While the Media Research Center mocks the argument that funding for public broadcasting shouldn't be cut because it's an infinitesimal amount of the federal budget, the head of its "news" division demands funding for the border wall for the exact same reason.
By Terry Krepel Posted 3/26/2020
The Media Research Center hates spending money on public broadcasting -- so much so, in fact, that it mocks the claims of public broadcasting supporters that it's just a tiny part of the federal budget.
In March 2017 column, for example, MRC chief Brent Bozell and Tim Graham touted how defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides money to public ratio and TV operations across the country, would "save of ton of taxpayer money," parenthetically adding that "$450 million is a lot of money."
In an April 2017 post, the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro mocked a CBS program that pointed out that funding for agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- which President Trump has proposed to eliminate -- makes up "less than 2/100ths of a percent of the federal budget." Fondacaro added: "This, despite the fact that all together funding for these agencies costs taxpayers close to $1 billion."
But just two days after Fondacaro's post appeared, Terry Jeffrey, the editor in chief of CNSNews.com, the MRC's "news" division, made the exact same argument -- at tedious, editorializing length, despite the article being tagged as "news" -- to push for funding for a border wall:
President Donald Trump’s request that Congress include $1.4 billion to fund the beginning of his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border equals approximately 0.035 percent of what the federal government will spend in total this year, according to the latest estimate of fiscal year 2017 federal spending made by the Congressional Budget Office.
It also equals less than the Department of Health and Human Services spends in just twelve hours and less than the Treasury collects in taxes in four hours.
The $1.4 billion Trump wants from Congress in this fiscal year to begin the border wall project equals 0.035 percent of the $3.963 trillion the CBO estimates the federal government will spend this fiscal year.
By comparison, the Department of Health and Human Services alone will spend an estimated $1,108,457,000,000 in fiscal 2017, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement. That $1,108,457,000,000 in annual HHS spending equals approximately $126,546,187 for each of the 8,760 hours in the fiscal year.
In other words, HHS will spend approximately $126,536,187 per hour this yearassuming that it spends money 24 hours a day.
That means that HHS spends in about 11 hours an amount equal to the $1.4 billion that President Trump wants this fiscal year for the border wall project.
In half a day12 hoursHHS spends more than Trump wants for the border wall for the entire year.
The $3,404,000,000,000 that the Treasury will collect in taxes this fiscal year, according to the CBO estimate, equals about $388,584,475 in tax collections per hour.
The $1.4 billion that Trump wants for the border wall project this year equals about 3.6 hours in federal tax collections.
In just 4 hours, the federal government collects more in taxes than President Trump wants to spend for the entire year on the border wall.
Jeffrey didn't explain why he's making the same argument his MRC co-worker declared to be invalid just two days earlier -- perhaps that's because he planned to invoke that same argument well into the future. Jeffrey trotted it out again in a January 2018 article:
President Donald Trump’s current border wall proposal would cost $18 billion over the next ten years, according to an estimate U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent to members of Congress last week.
“The Trump administration is asking Congress for nearly $18 billion to construct more than 700 miles of new and replacement barriers along the Southwest border, its most detailed description yet of the president’s vision of a wall separating the U.S. from Mexico,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
That $18 billion would equal just 0.0338 percent of the $53.128 trillion the Congressional Budget Office currently estimates the federal government will spend over that same 10-year period.
It also equals only 2.7 percent of the money the federal government will spend on the food stamp program (the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”), which will eat up $679 billion in the ten fiscal years from 2018 through 2027, according to CBO’s estimate.
The $679 billion the CBO estimates the federal government will spend on food stamps during that ten years is 37.7 times as much as the $18 billion it would spend on President Trump’s proposed border wall.
At the same time, the $18 billion required for the border wall would equal a mere 0.34 percent of the $5.232 trillion CBO estimates that the federal government will spend on Medicaid over the next ten years.
While the nation is preparing to spend a total of $6.838 trillion on national defense over the next ten years, according to CBO, the $18 billion that President Trump would like to see dedicated to defending the U.S.-Mexico border with a wall would equal only 0.26 percent of that.
President Donald Trump’s $5 billion request for funds to use building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border equals 0.11 percent of the estimated $4.5 trillion the federal government is expected to spend this fiscal year.
According to the Monthly Treasury Statement for October, the Office of Management and Budget has estimated that the federal government will spend a total of $4,509,641,000,000 in fiscal 2019, which started on Oct. 1.
President Trump is now asking Congress to approve $5 billion in the fiscal 2019 Department of Homeland Security appropriation to fund border wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.
That $5,000,000,000 would equal 0.11 percent of the anticipated total federal spending of $4,509,641,000,000.
To put the president’s border wall request in perspective, the federal government spent $5.587 billion in the month of October alone for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, AKA food stamps. Thus, funding food stamps for just the first month of fiscal 2019 cost more than Trump’s entire fiscal 2019 request for border wall funding.
Jeffrey even included a ludicrous bar chart showing an extremely long bar for federal spending next to a virtually nonexistent one for the border wall request.
Fast forward another year, and Jeffrey devoted a Nov. 7 article to touting yet again how building a border wall would take up an infinitesimal amount of the federal budget, then complaining that Congress isn't funding it to his satisfaction:
The $5,000,000,000 that President Donald Trump has requested Congress appropriate for border-wall construction along the southwestern border in fiscal 2020 equals just 0.1 percent of the $4,745,573,000,000 that the Office of Management and Budget estimates the federal government will spend in total during the fiscal year.
The fiscal 2020 Department of Homeland Security funding bill that the House Appropriations Committee has approved, however, provides $0 for the wall.
The $5,000,000,000 President Trump has requested for construction of the border wall in fiscal 2020 equals 0.1 percent of the $4,745,573,000,000 that the OMB estimates the federal government will spend in total in fiscal 2020.
By contrast, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved and sent to the full Senate a DHS funding bill that says: “$5,000,000,000 is for the construction of pedestrian fending.”
Jeffrey, however, is much less cavalier when it comes to spending tax money on causes he approves of. Just 13 days later, Jeffrey spent his Nov. 20 column lecturing members of Congress that the longtime practice of paying a year's salary to the surviving spouse of a congressmember who dies in office is a waste of money:
The members of Congress who have enacted previous bills that included language directing the Treasury to provide the equivalent of a full year's salary to the spouse of a deceased colleague were not giving that person their own money.
They were giving that person your money or your children's and your grandchildren's money.
And this, of course, is exactly how the Washington establishment has long shown how compassionate it is: It takes money from one group of people and gives it to another.
Since Congress plans to run annual deficits in every fiscal year for the foreseeable future, this "gift" might alternatively be paid with borrowed money adding to the $1.1 trillion deficit the Office of Management and Budget had previously estimated the Treasury would run this year.
In that case, the Treasury will issue bonds to secure the cash needed to fund that "gift" and then roll those bonds over and over unless the federal government actually pays off its debt someday.
Unlike in this lecture over survivors' payments, Jeffrey did not mention the federal deficit at all in demanding billions of dollars for its construction, nor did he fret that the wall would be paid for with borrowed money. It's as if he has different standards based on things he would like to see money spent on.
Jeffrey will never make Jeffrey write an article complaining that $5 billion for a border wall is is a lot of money.", and his bosses Bozell and Graham will never make him do that, or write one themselves.
Again, we see that the MRC has very different standards for the "news" operation it runs than for the "liberal media" it's constantly dictating to. If CNS actually followed its parent's standards, the MRC might have a little more credibility in criticizing the media.