Big Bird’s big issue

By Christopher McKnight

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In the first presidential debate, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that he would stop subsidizing unnecessary companies that don’t need it, such as PBS. He went on to say that he liked Big Bird but that we need to end spending somewhere to turn our economy around. Since these comments, the Obama campaign has released ads showing how Romney is trying to “Fire Big Bird” and that “Wall Street isn’t the problem; it’s Sesame Street.” But now Sesame Street is requesting that the Obama campaign removes these ads.

A large portion of our growing $16 trillion debt is owed to China. Consequently, we need to stop spending money that we don’t have or else we will never be able to pay back these debts. Romney proposed the basic idea that we can no longer sustain this debt and that we must begin to pay it back.  An example of how to begin paying back this debt was to end subsidizing it to non-essential companies. And Romney is right.

PBS was just an example of a company that the government feeds tax money that could survive without these funds. Sesame Street is capable of running on its own private funds. Just because federal funding goes away doesn’t mean the job doesn’t exist. The money the people receive from all the movies, toys and clothes is just going right to the investors. If the government is paying for this, why do private individuals get to gain profit from it? It’s clear that no company wants to be the first one who no longer gets money from the government but we need to start somewhere.

Another example, of a more controversial issue, is the cutting of Pell Grants out of the budget.   Approximately $36 billion a year go to Pell Grants under the Obama administration. When the idea of Pell Grants was established, it was originally a way for just poor students to be able to attend college. But now, about 58 percent of college students receive these grants, and because so many people are given access to them, the price of college tuition ultimately rises. This is just another example of the government spending excessive amounts of money with nothing to show for it.

The liberal media has taken Romney’s statement and gone off the deep end with it. Romney doesn’t want to “Fire Big Bird,” he was just making a valid point. The commercial makes a mockery of Romney’s plan to help save the budget.  Obama’s campaign has since been instructed to take Big Bird out of the commercial.  A Twitter account called @FiredBigBird has been created, which parodies the statement.

After watching the vice presidential debate on Thursday, it became clear that Vice President Joe Biden doesn’t take our mounting issues seriously.  Between his Heath Ledger-like cackles and constant interruptions of Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, he avoided questions pertaining to solving the debt crisis and failed to give a clear plan going forward.  After the debate, it was said by a commentator on left-leaning CNN that this administration will continue its failed policies and continue to see the same results.

Ryan’s plan, however, is much more reassuring. The GOP vice presidential nominee has a plan to cut government spending to help protect taxpayers. He also wants to alter the Obama administration’s policies regarding foreign oil, and begin implementing a strategy to unlock and use American energy. This would not only create jobs, but also keep the cost of energy down. With Americans using American energy, it would decrease dependence on foreign oil. Ryan wants to decrease the corporate tax rate to 25 percent to promote growth.

We have to stop spending money somewhere. It’s ridiculous that the government is providing a private sector service. Big Bird and Sesame Street are just too big to disappear. If they were to be eliminated from the government grasps, the private sector would embrace the opportunity to market these names in its own way. Companies such as Nickelodeon or Disney would take this advantage and turn it into economic gain, without using government money to fund it.  The important aspect to come away with is that cuts in the government’s budget do not necessarily mean that these things will disappear.  It merely highlights the fact that the fat needs to be trimmed, and that this is one of many things that will no longer be funded by the government.

If the government stops subsidizing money to the private sector, our deficit will drop and ultimately help our economy. With Romney and Ryan’s plan, our economy will be back on track and America can retain its super power status. We just need to start spending our money smarter.

Chris McKnight is the head of public relations for the UMass Republican Club. He can be reached at [email protected]