Our local Public Radio just finished up their semi-annual fund drive. It's a week of them talking my ear off about why I should give them money instead of feeding my kids or feeding other, possibly starving, people. Yup, I like public radio, especially the "ad free" part, but it's pretty low on my priorities list for charities.
But here's what really gets me. Throughout the week, the radio announcers were bleeding my ear constantly about how all they need is "the same amount as that cup of coffee you buy every day". First, I don't buy a cup of coffee every day. I don't need to, especially now that I figured out how to make my own FauxBucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. Also, that would mean leaving the house, which would require clothes, I hear. And finally, if I bought a latte every day for $5, I would not have that $5 to spend on, say, meat, or butter, or other, delicious and nutritious foods to feed my whole family.
But the radio announcer isn't asking me to give up my non-FauxBucks latte. He's just explaining that the money he wants me to give is the same as that coffee. Which implies that he wants me to buy the coffee and give him the money for the coffee.
I'm sorry- does this sound an awful lot like "have your cake and eat it too"?
(By the way, that saying never made sense to me until I moved out of the south. Of COURSE I'm going to have my cake. Isn't that the same thing as eat my cake?)
So, here's Mr. Radio Announcer telling me, Mrs. Housewife to double my budget in order to give him money so he can provide me a service that is a) free and b) is not necessary to sustain my life or lifestyle. If NPR went off the air, I wouldn't faint. I might be sad for a day or 2, but then I'd finally get a new CD player so that we could listen to music in the morning. Sure, that might cost me a couple of bucks, but considering the one we have works for about 10 minutes at a time and we paid all of $10 at Goodwill for it, it might be worth the investment.
But back to Mr. R.A.'s budget sense.
He later told me that if I were to become a "Network Member" (read- big spender) and gave him $100 a month, it would be "less than what you're spending on internet and cable combined- and you get more out of it!" Ok, I'll grant you that public radio is WAY more entertaining that Cable. But that's why we don't have cable. And public radio is still free, by the way.
In short, the American mentality is seeping through on this- if it's worth the same as _____ then it'll cost the same as ______. But cost and worth are not the same thing. Is Public Radio worth something to me? Yes. Is it worth $100/month. Oh heck no. It's not worth money at all! It's worth my time, and that is what I give it. Money doesn't factor into that equation at all.
Am I saying you should never give money to NPR? No. I don't know your personal situation, but I do know mine. I know that the homeless guys downtown deserve my extra dollar not spent of non-FauxBucks a lot more than a radio tower, no matter how awesome the programing. And I also know that if I have a dollar to spend, that doesn't mean I have two. And I learned all that even WITH a public school education. See, our government can do math sometimes!