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Old 04-16-2019, 09:13 PM
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erimir erimir is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Default Re: Ultimate Cagefight MMXIX, Democratic Edition

Bernie Sanders finally released his tax returns and it revealed that... he made a lot of money in the past few years, and otherwise nothing particularly notable.

I saw some people attacking him for not giving more to charity, and I guess he could afford to give more. But I believe Bernie Sanders has some level of ideological opposition to charity.

Some of you may be surprised to find that I'm about to defend Bernie Sanders (because you have decided that I'm a center-right status quo shill or some other such idiocy because I disagree with you about other things), but this is not an area where I disagree with him! Charity is certainly better than wealth-hoarding, but most charity is handing out help to a lucky few while leaving the underlying causes untouched. Building a school is nice and all... ensuring that the government is willing and able to fund schools for everyone is far better, IMO.

That someone compared Sanders unfavorably to Bill Gates and his philanthropic endeavors. But Gates's endeavors are largely non-political (and the ones that have some political component include promoting charter schools, which is ineffective, scapegoats teachers and is often a backdoor way of busting the teachers' unions) while right-wing billionaires spend more money on ensuring that the government is unaccountable to the people and thus cements their own power, while giving smaller amounts to charity so they can portray themselves as helping people. Libertarians are often quite charitable, btw, because their opposition isn't necessarily to helping people. They just want to decide who is worthy of help, rather than the people democratically taking and using the power to help themselves.

Gates would be more effective in helping people (in the US anyway) if he spent more of his money on promoting things that increase people's power rather than merely addressing the symptoms of their poverty. Individual Democratic candidates don't want and probably wouldn't benefit from a billionaire sugar daddy, but he could invest Adelson-like sums in promoting voter registration, efforts to combat gerrymandering and voter suppression, unionization, providing material support to striking workers, etc. etc. Efforts that would help Democrats get elected, and would result in his taxes going up and programs being better funded, thus reducing the need for his philanthropy. Billionaires helping to, say, build schools for the lucky few who receive their beneficence while ignoring the reasons why schools aren't adequately funded in the first place is nice and all, but doesn't help the vast majority of people and coincidentally is no threat to their socioeconomic positions.

Philanthropy is admirable, but it isn't anywhere near a replacement for a government where the poor have their priorities properly represented and Gates doesn't seem particularly concerned about ensuring we have one, while right-wing billionaires spend their money to ensure we don't.

That said, Sanders could certainly afford to give more money than 3%, if that is the extent of his donations. But I wouldn't be the least bit bothered if his charitable deductions were low because he gave more money to left-wing political causes which are non-deductible.
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