Conservatives claim that defunding NPR would save taxpayers a great deal of money; former NPR employee Juan Williams even argued that NPR funding was taking away from “school breakfast programs [and] college scholarships.” Yet NPR receives only around 2 percent of its annual $161 million budget from federal grants, totaling approximately $3.2 million. Meanwhile, the FY2011 cost of the Afghan war has hit $113 billion.
Assuming that the costs of both the NPR funding and Afghan war would be the same for next year, that means that ending the Afghan war would save approximately 40,000 times more taxpayer dollars than defunding NPR’s grants from agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts and Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Additionally, as the National Priorities Project shows, ending the war could help free up money for countless domestic priorities, like hiring millions of teachers or funding health care for tens of millions of poor children. Here are just some of the alternatives that could be funded for the cost of one year of the Afghan war:
Health Care For 55 Million Low Income ChildrenAmericans recognize these truths about the relative costs of the Afghan war versus NPR. That’s why polling shows that only a quarter of Americans want to see cuts to funding for public broadcasting, while the vast majority of Americans no longer support the Afghan war and want a clear exit from that country. If Republicans really want to “listen to the American people,” as they pledged to do last fall during their campaign, they would support ending the war in Afghanistan and really saving taxpayers money, not endorsing gimmicks to please the more extreme members of their base.
1.6 million Elementary School Teachers for One Year
1.9 million Firefighters for One Year
14.1 million Head Start Slots for Children for One Year
13.8 million Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for One Year
1.6 million Police or Sheriff’s Patrol Officers for One Year
19.3 million Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550
13.6 million Scholarships for University Students for One Year
During the floor debate on the Afghanistan issue, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) blasted his colleagues for attacking NPR but supporting the war. "The fiscal conservatives are going to be overwhelmingly in support of slashing NPR and go home and brag about how they're such great fiscal conservatives...At the same time, they won't consider for a minute cutting a real significant amount of money!" Watch it here:
The House just voted 228-192 to cut off funding to NPR and 93-321 against the resolution calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan this year. Numerous Republicans defected to vote against defunding NPR and to vote for ending the war in Afghanistan. No Democrats voted to defund NPR but more voted against ending the war in Afghanistan than voted for ending it.
Truly a travesty of epic proportions!