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Big Bird vs. Jobs (the high-paying kind)

The CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) receives $445M a year in federal taxpayer money.  While this represents only 12% of CPB, it is still real money that arguably could make a HUGE difference in job creation.  Try this on for size- while Jim Henson Productions and the puppeteer/actor portraying Elmo are worth multi-millions (I guess I am a little confused how Sesame Street the show has a net yearly loss), The Patent and Trademark Office has lost $1B over the last decade in user fees diverted to other Congressional pet projects, including CPB.  The Patent and Trademark Office is the only self-funded agency within the Federal Government.  The diverting of these fees-some could say for Big Bird- is costing America jobs.  According to the Kauffman Foundation, ALL net new jobs in the US since 1977 have been created by startups, and most of these are high tech startups who rely on patents.  While patent applications languish at the PTO  for 4-10 years awaiting approval (due to the diversion of inventor-paid fees) companies can’t get funded. If they can’t get funded, it takes much longer to increase hiring. The SBA reports most transformative technologies are created by startups and individual inventors (not large, entrenched corporations).  So what do you think is more important – quality, high paying, skilled jobs or Big Bird?


  1. Dale,

    I didn’t see any mention of great inventors whose minds were feathered in Big Bird’s nest (and molded by Bert, Ernie, Elmo and the COUNT !) and thus the payback from investing in Sesame Street is many fold that of the original lay out costs.

    A good ac-COUNT-ant accounts for all the pluses and minuses, not just the ones that serve his ideology.

    If you love The Count (of S Street) and you love to count, you would count it all, not just that which serves your per-ordained conclusion.

    Some things are different in the same-or-dissimilar kid quizzes put out by the Sesame Street whizzes. But ideology-driven pick and choose is the same irrespective of which end of the extremists spectrum one comes from. Cheers. ;-)

  2. Stepback,

    The means do not justify the ends. It doesn’t matter what the result is, it is never right to use the force of government to take from one person for another persons private benefit it is STEALING and WRONG.

    Even with the accounting it does not stack up. Big Bird is more important than all the inventors who paid for examination of their patent, but get Sesame Street instead. The accounting is clear, Congress screwed the inventors, screwed the country, and screwed the american people who wanted high quality jobs.

  3. Yes.
    I agree.
    And I’m not going to take it anymore!

    Government “steals” from me to build those useless roads and highways.
    Government “steals” from me to build police stations and to fill them with law enforcement personnel.
    Government “steals” from me to build court houses and to fill them with judicial personnel (including those that hear IP disputes).

    etc. etc.

    They didn’t “build that”. I did.
    /end sarcasm

  4. Stepback,

    Taxes for police are not for one persons benefit. One is a legitimate government function – protection of the citizens and the other is taking money to support someone’s personal project – that is stealing. The definition of stealing does not change because we all vote for it or because the government does the stealing. Big Bird is not a legitimate government function, neither is NPR – which is a leftist stooge. Neither are Farm Subsidies, neither is TARP, neither is Solyndra. You purposely ignored the qualifier in my previous comment.

    Police, Roads, Court Houses are not only legitimate, but consume less than 0.5% of GDP. You have purposely ignored the other 39% that government spends.

  5. Dale,

    I’m old enough to remember when the Patent Office was subsidized out of general funds, rather than the other way around. PTO fees are a special and nonuniform tax levied against an insular class, namely, inventors. With early pre-grant publication, inventors get basically nothing out of the system except to have their ideas given away early & without compensation. I’m with you on that one.

    (As an aside, I never saw Big Bird wearing a red neckerchief and preaching Karl Marx to little school children. So I don’t think he’s as left “wing” as you claim. On the other hand, Joe Camel does try to preach free smokes to the next generation of would be nicotine addicts. Where is the outrage to that? Or do the “free markets” get a pass on their wrong doings?)

  6. Stepback,

    Can you provide a reference for
    “I’m old enough to remember when the Patent Office was subsidized out of general funds”

    Perhaps I am not as old as you, but I know that the patent office was originally setup to be self funded in 1800s, so I would like to know when it changed.

  7. At the moment, the best I can do on this line is point to this quote:

    “In the early 1980s, Congress substantially raised many of the PTO fees associated with patent prosecution and introduced some new fees that had not previously been charged, such as issue fees and maintenance fees. To help off-set the burden this would cause for smaller or non-profit parties, Congress also introduced the Small Entity Status.”

    (source= )

    and to note that prior to that time (early 1980′s) fees were much smaller, you could file amendment after amendment with no 2nd action finals or RCE’s. It was a kinder, gentler PTO mostly because it covered its operating costs by drawing from general funds. It wasn’t a for-profit organization.

  8. Stepback,

    NPR led the attack against Clarence Thomas. NPR has been in forefront of pushing a far left (socialist) agenda for years – see nina totenberg among others. Not every program, but it is clear that they are STEALING money from people for their private agenda.

    You seem to have a problem understanding freedom. NPR uses the force of government to take money from people who have no choice in the matter. Government has a monopoly on the use of force, which is why it is so dangerous and most be constrained. Joe Camel is merely a suggestion. How can you compare force with an attempt to persuade? Now Joe Camel is supposedly targeting children – the standard excuse for more government action – but I think the proof is slight.

  9. Stepback,

    PTO fees. I am well aware that the fees were increased around 1980. But I believe the patent office was still self funded before. This is when we introduced maintenance fees – which are a backhanded working requirement. The US had always rejected a working requirement. Maintenance fees are inconsistent with the Constitutional requirement to protect the rights of inventors.

  10. Dale here is a quote from another person remembering the days before fully-funded:

    “Ten years later [1992 ?], Congress decreed that the Patent and Trademark Office should be entirely self-funded from user fees–”pay-as-you-go government.” But this gave us a patent office with a financial interest in its own operations. With a third of its income from maintenance fees paid over the life of granted patents, the office was naturally motivated to grant more patents. Its stated mission became “to help customers get patents.” ”


    So apparently, according to that writer’s memory, there was a time when the UPTO was not “entirely self-funded from user fees” and a time when inventors were not “customers” but rather inventors.

    See also this line: “The agency was overhauled in 1991 to become self-funding through a fee system.”

  11. Thanks

  12. I have one other comment re the same, but stuck in your spam catcher :-)

  13. Stepback,


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