On October 3, 2012 former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney promised that, if he were to be elected President of the United States, he would make a point to cut funding for PBS as part of a sweeping plan to lower the federal budget deficit.
The logic behind this decision seems sound: ‘is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it, if not I’ll get rid of it’.
Awesome… so let’s start cutting the defense budget, right? The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports that the entire world will spend a total of $1.735 trillion on defense in 2012. The United States will spend $711 billion all by itself, or 41 percent of the global total.
Surely Mr. Romney, is willing to see the illogic of the Department of Defense spending nearly as much as the entire world combined on its military. Even if he sees China and Russia as geopolitical enemies neither nation has any hope of presenting an honest military challenge to the mighty United States.
American military primacy is even more entrenched when one considers the fact that every other member of the Top 15 military spenders is a rock solid ally of the United States – India and Brazil are closer to lukewarm allies than rock solid, but they are certainly not enemies or even opponents.
In addition, if we are in fact borrowing all of this money from China, do we really want to defund our Treasury borrowing money that we will have to pay back to Beijing just to build weapons?
Surely Mr. Romney agrees that military spending has to be on the same chopping block as Big Bird and Elmo… or not.
No cuts to the bloated military budget. Absolutely none. Really? We lose Nova and Sesame Street because Mitt Romney isn’t willing to ask the United States Marine Corps to make due with just 338 sparkling new F-35B Lightning II joint-strike fighters instead of their requested 340?
At a cost of $237.7 million each, Romney could pay for PBS (the program receives a $444 million annual federal subsidy) and give a tax break to a handful of his rich friends in exchange for two fewer F-35s that serve no purpose outside of the Call of Duty and Battlefield video games.
It is fine to talk about how much you want to reel in the budget. I want to reel in the budget too. But I want to have a grownup conversation about the budget. Mitt Romney took a look at a $3.729 trillion behemoth budget with a $1.101 trillion deficit and artfully sliced out 0.04 percent of that bad boy.
Just 99.96% left to go! Also, your kids no longer get to see Big Bird in the mornings. I’m sure that’s worth it.