biggest threat was the military bureaucracy (or military-industrial-legislative-intel complex), and that one sign of this was that $2.3 or $2.4 Trillion (I seem to recall that it was out of a single year’s tsunami of bucks for the Pentagon) in appropriations could not be accounted for?
    Does anyone here recall that, by some rational folks’ reckoning, the military budget, including separate Emergency appropriations–each year for the past 10 years for two wars & occupations, and Veterans’ Affairs (like the money it will take to care for the high number of surviving but maimed, PTSD’d teen-age veterans who will need expensive medical, psychiatric and prosthetic care for the rest of their hopefully long and productive lives**) accounts for 56% (fifty-six per cent) of the latest national budget?  And that others knowledgeable about the War Department’s budget estimate that the Pentagon wastes/loses about 25% (one quarter) of its money every year.
    I don’t claim to be a budget expert by a long shot, but isn’t it a complete misplacement of human energy to argue about mere millions (or billions) when more than half of our budget–our “taxpayer money” drawn from the middle class–goes for war, and one quarter of that is blown away, stolen, who-knows-what, every year. And shouldn’t we also be talking about the billions of dollars “salarymen” (& women) must pay into the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) kitty for Social Security & Medicare, when those funds actually just go into the General Fund, out of which (I think) the War Department can draw down in order to waste it, steal it, fail to account for it?  We might just as well go back to full-scale debates in Congress and the nation on just how many “banksters” will fit through the eye of a needle. Or how many embryos will fit on the head of a pin.
    Does no one have any sense of proportion about how badly our national priorities are skewed? And how stupidly we waste time arguing  about pennies for this and pennies for that, about “lefties” and “righties” and “socialists” and “TaxedEnoughAlreadyPartiers” while out the back door truckloads of Benjamins are racing. Why would ANY thoughtful person waste time on these penny-ante “wedge” issues when our “ruling class” of richies, our ruling Plutocrats, are robbing us blind by the trillions of dollars–$1,000,000,000,000, or $1.0 to the 12th power, isn’t it?
    And perhaps even worse, our criminal plutocrats (who do believe in socialism and communalism for themselves only) are now stealing money that we’ve borrowed from other nations. This is embezzlement, theft, robbery (as certainly weapons are involved, at least in the threat/fright propaganda), mulcting, misprision–go to your thesaurus for more synonyms.
    Time to climb out of the sandbox, boys ‘n’ girls, flush the sand out of our eyes and take a good hard look at just what has happened to our representational Republic, supposedly guided by the Constitution of the United States of America, while we’ve been pissing on one another over irrelevancies.
    You want to argue about the pittance that goes to NPR? Why not argue about how we should be using our public airways to provide for the broadcast of political advertising, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For FREE. That might eliminate 60% to 70% of the “expense” of running for political office.
    You want to argue about the pittance that goes to NPR? Why not argue about making it a requirement that ALL CONTRIBUTIONS OF ECONOMIC VALUE to government officials be posted on the internet, overnight–and posted to both the lobbyists’ websites (contributors) and the officials’ websites.
    You want to argue about the pittance that goes to NPR? Why not argue about requiring all legislation, rules and regulations to have a Statement of Economic Benefit, right after the “short title” or “statement of purpose”? This statement would list all contributors, all things of economic benefit, all recipients, AND the anticipated economic benefit to be realized from the legislation, rules & regs. Said statement of economic benefit to be posted to the website of contributors/recipients overnight, as well.
    And once a year, at tax time, all donor and donee accounts to be subject to the Windfall Return on Political Investments (ROPI) Profits Tax. Lobbyists, individuals, corporations (which are now “people too” according to the five singing justices in the Supremes–Untied Citizens vs. Fed. Elect. Commish.) are to be allowed to make a profit equal to the Fed’s prime interest rate for all their lobbying, donating, hosting, etc., efforts. Anything over that percentage would be subject to the Windfall ROPI Profits Tax–a flat tax of 100%. No more $700 billion in “bail-out benefits” for a mere $60 million or so in Wall Street Casino Operator contributions. That’s $60,000,000 gets you $700,000,000,000–or, knock off the zeros, and it’s $6 gets you $700,000–or a profit of something like 116,666%, if I’ve done my arithmetic aright.
    To sweeten the pot, we eliminate ALL limitations on campaign contributions, bribes, etc. Anything goes–money, drugs, sex, jobs for relatives, gifts, etc.  But everything of economic value (including photo-ops with big-wigs) must be declared and posted overnight by both donor and donee.
    And to provide incentives for complete and overnight posting (disclosure), we provide fines of no less than 100 times the received or potential economic benefits involved, and prison sentences of no less than three times the total number of years the public official(s) involved have served in office. As an example, if the matter involved the late Sen. Rob’t. Byrd, with 50 years in office, the prison term would be 150 years. Anyone reading these new statutes and/or rules should get the very clear impression that 1) Anything can be contributed and that 2) everything that is contributed must be disclosed no later than overnight of the day on which the economic benefit was received or could be deemed to have accrued (as in the case of legislative filings).
    So do you still want to waste your time, energy, brain-power debating penny-ante horse-puckey like the NPR ruckus? Or the meaning of “socialism,” and “right-wing folderol”? I’d say these topics are just a smokescreen, to cover up the ongoing theft of the nation’s wealth, the stripping of manufacturing and infrastructure assets, the reduction of Americans’ standard of living to 2nd-world and even 3rd-world status, as the Wall Street Casino operators start Ponzi-ing our money on gasoline delivery prices, corn, wheat, iridium, copper–any and all commodities. (And still the consumer price index does not include the cost of fuel–automotive and human (aka food.)
    * Inasmuch as the so-called “Defense Department” was unable to “defend” its own HQ on 9/11/2001, unable to “defend” World Trade Center’s buildings #7, #2 and #1 against “attacks” by some 21 or so co-conspirators–and was apparently only able to shoot down one domestic “hijacked” passenger jet (despite the trillions of dollars in taxpayer money we’ve poured into the Pentagon’s inner black hole)–yet can launch two invasions, wars and subsequent shaky occupations, I opt for the WWII term “War Department” as being a more precise description of what the Pentagon actually does with at least some of the money we give it.
    ** There’s a book out by Columbia U’s Joseph E. Stiglitz & Hvd’s Linda J. Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War, which (as summed up by this Publisher’s Weekly précis on Amazon) has this to say about the cost of the wars and occupations:

    Readers may be surprised to learn just how difficult it was for Nobel Prize-winning economist Stiglitz and Kennedy School of Government professor Bilmes to dig up the actual and projected costs of the Iraq War for this thorough piece of accounting. Using “emergency” funds to pay for most of the war, the authors show that the White House has kept even Congress and the Comptroller General from getting a clear idea on the war’s true costs. Other expenses are simply overlooked, one of the largest of which is the $600 billion going toward current and future health care for veterans. These numbers reveal stark truths: improvements in battlefield medicine have prevented many deaths, but seven soldiers are injured for every one that dies (in WWII, this ratio was 1.6 to one). Figuring in macroeconomic costs and interest-the war has been funded with much borrowed money-the cost rises to $4.5 trillion; add Afghanistan, and the bill tops $7 trillion. {my emphasis supplied}

    • PPS:
      the bold-face type should have ended after: “…25% (one quarter) of its money every year.”

      I must have deleted the </b> switch. apologies.


    • Uh no, I don’t want to argue about what goes to NPR – I want it eliminated.

      Hard to understand?