Tipton’s rationale is one-sided
I recently received a response from Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) addressing my concerns for the proposed elimination of funding for public broadcasting. In it, he notes that he believes public broadcasting “is capable of funding itself through private resources.” Although I respect the difficult task we face in getting the federal budget under control, I find the rationale he gives for the elimination of funding for public broadcasting to be indicative of what seems to be a blindingly narrow partisan perspective towards the current budget debate.
To assert that the grossly disproportionate proposed funding cuts to education, health, environmental protection, child and family welfare, and, as in this case, public broadcasting are being done out of a sense of fiscal responsibility is rich in hypocrisy. In recent legislative activity, Rep. Tipton in fact voted against considering a motion to amend H.J. Res. 44 that would have cut the substantial tax subsidies for major oil companies and potentially added over $45 billion to the federal budget over the next ten years. Such a notion has recently been supported by the likes of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), former Shell Oil CEO John Hoffmeister, and at one time even by former President George W. Bush, all asserting that in times of high oil prices, subsidies provide little, if any, additional incentive for exploration and development. Combined with forward-looking cuts and stimulus strategies, such measures may go much further to enhance the region’s long-term economic health than the reactionary tactics being seen in the current legislative arena. If it is Tipton’s rationale that a sector does not need public support when it is capable of sustaining itself through private resources, it very well deserves to be directed at entities other than those seemingly contrary to his ideological views.
The concern surrounding eliminating funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting seems, again, to be indicative of a reactionary and, in some cases, even retributive approach to governing seen in the current political arena. It is with respect that I hope that any discontentment around the current budget debate can be directed to press Mr. Tipton to be more inclusive and prudent in his public service.