Time for a Sesame Street Shakedown

Social Security has been the legendary third rail of politics, the topic you don’t touch unless you like being toast. Apparently there is a fourth rail of politics: public broadcasting. Though it seems unlikely in a free nation that people would rally behind State Television, it’s what’s happening.

When Mitt Romney said in Thursday's debate that funding for public broadcasting would be on the chopping block, the Democrats threw a cookie monster-esque fit.

Mitt Romney made a great point: he’s going through the budget, and will decide which items are not worth borrowing money from China to pay for. PBS is at the top of the list. It makes no sense to borrow money from China to air Sesame Street so the Children's Television Workshop  can sell more Elmo dolls -- made in China.

The chosen ambassador for public broadcasting is Big Bird. Democrats know they’re not going to get any sympathy with a slobbering Garrison Keillor, so they went for something cuddly. They have to put an adorable face on the the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, because corporations are not people (but Big Bird is -- sort of). Big Bird evokes fond childhood Gen X memories, of sitting on the shag carpeting in front of the old rabbit-eared television set.

PBS was started in an age when there were only three networks, and you had to get off the couch to change the channel. Back then, pads were kept in the bathroom, and DVD was a neurological disorder. Subsidizing PBS today is like giving away free government typewriter ribbons.

If PBS can no longer afford Big Bird’s rider without a government subsidy, there are hundreds of commercial networks that would be more than happy to move his trailer to their backlot and keep it stocked with imported worms. What’s wrong with the nation's largest toy franchise going commercial? Dora the Explorer could teach those Muppets a thing or dos about a work ethic. But isn’t that the way it always goes? The jobs all get taken by illegal aliens willing to work while Americans are waiting for a handout.

Our kids are sacked out in front of the TV inflating the First Lady’s obesity stats while Chinese kids are busy working. “You make sure you finish watching that TV program; there are children in China locked in a workhouse to pay for it!”

We’re supposed to be the adults. Kids don’t understand the concept of debt. It’s up to us to decide whether saddling them with unsustainable debt is worth teaching them how to count like a vampire. One trillion, two trillion… ah, ah, ah...

Someday Mommy ‘s going to have to tell her kids how they have to speak Chinese now, because she wanted to watch Thomas the Tank Engine when she was a girl.

And tomorrow’s episode will be brought to you, by the letter “?


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