WSJ's Daniel Henninger recently penned an insightful and main stream contrarian piece on the current President in regard to his economic philosophy: Obama's Millionaire Obsession (April 28,2011). It provides the occasion to call to mind the success of private sector philanthropy and to record a memorable quote...
Since the Pilgrims, no nation has seen more wealth flow back from those who earned it into the welfare of the nation they inhabit.
Andrew Carnegie alone built more than 1,600 libraries in the U.S. Today, according to Internal Revenue Service data, there are some 110,000 grant-making private foundations in the U.S. Beyond the foundations bearing the names of famously undertaxed plutocrats such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates there are another hundred thousand or so, often run by modestly wealthy families whose foundations support a vast array of needs—scholarships, schools, hospitals, cultural institutions and even causes across the political spectrum, no doubt including windmills.
The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College reports that giving by individuals hit an astounding $243 billion in 2007. As to the millionaires, the report says, "In that year, households with $1 million or more in net worth gave 52%, or $126.15 billion." During the 2008 recession, their giving dropped 4% "because there were 27% fewer millionaire households at that time." But by the end of 2009, giving by millionaire households returned to 52% of the national total.
It is an eternal question whether the deductibility of such spending means the charitable activity by these people is bogus and driven only by self-regard. One man's answer: Eliminate the charitable deduction, drop—or flatten—the top tax rate and total giving will rise, not fall. Giving is what Americans do, at all income levels.
It becomes clearer by the day that Barack Obama's worldview is that if money isn't spent by the federal government, it's somehow irrelevant. What began with the $800 billion stimulus in 2009 has turned into a personal compulsion to fund his galaxy of public "investments," such as high-speed rail and biofuels research.