economics free market

NPR funding

My facebook feed is full of my friends gnashing their teeth over attempts to defund NPR. The general theme seems to be , “Those damn Republicans! How stupid are they? We need NPR, the government should keep funding it!” For the record, I have enjoyed some public radio from time to time. Having said that, I’m puzzled by the attitude that is implied. Surely, if NPR was super important, people would go ahead and support it directly. I’m not trying to be snarky, I’m really trying to understand why people feel that it is important that the US government has to be a middleman for this seemingly important thing. I am really looking for a reason other than “Everyone else should pay for things that I think are important.” That’s not it, is it?


Whether they realize it or not, the angst seems to boil down to being unhappy at not being able to force other people to pay for those things. I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to most people and say that they have bought into the “government funded” trap. There is a lot of confusion as to where the money comes from. The government doesn’t fund anything, tax payers do. The dream of a free market guy is that people that value something would actually be the people that pay for it.

It doesn’t matter that the percentage of our tax bill going to NPR is tiny isn’t important. Shaking you down for fifty cents or fifty dollars is bullying all the same. Granted, I am paying a lot less for NPR than the various wars we’ve been fighting. I don’t like those either and I’m under no illusion what is the more pressing concern. I wish both Democrats and Republicans would keep their eye on what’s more important. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think that “listener supported radio” would be best, you know, supported by listeners. If there aren’t enough people willing to pay for it, that should tell you something…. I say that NPR should beat congress and cut ties to the taxpayers money. Rely on your listeners, it’s the honest thing to do.

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