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Reason Alert: Michael Moore, Being Broke and NPR

Michael Moore says we aren't broke, but reality begs to differ

March 11, 2011

- Michael Moore Says We Aren't Broke, Reality Begs to Differ
- Free NPR!
- Ten of the last 11 Recessions Were Preceded by Oil Price Hikes
- No-Fly Zone Over Libya?
- Complete Annual Privatization Report
- New at Reason  

Michael Moore Says We Aren't Broke, Reality Begs to Differ Editor Nick Gillespie writes:
"The nation is not broke, my friends," opines guerilla filmmaker and amateur accountant Michael Moore. "Wisconsin is not broke. Saying that the country is broke is repeating a Big Lie." Relax, America, it turns out that all that talk about local, state, and federal government being broke is just total B.S. or, as The New York Times puts it, "obfuscating nonsense...a scare tactic employed for political ends." Moore is a bit skimpy on evidence, simply asserting that all we need to do to make things right is to shake down rich people who "have diverted...wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates." The Times' case isn't much more compelling. "A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more 'broke' than a family with a mortgage or a college loan," says the paper of record. "And states have to balance their budgets."  OK, but what should you call a family or a country that spent about 20 percent of GDP for each of the past 60 years while raising less than 18 percent of GDP each year? And that is facing a massive balloon payment (let's call it entitlement spending on Medicare and Social Security) in the not-too-distant future? And has to keep borrowing money just to pay today's bills? And has no chance of increasing its take-home pay to cover its expenses? It's a pretty safe bet that most of us would call that family or country broke. Or something along those lines. Here are federal deficit projections from President Barack Obama's own proposed 2012 budget. He predicts that the red ink will continue to flow for as long he may be in office.
Nick Gillespie: Three Essential Facts About Our Finances Veronique de Rugy: The Truth About the State Pension Crisis
Jacob Sullum: Tiny Budget Cuts, Big Complaints
Friday Funnies: Public Workers and The Man

Free NPR!
In a column for CNN today, Reason magazine Editor in Chief Matt Welch writes: "Let's drain some of the tension out of the room: I don't care what fundraisers at radio stations say in private conversations. I listen to my local National Public Radio affiliate every morning. I'm glad PBS' Frontline exists, I think To the Point host Warren Olney is a national treasure, and I have freely given money to public broadcasting in the past. Problem is, I have been unfreely giving money to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for decades now, as have scores of millions of people who do not share my qualified fondness for what those pleasant-sounding 'erudites' produce. The amount of federal money given to the CPB is a rounding error of a rounding error in our gargantuan federal budget: 0.01% of $3.834 trillion, if I have my math right. In both cost savings and generalized country improvement, removing taxpayer money from NPR and PBS ranks distantly behind ending ethanol subsidies or agricultural subsidies or the Department of Agriculture altogether. But the public broadcasting subsidy shares something in common with corporate welfare schemes everywhere, whether for Archer Daniels Midland (one of NPR's biggest sponsors, incidentally), film productions or your local professional sports venue: It forces taxpayers to fund other people's cultural preferences...De-coupling from the federal government would allow NPR to sell advertising. Its executives could talk as much trash as they want to about Republicans and Tea Partiers, and few people would care. We no longer would be subjected to this perennial sideshow and obsequious tip-toeing around political sensibilities. And best of all, at a time when governments at every level are out of money, we wouldn't force taxpayers to fund the listening habits of people who hate them."
David Harsanyi: The Elmo "Vendetta"

Gas Prices and Energy

Ten of the last 11 Recessions Were Preceded by Oil Price Hikes Should the Government Subsidize Renewable Energy?
John Stossel: President Obama's Green-Jobs Fantasy
Tim Cavanaugh: Has Anybody Seen Jimmy Carter Lately?
Peter Suderman Talks Oil Reserves on Judge Napolitano's Freedom Watch
Shikha Dalmia: Global Warming by Another Name


Matt Welch: Sen. McCain and Others Would Have Us at War With Libya
Steve Chapman: Stay Out of Libya

Complete Annual Privatization Report
Reason Foundation's complete Annual Privatization Report is now online. The report examines the latest trends and developments in public-private partnerships, outsourcing, and managed competition in these areas:
Federal Government
State Government
Local Government
Surface Transportation
Airports, Air Traffic and Airport Security

New at Reason  

Shikha Dalmia: Conservatives' Birthright Citizenship Folly
New, Even More Exaggerated, Florida High-Speed Rail Numbers
Food Vendors vs. the State
Medicaid's Major Malfunctions
Radley Balko: SWAT Officer Killed By Non-Lethal Flashbang Grenade
Kurt Loder Reviews Red Riding Hood
Peter Suderman on Battle: Los Angeles Videos  

End the Fed: Filmmaker Tad Lumpkin Animates the Financial Crisis
Shikha Dalmia Discusses Public Sector Unions on Freedom Watch
Matt Welch on Entitlement Spending on Freedom Watch Interview with Gov. Luis Fortuño 
Andrew Ferguson on How to Get Your Kid into College Without Going Insane

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