June 15, 2005

The Left Is Left Again (tip to VC)

I seem to recall some people once trying to tell me that MoveOn.Org and Howard Dean were libertarian-leaning Democrats, based largely on the theory that they opposed the war, supported gay marriage and wanted to balance the budget. Of course, the fact that they wanted to balance the federal budget by tax hikes instead of spending cuts and that they wanted their balanced budget to include a $1 trillion-plus guaranteed health insurance scheme didn't really enamor me to the theory. I've already blogged before on Howard Dean's centrist-interventionist record from Vermont, and now here's a MoveOn effort to prove they're just as conservative, pro-status quo and distrustful of private interaction as the next Democrats.

Apparently unwilling to believe that any popular or valuable television has ben produced by private interactions or private means - and despite the fact that MoveOn itself was created by private people without government funding - they're fighting an attempt by Congress to reduce funding for NPR and PBS. Of course, the MoveOn petition lies and says the House is deciding whether to eliminate all the funding and specifically mentions Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow to be targeted. In actuality, as Juan Non-Volokh points out, it's an attempt to reduce funding from $400 million to $300 million. Moreover, the popular shows would certainly continue on with other funding. The popular and well-watched shows won't be canceled.

It's amazing how little trust they have in private or market methods to maintain entertainment. Such fear-mongering is unwarranted.

According to this article from the World Screen News, Sesame Street is seen in 77 countries and is worth $1.5 billion in spin-offs. Blue's Clues generates a billion dollars annually for Nickelodeon. Does anybody really think that the money they get from their share of federal funding is going to make or break Sesame Street when it's half-again as profitable as the privately maintained Blue's Clues? Come on. Just nonsense.

Are we really going to say that this money is more important than other priorities? Is it more important than the deficit, more important than the debt, more important than tax cuts, more important than any other area where we could spend it? Of course not! It's not even necessary spending, because the best programs would all be continued without a doubt.

I think the left feels at rest with this issue, defending the clueless, the irrelevant and the unfairly protected, because they've been awkwardly arguing for 'fiscal responsibility' and 'balancing the budget' for too long. They're happy to get back to defending unnecessary public funding again. They tried to play it moderate and fiscally responsible, but it just wasn't them. To thine own socialist self be true.


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