Schmidt Wrote:Easy answer. Neither. i have grown enormously tired of claims that success in one field translates into success in another. As for the politician that is something else. I have seen good and bad politicians. I would prefer people that spend their lives trying to understand social and cultural issues deal with those as opposed to a guy who makes a billion bucks thinking he is suddenly a polymath. On top of that the monies required to deal with these issues on a structural level are far in excess of what these guys have.
lonely bird Wrote:
here is some food for thought regarding philanthro-capitalism:
i particularly find intriguing in the second link the idea that economists have "better tools" for figuring out solutions when the FACT is that economists not only don't have better tools they don't understand the problems.
Lonely bird -- Both excellent articles in Dissent Magazine. Thanks for sharing them. There is no doubt that philanthropy or “venture philanthropy” or “philanthocapitalism” has become a big business for those corporations and organizations with the financial resources to capitalize on them. Your referenced article by Joanne Barken, Plutocrats at Work: How Big Philanthropy Undermines Democracy, makes many valid points of criticism, but I think the main point of her arguments center on the tax write-offs:
"To be clear, I’m criticizing both the excessive influence of mega-foundations on public policy and the fact that they are publicly subsidized. In a free society, the super-rich can spend their money in any legal way they want, including endowing huge organizations to try out pet theories and promote personal projects. But those organizations shouldn’t be tax exempt. The super-rich don’t need billions of dollars in tax relief annually to exert their will in the public sphere. They can, and most will, engage in the same activities without the government handout. Although redistributing power more fairly throughout society will require campaign finance reform and rigorous progressive taxation, there’s no reason to continue to subsidize big philanthropy."
I agree with that point and ditto for mega churches and missionaries who have used their tax free status to engage (illegally) in politics. However, much like the chances of having "campaign finance reform" and "rigorous progressive taxation", Barken's vision is idealistic in our current "la la land" of upside down politics. Even if we were to eliminate all philanthropy by big business, and push a lot of that responsibility back to the federal government, do you believe that our current Congress would be more egalitarian in the way they dish out tax payer funded initiatives. Take a look at the House of Representatives chairman Hal Rogers of the Appropriations Committee (from Wikipedia):
"Rogers has been widely criticized by both liberal and conservative pundits for his priorities when it comes to national security. National Review referred to Rogers as "a national disgrace" and Rolling Stone named him one of America's "Ten Worst Congressmen", calling him "Bin Laden's Best Friend" due to the fact that Rogers steered federal homeland security money away from large cities to his home district, which critics claim is one of the least likely terrorist targets in America because of its lack of any notable monuments or population centers. In 2007, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Congressman Rogers to its list of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress.
On May 14, 2006, the New York Times reported that Rogers had used his legislative position as chairman of the House subcommittee that controls the Homeland Security budget to create "jobs in his home district and profits for companies that are donors to his political causes." The Lexington Herald-Leader in 2005 called Rogers the "Prince of Pork". The Times article reported that Rogers had inserted language ("existing government card issuance centers") into appropriations bills that effectively pushed the federal government into testing at a cost of $4 million older, inappropriate technology for a new fraud-resistant green card for permanent legal immigrants, at a production plant in Corbin, Kentucky, within Rogers' district. The study concluded that the smart card approach was far superior. The Times found that about $100,000 in contributions had come to Mr. Rogers from parties with at least some ties to the identification card effort."
Rogers is not alone. He is just one example of the way Congress works in dishing out pork to home districts.
The question that I would submit for you to ponder. Who would you trust more, Bill Gates or Hal Rogers, when it comes to deciding who is in need the most and who gets the money?