March 6th, 2014

Liberal bait-and-switch; FDR’s charity

Be sure to read this article by William Voegeli in National Review detailing the history of Obama’s and the Democrats’ deceptions about Obamacare. If you think you’ve read tons before about the same thing—well, you probably have, but not quite like this one, which is especially fine.

For example:

Liberals rely on bait-and-switch tactics because they fear the results of describing their agenda clearly and candidly to voters, who can’t handle the truth. Even an elementary truth, such as the proposition that improving health care will cost money rather than save money, must be denied over and over, lest don’t-tread-on-me rubes start asking awkward questions about how much improving health care is going to cost and where the money will come from. Once a policy such as Obamacare is enacted and implemented, making the switch means admitting the obvious, and then claiming it’s so obvious — “everyone always knew” it would cost money and disrupt existing health-care arrangements — that it doesn’t really qualify as a switch. The villains in this story are not the liberals who spoke incontestable untruths when political circumstances called for telling people what they wanted to hear. The villains are conservatives who complain about the deceits by commission and omission.

But rather than discuss that sort of thing all over again, I want to focus on one quote about a figure from the past, FDR, that caught my eye. Voegeli writes:

Even though New Deal–era dreams about a centrally planned economy have been abandoned, liberals refuse to accept that a decent society can rest on the alchemy that purports to turn private interests into the public interest. Franklin Roosevelt hailed Irish and Hibernian societies around the country on St. Patrick’s Day in 1937 for their fealty to the motto “Not for ourselves, but for others.” That spirit, he said, should animate not just charity but private and public life, given that “selfishness is without doubt the greatest danger that confronts our beloved country today.”

Which brought me to the question: did FDR give a lot to charity? In other words, did he practice what he preached?

FDR was undoubtedly an extremely rich man by the standards of his era. His wealth was inherited (estimated at the equivalent of about $60 million today), and his career was almost entirely in public service and especially politics, at which he was wildly successful.

Here’s an article that discusses FDR’s taxes and charitable giving:

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s returns harken back to an era when federal tax rates where considerably lower. In 1929, FDR paid about 11% in taxes and gave away 12.5% of his income. Interestingly, following a rate hike in 1932, his charitable giving dropped to about 3%. (A couple of the recipients of his largesse: the Will Rogers Memorial Fund, $100; the American Ornithological Union, $3.) As Reason notes, FDR wasn’t above trying to avoid paying his fair share of taxes, either: In 1937 he tried to talk the IRS into taxing him at 1933 rates.

So, that doesn’t sound all that bad or all that good. In those days the tax rate was low, although he wasn’t above trying to get it lowered for himself in 1937. His charitable contribution seems high-ish, although he wasn’t above lowering it when the tax rate went up.

But delving a bit further, we find a curious thing. If you scroll down a ways, you’ll come to some charts of presidents’ incomes and their contributions to charity, and you’ll see this:
FDRcharity

The taxes, and the percentage of income given to charity, are only on income. FDR’s income at the time wasn’t all that great. Although it was not inconsiderable, it didn’t even begin to reflect his actual wealth. Looked at that way, his charitable contributions were pretty paltry. Perhaps FDR reasoned that he didn’t need to be personally charitable because he forced every person with substantial assets to be involuntarily charitable through increased taxes. If so, that wouldn’t be an unusual point of view among liberals.

Also, if you look at the charts, you’ll see that the Bushes, both George H.W. and George W., had very high charitable contributions in terms of percentage of their incomes. Again, this doesn’t reflect their actual wealth, which was far greater than their incomes. But their voluntary contributions certainly represent a good chunk of what they earned, particularly for Bush the Elder, who made well over a million dollars in 1991 and gave away about 62% of that to charity.

21 Responses to “Liberal bait-and-switch; FDR’s charity”

  1. T Says:

    Thanks.

    An excellent article, well worth the read.

  2. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    When advocates have to resort to bait-and-switch tactics, it is not the victims who can’t handle the truth, it is the perpetrators who can’t handle the victims learning the truth. Liars by definition are bad guys and when the lies are in service of that which will harm those being lied to, then the liar has crossed the line into evil.

    Obama lied, people will suffer, people will die.

  3. parker Says:

    Several studies over the last few years have shown conservatives tend to be more charitable than ‘liberals’. Basically, as long as its other people’s money ‘liberals’ are all for charity. They do not truly care about others, they care about the idea of caring about others. It makes them feel special.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    parker:

    Actually, I somewhat disagree. I think that conservatives like the idea of freedom for the individual to make his/her own decisions about what to do with his/her money. Voluntary contributions are highly desirable and to be commended and encouraged, and conservatives put their money where their mouths are, for the most part.

    Liberals believe in compelling people to make involuntary contributions for the good of others. In other words, raising taxes, especially on the rich. It’s not that liberals never contribute to charity—some most definitely do—but at lower rates. They would rather control people and force them to fork their money over to designated victim groups, and they think this would somehow make things more “fair.” Part of the goal is to punish the rich, who are presumed to be exploiting others, and getting rich at the expense of others.

  5. Otto Says:

    The Bush’s high giving is because of something that’s not in our ethos and probably not understood here – the Christian mindset.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    That is exactly what liberals believe about the rich and because they have swallowed the meme that capitalism is inherently flawed in favor of the rich, they believe that compelling the greedy rich to involuntarily contribute according to their means is justified.

    So I think its less that liberals seek to control people, as they believe that controlling the ‘greedy selfish’ is necessary for the ‘common good’. Hard core leftists on the other hand are all about power, either the unapologetic self-aggrandizing type or the ideological idealist who seeks power ‘for their own good’.

    It all ties together, liberalism comes down to the juvenile protest, “that’s not fair!” and those who fiercely cling to that assessment of life never fully mature because they are rejecting a fundamental aspect of the reality within which we exist.

    It ‘derails’ the maturing process, resulting in a case of partial arrested development. And it all springs from a fundamental lack of understanding for why the universe is ‘unfair’ and for why providence’s blessings are unequal. And because we are talking of reality, rejecting reality requires, consciously or unconsciously, to one degree or another, rejecting faith in God.

  7. Bilwick Says:

    “I remember when ‘liberal’ meant being generous with your own money.”–Will Rogers

  8. Ray Says:

    Liberals love to spend other peoples money and then brag about all the good things they are doing by spending other peoples money. They appear to believe that doing good at somebody else’s expense demonstrates their moral superiority.

  9. M J R Says:

    Geoffrey Britain, 5:34 pm — “It all ties together, liberalism comes down to the juvenile protest, ‘that’s not fair!’”

    [dot dot dot; context required; see context above]

    But . . . but . . . but . . .

    Seriously, some things in life *aren’t* fair. So to my sense, if there is a way to make things more fair, in line with my values — which include minimizing coercion — then maybe, just maybe, we can see if this life can be made fairER.

    Often, though, I personally can see no reasonable way to make things more fair (consistent with my minimize coercion constraint in the preceding paragraph); the remedies I see often make things worse in the longer and wider view.

    So we’re often left with individuals helping individuals voluntarily, whether derived from Judaeo-Christian motives or humanistic charitable motives or a combination of both.

    So goes life.

  10. parker Says:

    “Often, though, I personally can see no reasonable way to make things more fair (consistent with my minimize coercion constraint in the preceding paragraph); the remedies I see often make things worse in the longer and wider view.”

    MJR,

    Fair means everyone playing by the same rules. There will always be those who ignore the rules, we have a gaggle of them in the present regime. If you want things to be more ‘fair’ the only tool is to make sure, to the maximum extent possible, that there are severe consequences for those who break the rules.

    “So we’re often left with individuals helping individuals voluntarily, whether derived from Judaeo-Christian motives or humanistic charitable motives or a combination of both.”

    If fair means no one ever suffers misfortunate circumstances, for whatever reason, then we’re not talking about ‘fair’ instead we are talking about “so goes life”. In general conservatives (for whatever reason) tend to be more willing to lend a helping hand when compared to ‘liberals’. Of course there are also many people who self identify as ‘liberal’ who are genuinely concerned about others and are willing to reach into their own pocket. But for the most part ‘liberals’ want to use the barrel of the government gun to force others to pony up for their chosen victims.

    I don’t like it when someone picks my pocket. My wife and I actually are generous people but we want to choose who we assist with a charitable contribution or our time and effort.

  11. DaveindeSwamp Says:

    They are not Liberals, They are Communists .

  12. blert Says:

    F Delano Roosevelt is an unusual name. Delano is not a middle name — in the Christian sense.

    It comes from his mother’s side of the family:

    ” FDR’s maternal grandfather, Warren Delano, Jr., in the China trade, including opium and tea.” Wiki

    The Delano family made ALL of their money on the opium. They were the sole American connection involved in the Opium Wars fought in the 1830s. His ancestor didn’t get involved/ get equity for his tea connections. It was opium straight down the line.

    In this, the Delanos merely were a century ahead of Joe Kennedy — who had mob connections in both Boston and Chicago.

    In both cases, bringing in illegal imports was the ENTIRE reason for their rise to economic stardom.

    Both were attracted to yachts for the same reason that bootleggers went NASCAR: the boats and cars were the physical mechanism for shifting contraband. (!)

    [ For those curious, one of the biggest, longest running schemes has always been to bring in un-taxed, liquor imports (scotch) into the Great Lakes -- to be distributed by pleasure craft in every nook and cranny. It was the primary route -- for obvious reasons. Anyone and his brother could go into "the shipping business"]

    [There was no law on Earth that stopped wealthy Americans from calling on Canadian piers during Prohibition to liquor up.]

    Even to this day the Coast Guard has to patrol the lakes to stop wholesale bypass of liquor excise taxes.

    (If you join the Coast Guard you’ll discover that even to this day, you can drink — ON BASE — tax free booze. Not surprisingly, every naval commander wants a Coast Guard base slipped inside his perimeter. The base inside Barbers Point NAS, Oahu, did a rockin’ business every Friday and Saturday. The place was PACKED.)

  13. Beverly Says:

    More bad news: Obamacare Blocks Patients from Spending Their OWN Money on Medical Care:

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/mb5tfhp

    IOW, you can buy a more expensive policy, but the Dictatorship will limit what they are ALLOWED to reimburse you for: and there are limits in the law even to paying out of your own pocket.

    Unreal.

  14. M J R Says:

    parker, 7:27 pm —

    “Fair means everyone playing by the same rules. . . . If you want things to be more ‘fair’ the only tool is to make sure, to the maximum extent possible, that there are severe consequences for those who break the rules.”

    Works for me.

    “If fair means no one ever suffers misfortunate circumstances, for whatever reason, then we’re not talking about ‘fair’ instead we are talking about ‘so goes life’.”

    Methinks it gets into theology. Some suffer far more than others, for no reason apparent to little ole me. Of course there are higher, more penetrating perspectives than little ole’ mine, and that’s where it gets into theology.

    “Of course there are also many people who self identify as ‘liberal’ who are genuinely concerned about others and are willing to reach into their own pocket. But for the most part ‘liberals’ want to use the barrel of the government gun to force others to pony up for their chosen victims.”

    Agreed, for the most part.

    “I don’t like it when someone picks my pocket. My wife and I actually are generous people but we want to choose who we assist with a charitable contribution or our time and effort.”

    Agreed, for the entire part.

  15. Francesca Says:

    Re: Beverly

    I have read where that is true in some other countries with nationalized health care. Anyone know? France, Canada, UK?

  16. Matt_SE Says:

    Not only IS life unfair, it MUST be unfair.
    I’m not talking about laws…that’s just the rules established so there’s stability. Unfairness comes from people’s differences.
    Without differences, life doesn’t work.

  17. Gary Says:

    Franklin Roosevelt hailed Irish and Hibernian societies around the country on St. Patrick’s Day in 1937 for their fealty to the motto “Not for ourselves, but for others.” That spirit, he said, should animate not just charity but private and public life, given that “selfishness is without doubt the greatest danger that confronts our beloved country today.”

    This stuff about “selfishness” being the biggest mortal danger is such a pile of horsesh*t, it makes me wanna puke. People absolutely must take care of themselves and their families first and foremost–and whatever they earn or own through honest means, they have a 100% right to. This is not evil; quite the reverse. IMHO, what’s evil is the motto, “Not for ourselves, but for others.”

    With all due respect, Neo, I think this game of Who’s giving more of their money away? is a really foolish one. I hear other conservatives playing it, and it makes me cringe. I don’t give a damn, and it’s playing right into the hands of the opposition.

    Because the end result of this game is to establish the motto in peoples’ minds. And once everyone agrees that Not for ourselves, but for others is a rock-solid, foundational principle, who wins the long-term political war? The conservatives, who kinda pay lip service to the motto? Or the leftist/Marxists, who really, really mean it–and have proven they’re more than willing to do anything to make sure that everyone lives for the collective and no one dares commit the sin of living for himself.

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need…

  18. T Says:

    Above, geoffrey britain writes (3/6 @ 5:34pm):

    “. . . they have swallowed the meme that capitalism is inherently flawed in favor of the rich . . . .” Correct. it IS a myth. The truth is that capitalism allows anyone to become rich. Since rich people are capitalists, so the myth goes, capitalism must favor them. Of course, once one becomes rich, any system favors you because wealth = power.

    I recently read over at ACE of Spades an interesting post. Making money is a skill just like any other. Some people have it and some people learn it. Why should someone who practices that skill be any more reviled than, say, a better surgeon who has the skill to suture arteries, muscle and flesh? They are both practicing their God-given/learned skill.

    On another note, the bait-and switch of Obamacare makes me think that this administration is just like the unprincipled linament salesman in The Outlaw Josey Wales.

    Salemman: You’re an Indian, aren’t you?
    Lone Wati: Yes
    Salesman: Well this is the very best thing for those who can’t hold their liquor (chuckles).
    Lone Wati: What’s in it?
    Salesman: I don’t know. Various things. I’m just the salesman.
    Lone wati: You drink it.
    Salesman: What can you expect from an unbeliever? (chuckles)

  19. Jose Says:

    I was reminded of this 1994 report regarding Bill Clintons charitable giving from the NYTimes:

    “In previous returns, when Mr. Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas and his wife was a partner in a Little Rock law firm, the Clintons had gone so far as to deduct $2 for underwear donated to charities.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/16/us/clinton-taxes-laid-bare-line-by-line.html

  20. IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." Says:

    Also, if you look at the charts, you’ll see that the Bushes, both George H.W. and George W., had very high charitable contributions in terms of percentage of their incomes. Again, this doesn’t reflect their actual wealth, which was far greater than their incomes. But their voluntary contributions certainly represent a good chunk of what they earned, particularly for Bush the Elder, who made well over a million dollars in 1991 and gave away about 62% of that to charity.

    This is true of Romney, as well. There was much made of how little he paid in taxes, as I recall, but no mention of the fact that one of the reasons he paid what he paid (which was still considerable) was that, BEFORE the government took its cut he had already given over 10% — something like 3 million, IIRC — to charity.

  21. RigelDog Says:

    I thought you were going to comment on how, in EVERY case, the President’s charitable giving went down when tax rates were raised, and increased when tax rates were lowered. Pure coincidence I’m sure.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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