McDonnell Doles Out Corporate Welfare, Slashes PBS as Not a “Core Function” of Government

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    According to our ever-hypocritical, right-wing ideologue Gov. Bob McDonnell, here’s why he decided to use his line item veto to hack PBS funding:

    …When I took office, I pledged to refocus state government on its core functions by finding ways to make government more efficient and effective, and to wisely spend the hard earned money of Virginia taxpayers.  That is why, in returning the signed appropriation bill, I have decided to reduce the appropriation made to public television and radio stations.  In today’s free market, with hundreds of radio and television programs, government should not be subsidizing one particular group of stations. We must get serious about government spending. That means funding our core functions well, and eliminating spending on programs and services that should be left to the private sector. This is a smart, practical budgeting decision to make Virginia government smaller and more efficient and save taxpayer dollars.

    This is wrong in just about every way conceivable, including the laughable notion that there’s a “free” market in broadcasting in this country. Did they teach Bob McDonnell any economics at Pat Robertson U? Apparently not.

    Specifically, though, why do I say that McDonnell’s a hypocrite? First, let’s start with McDonnell’s massive corporate welfare to Northrop Grumman and other corporations, a strategy that has produced minimal numbers of jobs for huge outlays (tens of millions of dollars, many times the cost of funding PBS) of taxpayer funds. Second, McDonnell is also a big fan of subsidizing wine, tourism, and film, none of which – as conservative blogger Norm Leahy pointed out – is a core function of government (“Where in Virginia’s Constitution, for instance, does it call for Virginia to serve as the marketing department for Virginia wine-makers?”). Third, McDonnell’s the same guy who just got slammed on national TV for his Big Lie that Virginia has a budget surplus.

    The thing is, if Bob McDonnell really believes that Virginia’s flush with cash – as he loves to brag all over the country – then why the urgent need to cut a couple million bucks {UPDATE: actually, make that a whopping $424,001}, absolutely nothing in the context of the $78 billion Virginia budget, from PBS? Obviously, it’s b.s.; just like his right wingnut brethren in the U.S. House of Representatives, McDonnell’s not really concerned about “sav[ing] taxpayer dollars,” he’s all about pursuing his extreme ideological agenda (in this case, because a significant number of people in his “base” falsely believe that PBS is “biased” against them) and rewarding the rich and powerful. Period. Everything else is just political rhetoric that certainly wouldn’t pass a PolitiFact (or any other) fact check.

    • Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) today criticized Governor McDonnell’s decision to cut pbs funding. Although the governor had previously proposed cuts in this area, his efforts had been rebuffed by the legislature. He has ignored their position and their vote to make this decision. Senator McEachin said, “I am very disappointed in this determination by the governor. The governor proposed this previously and the General Assembly, in a bipartisan vote, denied this plan.

      “Public Broadcasting is not just another television channel. For many Virginia families, PBS is an invaluable access to cultural and educational programming. Not all Virginians can afford a night at the theatre or at the symphony. Not all Virginia children have the opportunity for early academic exposure. PBS provides these services for every Virginian, with no charge. PBS provides enrichment for all of us, but particularly for those who have limited cultural and educational outlets. The reach and extent of PBS more than magnifies the limited contribution from the Commonwealth.

      I am very disappointed and dismayed in the governor’s decision. This kind of shortsighted and restrictive thinking will not help us lift every Virginian and ensure that every Virginian has the education, job skills and access to a range of information to make them successful.”

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    • ThinkProgress.org points out the federal NPR investment that the GOP wants to cut is only 1/1200th of the Big Oil subsidies they’re demanding to preserve.