Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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October 11, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Oct. 11, 2012

Attention, liberals: Big Bird among 1%

One might think that it has something to do with Halloween, as folks dressed in Big Bird costumes show up at Mitt Romney campaign stops. They are not there to trick-or-treat, though. These folks are expressing their opposition to Mr. Romney’s remarks about reducing taxpayer funding to PBS. So costumed characters are showing up with accusations that Mitt Romney is out to kill Big Bird. Seriously?

First, recognize that recommendations to reduce funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are included in proposals from the Obama administration’s Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission. Why then has Big Bird not been making appearances at Mr. Obama’s campaign stops?

Second, PBS affiliates have become increasingly corporatized. In spite of receiving multiples of millions of dollars from foundations, such as the George Soros Open Society Institution, and support from “viewers like you,” they still demand the siphoning of taxpayer revenues.

Third, in the three years from 2003 to 2006, “Sesame Street” received more than $200 million from toy and consumer product revenues. According to the not-for-profit 990 tax form, Sesame Street Workshop president and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 in compensation in 2008. Know any not-for-profits in any of our fair towns paying hundreds of thousands of dollars out in compensation? And continuing to demand taxpayer funding to boot?

Folks can show up dressed in Big Bird costumes if they want; it is near Halloween, after all. But perhaps they should pause and consider this: Trick-or-treat! Big Bird is a 1-percenter!

Charles A. Layne, Bunker Hill

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