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.