I wonder if some pundits and government officials belong to the same species I do or even if they are on the same planet.
I don’t understand the mentality that the less power and privilege you have, the more you are responsible for other people’s behavior.
I first noticed that mentality a generation ago when Cal Thomas’ Daily News column suggested that our morally decadent culture was responsible for the widespread corruption by Reagan Administration officials. Apparently, all those unwed pregnant teenagers were inflicting the poor dears with bad examples.
About the same time US government officials advised South African blacks to emulate Martin Luther King, Jr. and react non-violently to the apartheid regime that was slaughtering them. I never heard our government officials explain why violence was okay for whites but not for blacks.
A decade later former National Public Radio reporter Eric Weiner told Anchorage Daily News readers Palestinians should respond non-violently to Israeli violence against them.
Apparently, that mentality surfaced again last Wednesday in our paper. Allan Luks of the Los Angeles Times called for leadership, not from billionaires, not from megacorporations, not from government contractors that don’t pay their taxes, but from charities. He wants them to kiss off an estimated $3 billion in contributions as the government cuts contributors’ allowable deductions from 50% of taxable income down to 2%.
“If the nation’s 800,000 public charities that file returns with the Internal Revenue Service speak out and say they will accept the proposed tax treatment change for contributions, they would exercise their role as the public’s conscience,” Luks says. “They would force a good part of the private sector to look into the mirror and ask whether certain changes and compromise may be best for their own, their children’s and the nation’s future.”
Luks believes that “would embarrass and provoke the leaders of manufacturers, corporations, banks, hedge funds…to accept government spending cuts and tax increases proposed for their own areas as proof of their genuine interest in jump-starting the economic recovery.”
Yeah, right. Let’s see: The con artists who promised poor people they could afford to buy houses they obviously couldn’t, the Leona Helmsley disciples who believe taxes are for “little people,” the Enron executives who bragged about stealing from poor widows, the oil companies that respond to massive spills with public relations officers and the military contractors who inflate their charges to the taxpayers will all suddenly become converted because poor people will lose their safety nets provided by the private sector.
Sorry, but not even I am that naïve. I trust those special interests to do only one thing—laugh all the way to their tax shelters.
But who knows, the politicians may just go along with the scheme to make the poorest of the poor subsidize the richest of the rich. They might emulate the French, who demanded compensation from Haiti, when it “deprived” French slaveholders of their “property rights” by ending slavery a couple of hundred years ago.
If nothing else, the Donald Trumps and David Kochs of our country can always blame their behaviors on charities and poor people who failed to provide them with enough moral leadership.