First things first: I don’t like Big Bird. I never have. Nor am I fond of those metrosexual cohabitors Burt and Ernie. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t fight for Sesame Street. If only for the sake of Grover, we must protect Sesame Street.
Romney’s comment about Sesame Street roiled me, but not about ending funding for PBS. Let’s be clear: all conservatives want to end funding of this kind. If a TV show isn’t interrupted every 10 minutes so that corporations can sell stuff, what is the point? Am I right?!
But Romney said more than that. Here is the full quote:
As I’ve discussed before, We Are Our Own Investors. If our government debt is owned to any monolithic creature, it is the American People. China owns roughly 7.5% of our debt. Total foreign debt ownership is roughly a third—half what we Americans own. So this is a non-issue. What’s more, it is a fact that Mitt Romney surely knows; his statement is demagoguery plain and simple.
What’s more, the implication of this claim is that by China holding government debt, they control us. If they decide to get stop buying our debt it will cause our economy to collapse. China is—according to those who make this claim—propping up the value of the dollar. The exact opposite is the truth. As Dean Baker has pointed out, the reason China owns as much of our debt as they do is because they peg their currency artificially low compared to the dollar. Mitt Romney might have heard about this since he’s always talking about it with regards to manufacturing. Another aspect of this is that China can buy our bonds for less than they are worth.
That is why China owns 7.5% of our government debt. But regardless of this, 7.5% is not all or most or even a lot.
If Mitt Romney wants to kill Big Bird (and I wouldn’t complain), he needs to come up with a better reason than China.
Update (5 October 2012 2:28 pm)