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Doubling Down

Well, the House did it. They voted to defund NPR. If it passes the Senate and is signed by Obama, then they will be cut off from any more federal funding.

That'll never happen, but the House has the constitutional role of writing the budget. The Senate can make changes, but they need the House to agree. They could defund NPR through that process, but chose to make this declaration of their intent.

And that has the liberals in total meltdown mode. They're screaming that the Republicans are trying to kill Click and Clack, the Car Talk guys. (That one is absurd. I've been a fan of those knuckleheads for over 20 years, and they could easily make it on commercial radio if they wanted. Or they could retire -- they're 73 and 61 respectively.)

This is reminiscent of how ACORN was defunded, and the concurrent argument about Planned Parenthood. In both cases, the left argues that the Republicans are trying to destroy the institution in question.

Maybe I'm just feeling particularly cranky of late, but that charges bugs me. And it makes me want to see the Republicans give the Democrats a swift kick in the teeth (rhetorically speaking, of course.)

Here's what I'd do. I'd say that the measure to defund the groups in question is not an attempt to destroy them, or at least cripple them.  If that was their intent, there were other, further steps the GOP could take that would cause far, far more harm to the institutions.

Such as, say, a bill stripping them of their federal tax exempt status, like this bill right here.

There is no "right" for any person or group to federal funding. It's entirely up to Congress to set the general rules, and for agencies to handle the particulars. To declare a group ineligible for funding is simply a political expression -- and there are more than enough reasons to justify that in each case.

But it's not a death sentence. It's just saying that "we don't want the American people to directly fund these groups."

The tax-exempt status, however, is far more critical. It allows the groups to not only ignore their tax obligations that they normally would incur, but also encourages people to donate to them -- as their donations are also tax-exempt, and work to drive down their tax burden. Removing that tax exemption would have far, far more dire consequences for those groups.

So yeah, let's look at a bill to remove the tax-exempt status of the Corporation For Public Broadcasting and Planned Parenthood. Let's show their defenders just what a REAL "open assault out to destroy" looks like. And even if that fails, it'll make simply defunding look like the no big deal it really is.

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Comments (18)

Would be ironic to be taxed... (Below threshold)
Rich:

Would be ironic to be taxed the exact amount they are being funded by the government.

"...and the concurrent a... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"...and the concurrent argument about Planned Parenthood."

I've seen the actual statements from the left on the defunding of Planned Parenthood...

Republicans are denying women reproductive health care!

Their next step is to make Grandma live in a cardboard box and eat dog food, dontcha know!

And speaking of that, I was... (Below threshold)
PBunyan:

And speaking of that, I was doing my taxes the other night and noticed that union dues are also deductions that can be clamed on Schedule A. So basically the Democrats campaigns are funded with tax exempt dollars. That's supposed to be illegal, isn't it?

Oh, what am I thinking? Laws don't apply to Democrats...

Start talking about taking ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Start talking about taking away their tax-exempt status and the Democrats will shit their pants!

...which, Garand, would be ... (Below threshold)

...which, Garand, would be a nice little boost to the dry-cleaning industry, helping the economy.

It's win-win all around!

J.

Don't these pinheads even b... (Below threshold)

Don't these pinheads even begin to understand that we are ON TO THEIR NONSENSE? The tired old rhetoric doesn't fly with us any longer. We've seen their shuck and jive, their evasions and their outright falsehoods. It's over you craven clowns. We the People are taking our country back from a passel of anti-American dimbulbs who don't understand or even acknowledge the basic laws of our land as set forth in our Constitution!

They only need to discard t... (Below threshold)
Joe Miller:

They only need to discard the conceit about being "non-commercial" radio. Stuff like "...brought to you by Subaru, building cars in non-landfill plants..." sure sounds like a commercial to me.

Freedom!!!... (Below threshold)
Chico:

Freedom!!!

Here's hoping the increasin... (Below threshold)
Oldpuppymax:

Here's hoping the increasingly limp-wristed Boehner has not chosen this path just to have the "we tried but couldn't get it done" excuse. The house, as the writer shows, can get it done, all by itself if it so chooses!!!

It's ridiculous how grossly... (Below threshold)
john:

It's ridiculous how grossly you are misrepresenting this bill. This bill does not cut government funding for NPR, because NPR receives absolutely no direct government funding. This bill prohibits 1300 small, independent businesses (i.e., radio and TV stations) throughout the country who receive any amount of federal subsidies from making free-market decisions and choosing to purchase programming that they decide on their own will bring them the largest audience and keep them viable as businesses. Just because that programming might say mean things about Republicans.

It is especially surprising that Jay would advocate such government intervention in the operation of independent businesses, given his opposition to government interference in him choosing which light bulbs he uses or what sort of plumbing architecture is required to carry away his system-overwhelming shit.

I suspect there would be little support for a bill that stated that any church organizations that are tax-exempt cannot spend money on events that involve Republican speakers, lest they lose their tax-exempt status. Or that they may not admit congregation members who watch Fox News. Or that hospitals who receive government funding may not treat Republicans. Or they may not perform medical procedures that Democrats don't particularly like.

Because you're too chicken shit to stop funding the CPB altogether, your next tactic is to tell business that receive money through that funding what the government is allowing them to do with it. For what purpose? If every station agrees to stop buying programming from NPR, then this bill reduces government spending by... zero. Since it saves no money and is "no big deal" according to Jay, then I'd expect at least a few of you to be calling for your representatives to stop wasting time on it. This bill cuts no government spending. It is designed to exert influence on behavior that Republicans don't like. This is your libertarian view?

NPR is tax-exempt because it, along with 1.6 million other tax-exempt organizations, is a non-profit that follows the IRS requirements for obtaining such status. If you want to repeal the ability of organizations to be tax-exempt, that's an argument you can make. It would include those 1.6 million organizations, including 400,000 religious organizations. Though I suppose you could have a field day just targeting the ones you don't like. Now that would be a real show of Republican values.

As with too many of their m... (Below threshold)
Bob:

As with too many of their measures, the House Republicans are unserious about defunding NPR. Instead of tacking on defunding NPR to the Continuing Resolution that will keep the government afloat a few more weeks, they passed it as a stand alone measure, assuring that it can be defeated in the Senate without endangering the CR. What a bunch of wimps! Anthony Weiner is not the only weiner in Congress.

Actually I am very much in ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Actually I am very much in favor of eliminating the tax exempt status for churches. Unlike the liberals though,, I think churches (white churches) do not get enough involved politically because they are tax exempt. ww

Here's how it works liberal... (Below threshold)
LiberalNItemare:

Here's how it works liberals -

If you think that NPR provides a valuable and useful service, reach into YOUR wallet and pay them for it.

Stay out of MY wallet.

Well fox news gave the marc... (Below threshold)
warchild:

Well fox news gave the marching orders and the Republicans jumped. Gotta hand it to James o'Keefe. He has been proven a lying scumbag multiple times and the right wing press keeps eating up his nonsense.

Oh well, who needs sober rational commentary, like NPR when we have cable news? You are all idiots.

"But it's not a death sente... (Below threshold)

"But it's not a death sentence. It's just saying that "we don't want the American people to directly fund these groups.""

Seems to me it's more like saying "we don't want to borrow more money from the Chinese to continue to find these groups knowing our kids and grandkids will have to pay back the principle, with interest."

I've seen the actual sta... (Below threshold)
Roy:

I've seen the actual statements from the left on the defunding of Planned Parenthood...

Republicans are denying women reproductive health care!

Not true - you can have all you want. Just pay for it yourself. What the problem with that?

# 4 and #5 GarandFan and Mr... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

# 4 and #5 GarandFan and Mr. Tea,

I can just see the signs outside now, "Democrats, drop your pants right here!"

Heh, Semper Fidelis-

"White churches"? Jesus Wil... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

"White churches"? Jesus Willie, that's a pretty messed-up thing to say. Does Clarence Thomas go to a "white church"? As for "white churches" not being involved politically, do you really believe that evangelical ministries have no influence over the GOP? Didn't their lack of enthusiasm for Bush Sr. have a lot to do with Clinton winning his first term?

We agree on yet another thing, though: churches should pay property taxes, and if they can't afford it, sell them to condominium developers. I'd love to own a loft in a nice old cobblestone building, decked out with hundred-year-old reclaimed hardwood.




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