June 2nd, 2005

N is for NAFTA, S is for Social Security Privatization and T is for Tax Cuts

By Gary Ruskin
Commercial Alert

Yesterday, Sesame Workshop announced that it has teamed up with Merrill Lynch to teach kids about globalization and financial matters.

Maybe this is part of the new corporate takeover of public television. Merrill Lynch employees were big donors to the Bush-Cheney ‘04 campaign.

As a part of the Sesame Workshop plan, “Merrill Lynch employees in North America, South America, Asia and Europe” will teach children in “pre-schools, community centers and child care agencies in their communities.”

And what will they teach? To support tax cuts for the wealthy, social security privatization, lower taxes on savings & investment, etc.?

Here’s today’s Reuters article about the Sesame Street/Merrill Lynch effort.

Merrill Funds Sesame St to Boost Money Know-How

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. investment bank Merrill Lynch is expanding its ties with “Sesame Street” to help boost children’s financial literacy and improve their awareness of global cultures.
Building on a joint three-year program to boost financial know-how among children, Merrill Lynch on Thursday launched the WorldwideKids initiative with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization that produces the TV series “Sesame Street.”

The Wall Street firm is giving $5 million to the five-year program to produce research materials to teach children good financial habits and expand their global perspective.

“The sooner you become familiar and comfortable with the concepts, the better able you are to be a responsible and successful citizen,” Merrill Lynch’s Chief Executive Stanley O’Neal told Reuters in an interview.

“The world is no longer a world of fixed interest rates or very slow moving interest rates, fully amortizing mortgages and easier choices in terms of retirement plans. It is much more complicated and much more personal.”

O’Neal said Merrill Lynch joined forces with Sesame Workshop because no other group so effectively and memorably captured the minds of children, working with youngsters in about 120 countries since it was founded in 1968.

Sesame Workshop’s chief executive, Gary Knell, said WorldwideKids would give educators, caregivers and parents access to information on DVDs, the Internet, and printed resources to boost youngster’s understanding of money.

These materials will be distributed through partnerships with local community-based organizations and companies.

“We are building a foundation for financial literacy. Learning that you can’t always get what you want is an important lesson in life,” said Knell late Wednesday as the program was announced at a gala evening in New York.

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