Why do PBS and KNPR receive public funding?
That’s the question raised yesterday by Cato’s David Boaz, who calls PBS “a public menace.” He raises some great points about the television station’s questionable obsolescence:
What, in a world of hundreds of radio and TV channels, is so special about PBS and NPR that they should get $420 million a year of taxpayers’ money?
When I was a boy growing up in western Kentucky, with three TV networks, it was understandable that people thought an “educational” network would add something important. But my brother’s kids in that same little town later had access to hundreds of cable stations.
PBS used to ask, “If not PBS, then who?” The answer now is: HBO, Bravo, Discovery, History, History International, Science, Planet Green, Sundance, Military, C-SPAN 1/2/3 and many more.
Further, Boaz highlights that KNPR listeners are statistically much more affluent than the average American and asks why working- and middle-class taxpayers should be forced to subsidize the news and entertainment preferences of the rich. Good question – but subsidies for KNPR are but one of many regressive wealth transfers effected by federal and state governments. Others include: the Fed’s inflationary policies that transfer real wealth holdings from American households to wealthy Wall Street bankers and the US Treasury, farm subsidies, subsidized universities, renewable energy subsidies and a plethora of other government programs designed to plunder the working and middle classes for the benefit of special interests.