Let’s be clear, these are policy changes being made, not fiscal ones.

I think there’s a bigger policy question: what is the role of government?

If you believe that government should be a primary provider (e.g., government-paid child care, iPhones, post-secondary education, television networks, children’s vacation camps), then funding these programs is essential. There have been many, many posts on The Billfold about how the government should pay for what the writer can’t afford (e.g., childcare). The issue, of course, is that eventually you run out of other people’s money (as a great person said).

However, if you think that government should have a lesser imprint on people’s lives, then these programs are unnecessary. If people want to support an arts program, let them donate the money. If someone wants to help kids go to summer camp, then wash cars or sell cookies or any of the traditional fund-raising activities. It’s not the government’s role to put on a show.

If we agree that the government doesn’t need to fund a television network, then cutting the funding for this program makes sense (regardless of how much money is saved). Although you raise a valid perspective, I think it’s a variation of the latte factor argument.

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