The Finances of Hypocrisy
by EDWARD CLINE
December 17, 2012
Bill Gates is liquidating his billions to "do good" - "dedicated to improving lives here and around the world" - and also to avoid an annual tax bill that could match the GNP of Luxembourg or perhaps Switzerland. His foundation website boasts the egalitarian motto: "All Lives Have Equal Value."
Do they? Doubtless, Bill Gates believes they do. But is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation merely a super-sized tax dodge? All tax dodges are altruist in nature. And hypocritical. Our tax code enforces altruism by granting deductions for charity and exempting nonprofit enterprises. It encourages dishonesty and - what is worse than tax evasion - moral evasion, and ultimately moral corruption.
Much has been written by critics since the beginning of 2009 and President Barack Obama's reign about the hypocrisy of members of his allies in the Left/Liberal Establishment. Particular focus has been on wealthy politicians and the champions of left/liberal causes, such as movie stars and professional talking heads, who advocate financial discipline and lower expectations for Americans but who don't themselves wish to practice what they preach.
This barrage of accusations has largely fallen on deaf ears. Virtually the only thing that will guarantee the permanent potting and retirement of a liberal is a sex scandal, à la former North Carolina Senator John Edwards or former New York governor Eliot Spitzer. A charge of criminal behavior and gross malfeasance of public funds and just plain blatant corruption sometimes works, but not always. New York congressman Charles Rangel is a case in point. He was "censured" by the House in 2010 but still maintains his corrupt ways and lifestyle, and grins at you from his House web page with the amiability of a card shark.
Hurling a charge of hypocrisy at a liberal hypocrite is about as effective as throwing a spitball at the back of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sporting a flak jacket. It is a fruitless, impotent act because the target is by nature inured against charges of verisimilitude, dissimulation, venality, and double standards. Morality, honesty, integrity, and legally gained wealth - these virtues, the hypocrite avers, are for others, not for him. He is of the elite and must have some freedom of action and viable options and financial security and comfort so he has the leisure time to concoct his utopian fiscal and social plans for everyone else, and then propose them with the religious fervor of a ragged desert anchorite.
Charges of hypocrisy have never made hypocrites blush in embarrassment. When such charges are made public, a hypocrite's first concern is his public image, not the falseness and fraudulence of his private and public character. Such charges only move his ilk to erect even higher opaque barriers to exposure and to dig deeper labyrinths of secrecy.
As a rule, liberals and advocates of confiscatory taxation seek to conserve and protect their nest eggs from the very tax and fiscal policies they propose for everyone else. They can afford the tax lawyers and CPA firms which most middle income individuals can only dream of employing. Liberals such as John Kerry and any random Kennedy patronize the services of law firms and CPA firms with a dozen names between them to fix their books. All others must patronize a strip mall's Jackson Hewitt or H&R Block.
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid are prime examples. Well, Reid is perhaps the poorest politician, declaring at least $5 million. Representing Nevada, perhaps he's lost too much in the Las Vegas slots and craps tables. Pelosi, however, is married to money, and is worth at least $35 million. Whether that figure means her personal assets or assets combined with her husband's holdings, isn't quite clear. They own a lot of real estate in San Francisco.
Nancy Pelosi fought like the Botox harpy she is for Obamacare. Obamacare was for the little people, not for her. Little people are individuals who are worth at least $250,000, but no more. She and her House colleagues are all exempted from all its mandates, more or less for life. Her Congressional salary and her personal fortune will ensure her the best medical care and insurance coverage money can buy. Everyone else must settle for less, or for rationed care, or for even nothing. Pelosi, now 73 years old, needn't worry that her name will someday come up for review by an Obamacare death panel when she is beyond Botox treatments and needs a walker or a wheelchair to get around.
Massachusetts Senator John "Swift Boat" Kerry, who poses as a man of the people looking out for the people, was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and aEuropean pedigree, and all his life apparently kept himself as far away as possible from the people. He is the classic liberal elitist who finagled and married his way to the top of the social and political establishment. A few years ago he was worth about $194 million. His second wife since 1995, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is worth much more than that, having inherited wealth exceeding$500 million from her first husband, Pennsylvania Republican Senator John Heinz, who died in a helicopter accident. Yes, this is the same Heinz of the ketchup and sauce company. Teresa Kerry is a career do-gooder with her manicured fingers in every conceivable altruist cause.
Texas Representative Michael McCaul is not a household name, but he is wealthier than John Kerry, worth at least $294 million. His wife, Linda, is the daughter of Clear Channel Communications chairman Lowry Mays, and the sister of Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays, and is worth about $500 million. Michael is worth about $294 million because his wife's family gave it to him.
Barack Obama must settle for collecting a mere $400,000 a year in presidential salary, a pittancecompared with other politicians' income. But he has been compensated handsomely by his book sales.
When Barack Obama first entered the White House, his net worth was $1.3 million. Four years later that net worth has grown to 800% to $11.8 million....
Barack's wallet began to expand after his much praised keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that marked his explosion onto the national conscience. As Obama's profile rose, so did sales of his 1995 book "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance". In 2005, the Obama's income grew from around $200,000 to a combined $1.7 million! In 2006 the Obamas reported income of $916,000. Barack's second book "Audacity of Hope", released in October 2006, was a massive hit, selling millions of copies and rocketing the Obama's income to $4.2 million in 2007! Their income continued to swell in the following years thanks to Barack's 2008 successful campaign and election.
Of course, these books were ghost-written, and the ghost, very likely Obama's meet-and-greet master, Bill Ayers, has ever since been muttering, sotto voce, "You didn't write them." When he leaves office, Obama will emulate fellow statist Bill Clinton and become a globe-trotting raconteur and amass an even greater fortune from speaking fees and videos and more books. These socialists really like their money.
What follows is a list of the best known politicians and their net worth:
#1: Michael Bloomberg's Net Worth- $19.5 Billion
#2: Michael McCaul's Net Worth -$294 Million
#3: Mitt Romney's Net worth -$250 Million
#4: Darrell Issa's Net Worth -$220 Million
#5: Jane Harman's Net Worth -$200 Million
#6: John Kerry's - $194 Million
#7: Jared Polis's Net Worth -$160 Million
#8: Bill and Hillary Clinton's Net Worth - $101.5 Million
#9: Rick Scott Net Worth's - $103 Million
#10: Jay Rockefeller Net Worth's- $86 Million
#11: Mark Warner's Net Worth -$76 Million
#12: Frank Lautenberg's Net Worth- $55 Million
#13: Richard Blumenthal's Net Worth - $53 Million
#14: Dianne Feinstein's Net Worth- $45 Million
#15: Vern Buchanan's Net Worth -$45 Million
Outside of politics- at least, not as politicians - leftist activist, Pentecostal preacher, and race-hustler Al Sharpton is worth $5 million. Jesse Jackson, a Baptist minister, leftist activist, and race-hustler is worth about $10 million. Both Sharpton and Jackson inserted themselves into the George Zimmerman/ Trayvon Martin issue somewhat prematurely, charging Zimmerman with "racism," unaware that Zimmerman is nearly as Hispanic as was Pancho Villa, but of greater moral stature. So did Obama, who opined publically that Martin a kind of "ideal" son he didn't have. But one thinks now that he'd rather everyone forget that blurb because Martin, it has come to light, was merely a young punk with a chip on his shoulder, looking for trouble. But, then, that could just as well describe Barack Obama.
Leftist and anti-war activist Jane Fonda is worth an estimated $120 million, but her ex-husband, the manic depressive broadcasting mogul Ted Turner, is worth about $2 billion. Turner is also the largest land-owner in the U.S. Leftist web mistress Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post was worth some $35 million until she sold the Post in 2011 to AOL for $315 million. Arianna married Michael Huffington, of the Huffington energy family, who helped her found the Post, but was divorced from him in 1997.
Wealthy, individual supporters of Obama's nihilistic socialist agenda - an agenda that envisions the diminution of America as a political, military, and financial power - come in many sizes and stripes. The Associated Press lists five of Obama's biggest individual donors to his 2012 reelection campaign: Fred Eychaner, founder of Newsweb Corporation, $3.57 million; James Simons, founder of Renaissance Technologies, $3.5 million; Jeffrey Katzenberg, a Hollywood film producer and CEO of Dreamworks Animation, $3.07 million; Irwin Jacobs, founder of Qualcomm, $2.122 million; and Jon Stryker, philanthropist, $2.066 million.
So what? one may ask. The paradox is that after witnessing Obama's performance during his first term of office, these individuals wished to see four more years of it. It means that they endorse his destructive policies. They may not call them destructive- progressive, yes, socialist or communist, never, it would be the height of tactlessness - but nevertheless they are destructive, consciously, deliberately destructive. They don't seem to mind that the destruction is visited on everyone else. Their ignorance of the consequences of Obama's policies is but a ruse that disguises their shared malice for America, one they share with Obama.
Corporate donors to Obama's first run for president in 2008, through their PACs, included many of the companies that needed bailing out of their sub-prime mortgage swindles via TARP and other Obama-inspired instances of federal fiscal prodigality. Topping the list was the University of California, at $1,648,685. Next was Goldman Sachs, at $1,013,091. Then came Harvard University at $878.164, and Microsoft at $852,167. Google donated $814,540.
Google, for example, this election cycle wanted more of the same, too. That is, it endorses taxing the rich, increased government spending, and "spreading the wealth" around a lot - so long as it isn't Google's, or Microsoft's, or Harvard's wealth. Daniel Greenfield reveals a little about Google's relationship with Obama:
Google's creepy ex-CEO Eric Schmidt was a major Obama donor and campaign advisor, and was even considered for a Cabinet post. Schmidt was on Obama's transition board and is a member of his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
So naturally when Obama talks about making the rich pay, he doesn't mean his friends at Google who moved 80 percent of their pre-tax profits into a shell company in Bermuda.
Read the linked Bloomberg article here. When it comes to paying their "fair share of taxes" to support the programs they endorse, companies like Google are paragons of hypocrisy. Their money is so special it must be preserved offshore. Other people's money is not so special - tax havens and loopholes ought to be closed to them so that there is no escape - and seized to support a mixed economy of taxes and regulations and "social justice" which Google would not otherwise survive were it not for those evil tax havens and loopholes.
Nonprofits, the really big ones, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, with net assets of $238.1 million, also squirrel away money in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Matthew Vadum reports on other nonprofits with visions of an egalitarian, socialist U.S.
SPLC's robust balance sheet dwarfs those of other big leftist groups. For example, the highly influential Center for American Progress, founded by Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta, discloses net assets of just $36.6 million, or less than one-sixth of SPLC's bank ledger.
In 2011 FrontPage interviewed author Peter Schweizer about the gulf between the words and actions of the banner bearers of the Left, that is, about the dichotomy between the Left's ideas and what leftists do about them in the way of preserving their wealth.
FrontPage: Why do you think people are drawn to leftist ideals and what kind of people are they? Self-contempt appears to be a common ingredient, no?
Schweizer:Yes, self-contempt is a big part of it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German pastor who stood up to Hitler, wrote a book about "cheap grace." Liberals are guilty of cheap grace in the political sense. They feel guilty and their form of penance is embracing the destructive ideas of the progressive faith. But it's cheap grace because as I show it the book, they don't actually change the way they live. I think that the religious comparison makes sense because in many respects the modern day left represents a religious movement. They are motivated by a sense of sin, guilt, and the need for salvation and absolution in the political sense. Socialism offers salvation to them. Of course, they don't actually plan to live like socialists.
No, they don't. But I beg to differ with Schweizer's summary conclusions. The issue isn't as simple as mere hypocrisy, or liberal guilt, of finding that "old time Progressive religion," or even of self-contempt. Those are just minor moral misdemeanors sitting in the shadow of a worse capital crime.
There is an operative evil at work in every one of the instances cited above. That evil is: Knowing that the ideas one supports are unworkable and destructive - ideas premised on the morality of altruism - and, knowing the certain consequences of those ideas, wishing and acting to escape them. This is tantamount to championing the old medical practice of bleeding a person to purge his body of mysterious "humors," but then demanding that one personally, secretly be hooked up to an IV for transfusions of healthy blood. Call it the ethics of moral schizoids, but that would be generous diagnosis of what passes for the moral high ground in leftists.
As did members of the Nazi elite who secreted their wealth and ill-gotten gains from Germany into Swiss bank accounts - in implicit votes of no confidence in the economic policies of their Führer - American statists take advantage of every chance to preserve their money from the scorched earth policies of a succession of administrations, most recently those of Barack Obama.
Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and suspense novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all available on Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security Matters, Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.