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Patriotic Philanthropy?


Patriotic Philanthropy?

Morris Pearl

Alec MacGillis’ piece “The Billionaires’ Loophole,” published March 14, 2016, ostensibly explores the fairness of the carried interest tax loophole, a giveaway to fund managers that “helps” increase their capacity to charitably fund projects that the government isn’t able to complete.


They can keep their "patriotic philanthropy" and pay their fair share of "patriotic taxes," like the rest of us. Maybe then, the taxpayers could afford to maintain their national treasures instead of depending on hucksters to do it for them.

Just who are these patriotic philanthropists supporting for president anyhoo?


Nationalism and Anthropocentrism are mutually inclusive.


These loopholes are among thousands of regressive revisions that resulted from 1986 tax "reform", the most regressive tax code revisions in history and the first "bipartisan" action championed by the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) that was formed in 1985.

Prior to 1986 ALL taxpayers could deduct charitable contributions, Since then only businesses and the relatively small number of taxpayers who itemize are able to deduct charitable contributions, skewing charity funding decisions away from citizens and into the hands of the 1% and their corporations to the point that they also determine what constitutes "patriotic philanthropy".


I was thinking about this matter yesterday, but along slightly different (albeit complementary) lines.

With funds previously earmarked for investments in the arts (added to those intended for tomorrow's thinkers and inventors) continuously reduced, those with creative endowments must turn to private entities for financial support.

Many years ago Gloria Steinem wrote an essay that's still relevant. It explains that as is true in the magazine industry, any time a sponsor pays for lucrative ads, that sponsor is going to have some leverage over the magazine's content.

With less public money available to fund universities, private endowments emerge to "pick up the slack." As the Koch Brothers understand, once a "generous" endowment is made, the donors also weigh in with which professors will be hired and what will form the tone of their curricula.

During the Renaissance, enlightened families like the Medici made it possible for great artists to leave behind endowments that STILL enrich all who come in contact with these artistic gifts.

These days, what constitutes the "Medici" are the Koch Brothers, Pete Petersen, Sheldon Adelson, and their peers.

Society is vastly diminished when funding for what would enrich us all is reserved to those who worship Mammon. And while warship after warship is built, artists, poets, musicians, and inventors languish.


In a nutshell, we have identified two among many examples of ever increasing empowerment of the 1% and disempowerment of the 99%.


He 'built a gallery to house the Magna Carta?' Very generous, but how did he get it out of Salisbury Cathedral without anyone noticing?