The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Republicans Whine Over Buffet Donation

I happened upon this post at Clara Magram BC'06’s 'libertarian' blog . I just had to write her a comment or two; Short comment turned into an hour of research and writing. National Review writer Mona Charen BC'79 proves there is no such thing as fair reporting; every written article is meant to be some kind of throat slitting dagger at the opposition. Let's begin.

"The liberals are forever hyperventilating about “corporate money” and “corporate America” — the font of all evil to judge by some of the rhetoric. Yet when corporate America donates billions of dollars to charity, who benefits? Liberal and left wing causes. The Gates Foundation is a generous supporter, reports the Washington Times, of the Planned Parenthood Federation, the National Council of La Raza, and the Clinton Presidential Foundation." - Mona Charen [National Review]

The “liberals are forever hyperventilating” over corporate America? Is that meant to be ridiculous or was that a joke?

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything about people of the liberal persuasion not liking money. For me, and I would say for most liberals, a label that seems to have been turned by people on the right and on occasion Clara into the Boogieman, the problem is not money, the problem is lack of progress for closing the wealth disparity gap. Sure, the reality is some people make a lot of money and a lot of people don’t; this is caused by numerous factors stretching from personal motivation, luck, education, what family you’re born into, etc. There’s nothing wrong with money, we simply need to help to make sure that there is some minimal amount of support so that you are even able to make an effort, to have some potential to make decent money. This is a tangent, but I believe it is our responsibility as a society to provide basic education and healthcare for every citizen. If you want to argue about it and come from a libertarian point of view, I will argue with you till my face is blue.

Corporations exist to provide a service and to be paid for that service. Are they evil for that reason? Of course not. Corporations are given a bad name by the culture that is permeated by their chain of command. When Rick Wagoner took over as CEO of GM he had a modest salary. After presiding over GM, the layoff of tens of thousands, poor performance, general employee discontent, he upped his salary to around $10 million + stock options. Could that extra $9 million have gone towards other measures to improve GM, of course. To his credit, he cut his own salary in half this year because of even crappier performance as of late.

Corporate America is not looked down upon by liberals, I think most people in general know that the company is not looking out for their interests; it’s looking out for its own. That’s positively why there is no such thing as employee loyalty anymore.

Warren Buffet I would say is pretty liberal for that matter. He opposes the estate tax (says that he doesn’t believe in people being born into privileged positions) for one. I like to think when corporate America donates money, everyone benefits. It is silly in my opinion to pigeon hole the Gates Foundation, or imply that it is solely a supporter of liberal and left wing causes. Look at what the Gates foundation gives money to, Washington Assoc of Churches, Libraries, Medicine, Education, Community organizations, Developing Nations.

Is that liberal or is that just philanthropy? I can’t figure out why you are trying to turn one man’s philanthropy into a conversation on partisan politics. Who exactly is supposed to benefit from philanthropy? Right wing causes? Churches are well served by philanthropy, so is economic independence programs (promotion of small businesses and econ. info). Perhaps Mona Charen needs to cease with the pessimistic “I’m sure the gate’s foundation has done some good in the world” attitude and realize her research is decidedly one-sided.

The Gates foundation funds numerous Christian and Catholic schools as well as the Discovery Institute. The Discovery Institute is infamous for spearheading the anti-evolution campaign. Left, right? What the Gates Foundation funds is what they consider noble causes, they provide grants for global health, education, libraries, environmentally ravaged pacific, and other needs in that scope. Every grant needs to be looked at in context. Sure the Discovery Institute gets money, but it’s for transportation and ecological projects.

In the same light, Planned Parenthood does a lot of work concerning education and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Many of their grants involve the reduction of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Money for the National Council of La Raza predominantly goes towards education for Latinos. Money for the Clinton Presidential Foundation goes towards bringing together world leaders to discuss pressing global issues (although the funding of their operating costs is to me an area where you could argue). Regardless if you are against abortion, rights for illegal immigrants, or Clinton, it is hard to look at the projects that these grants fund and disapprove (well at least to me).

Interestingly enough Planned Parenthood still gets money from Title X from the federal government. Alternatively, abstinence education programs have been funded by the government disproportionately at $400 million (Clinton’s funding for it was about $100 million). THE GOVERNMENT! Ironically enough, Title X and Planned Parenthood’s funding was set up by George H.W. Bush. Just so you know $50 million is given to programs through Title X. ARE WE NOT SUPRISED YET?

Is the liberal witch hunt over yet? It’s getting old and tired.


  • At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is it really that difficult to understand why the Journal would express disapproval of the continued funding, in any form, of a racist organization?
    If I leave money to The Food Bank and White Only New Mexico would you consider my critics to be siily or hyperventilating for pointing out the obvious or for missing the good that I will have done?

  • At 12:34 AM, Blogger Wang said…

    I'm not really sure how to answer this as I don't remember my article being about support of racism.

    I'm going to guess that you are talking about the National Council of La Raza. Whether you think they are racist or not, what I pointed out in the post was that the projects the Gates foundation funds for them are, what I think are honorable non-profit activities.

    If you are still reading, please inform me what exactly you are talking about, it's hard for me to do guess work at vague statements.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but who are your critics when leaving money for a food bank? If you gave money to White Only New Mexico, that's your freedom to do so, would I call it silly? No, I would call it misguided because as you are trying to point out, it's racist. However you are making an entirely false comparison.

    If you were giving money to White Only New Mexico and that money was earmarked for Katrina Relief or sheltering poor destitute white people, you'd have your critics, I would not be one of them. Do you see where I'm going with that?

    I checked for 'La Raza' being racist and even in Human Events Online, where Rep. Norwood severly criticizes 'La Raza' he falls short of calling them racist.

    "Is the National Council of La Raza itself a racist organization? Regardless of the organization's suspect ties, the majority of its members are not. When one examines all the organization's activities, they are commendable non-profit projects, such as education and housing programs." - Rep. Norwood

    All I am talking about in my post is commendable non-profit projects as funded by the Gates Foundation. Is it really that difficult to understand?

  • At 4:30 PM, Blogger Sean said…

    Hmm...I'm afraid to touch this one. But...well...if I had tons of money to give up to good causes there may be some that I wouldn't give to out of principle (such as NOW or the ACLU, possibly Planned Parenthood though it does a lot of good as well as what I see as a lot of harm) but you are right to say that most should be taken on the merit of the individual project or program for which the money has been donated.
    As for the partisanship exhibited in Clara's column - let me just say that conservatives and liberals are equally stupid, dense, and shortsighted.
    And as for closing the wealth disparity gap - both sides want this to happen. There is simply disagreement as to how this can be done. Being a libertarian-social-federalist myself, I tend to disagree with everyone on this (yeah figure that one out.)


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