Beyond “Big Bird”
The left quickly seized on the “Big Bird”-comment by Governor Romney in the first presidential debate. President Obama also came up with a good zinger in reply to the comment, although that was after he had a chance to sleep on it. Before you drag me to the gallows because I bring up Big Bird, a rather irrelevant topic by most accounts, there is a broader point I want to make.
Here are Romney’s comments in context:
ROMNEY: What things would I cut from spending? Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they don’t pass it: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I’ll get rid of it. Obamacare’s on my list.
I apologize, Mr. President. I use that term with all respect, by the way.
OBAMA: I like it.
ROMNEY: Good. OK, good. So I’ll get rid of that.
I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.
Tweets making this point have been all over Twitter today, but I want to reiterate that position here. First, we all realize that PBS receives a rather small amount in funding compared to the overall federal budget. No one is arguing that cutting spending for PBS is going to magically balance the budget by itself. But if we’re not ready to make tough decisions, which for example might include reduced funding for PBS, what are we going to do? Reach a balance budget by eliminating waste? That’s a pipedream if I ever saw one. Governor Christie would tell anyone that politicians have to make tough choices in order to create responsible budgets.
Republicans are often painted as anti-government anarchists who oppose all types of government spending. While it is a neat rhetorical trick employed by, among others, President Obama, it is far removed from the truth. For example, just because Republicans wanted to do away with spending on programs such as cowboy poetry, that does not mean that Republicans also oppose all infrastructure projects.
Most Republicans do however realize that the United States is on an unsustainable path that will lead to disaster. Just the other week the federal debt passed $16 Trillion and the brokest nation in history is still spending like a drunkard without the slightest concern for the future. Tough decisions are to be made if we want to right the ship, and the current administration has shown no sign of being ready for that challenge.