Friday, April 29, 2011

Americans Think the Feds Give Public Broadcasting 424 Times More Money Than They Actually Do

"B" is for Budget Cluelessness!
I'm thinking of launching a whole new subsection of my blog entitled something like, "Things Americans Think that Are so Incorrect that They Make Me Question Whether Americans Are too Ignorant to Participate in Democracy Anymore."

As reported by Talking Points Memo:
In a CNN poll of American adults released Friday, the median guess on what percentage of the federal budget goes to public broadcasting was 5%. With a $3.55 trillion budget last year, that would put funding for the CBP at approximately $178 billion.
In reality though, that's not even close.
The CPB received about $420 million last year from the federal government, making it roughly one one-hundredth of one percent, of the overall budget. That means that the median response was about 424 times higher than the actual amount of federal funding that went to public broadcasting last year.
Further, 20% of respondents thought CPB funding made up over 10% of the entire budget, including 5% who said it made up at least half.
The same CNN poll also highlights that, after YEARS of news reports that state otherwise, Americans STILL think that foreign aid makes up between 10-25% of the U.S. federal budget, when the actual number hovers around 1%, depending on exactly how you count it.

Furthermore, the poll shows that Americans suck at basic arithmetic, as the average American gave answers that totaled up to 137% of the federal budget.

Just another example of how Americans are profoundly misinformed about almost every important issue facing the U.S. today. I find myself wondering - at what level of public ignorance does democracy stop functioning? I worry that we may be approaching that point in this country ....

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