RUSH: I want you to ask yourself a question: In your life, your entire life, have you ever thought of the government — have you ever thought of taxes and welfare together — as charity? Now, we know the Catholic Church did. They’ve admitted it. Various prelates, archbishops, monsignors, popes, over the years, we know have equated high taxes and activist government with charity. That’s why they supported it. “Liberalism, socialism equals charity. That’s what we churches do, is we help the poor.” Blah, blah.
But I’m asking: In your lifetime, have you ever heard anybody who has achieved in life or is successful and maybe rich argue for tax increases — or argue against tax cuts on the basis, “No, no. We need to help people. It’s charity. The government’s charity” — as a way of making themselves feel good and look good to others? I’m not aware of it. In my lifetime, up until Obama becoming president, I’m not aware of this phenomenon of the rich and the successful looking at tax increases as okay because that’s charity.
Charity is not donated at the point of a gun or threat of a prison cell, a la Obamacare! Charity is not conscripted. Charity is willingly given from the heart, or for the tax deduction. But you have no choice when it comes to taxes. I’d like to see how the government stacks up as a charity anyway based on the usual standards that we would measure other charities by: The administrative costs, what are the real results, the net dollars, all that. I bet it would look bad.
RUSH: Speaking of charity, we have a column here by the great Dr. Thomas Sowell who is at the Hoover Institute on the campus at Stanford University. It’s a little conservative enclave out there. Dr. Sowell wanted to see the Dinesh D’Souza movie, 2016: Obama’s America. They didn’t let a copy of it inside the city limits of Palo Alto. They wouldn’t even let it drive through there on the way anywhere else. They wouldn’t even let the movie, the DVD, whatever media it’s on, they wouldn’t let it in town. He had to drive 30 miles to see the movie, and it was so crowded he sat in the steps in the aisle in the balcony.
“The theme that most seemed to rouse the enthusiasm of delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte was that we are all responsible for one another Â— and that Republicans don’t want to help the poor, the sick and the helpless. All of us should be on guard against beliefs that flatter ourselves. At the very least, we should check such beliefs against facts. Yet the notion that people who prefer economic decisions to be made by individuals in the market are not as compassionate as people who prefer those decisions to be made collectively by politicians is seldom even thought of as a belief that should be checked against facts.”
What he’s saying is, how did it evolve that politicians are bigger hearted, have more caring and more concern, more compassion than individuals in the private sector who engage in charitable acts? He’s asking, where did this start? Well, he says this notion’s not confined to Democrats in America today, which was exactly my point mere moments ago. “Belief in the superior compassion of the political left is a worldwide phenomenon that goes back at least as far as the 18th century.” That would be the 1700s for those of you in Rio Linda. “But in all that time, and in all those places, there has been little, if any, effort on the left to check this crucial assumption against facts.
“When an empirical study of the actual behavior of American conservatives and liberals was published in 2006, it turned out that conservatives donated a larger amount of money, and a higher percentage of their incomes (which were slightly lower than liberal incomes) to philanthropic activities. Conservatives also donated more of their time to philanthropic activities and donated far more blood than liberals. What is most remarkable about this study are not just its results. What is even more remarkable is how long it took before anyone even bothered to ask the questions. It was just assumed, for centuries, that the left was more compassionate.
“Ronald Reagan donated a higher percentage of his income to charitable activities than did either Franklin D. Roosevelt or Ted Kennedy.” He had nowhere near the money either of those two guys had. “Being willing to donate the taxpayers’ money is not the same as being willing to put your own money where your mouth is. Milton Friedman pointed out that the heyday of free market capitalism in the 19th century was a period of an unprecedented rise in philanthropic activity. Going even further back in time, in the 18th century Adam Smith, the patron saint of free market economics, was discovered from records examined after his death to have privately made large charitable donations, far beyond what might have been expected from someone of his income level.
“Helping those who have been struck by unforeseeable misfortunes is fundamentally different from making dependency a way of life. Although the big word on the left is ‘compassion,’ the big agenda on the left is dependency. The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state.”
See, and this is seductive. This notion that government is charity, it gets you off the hook. You don’t have to do anything. All you have to do is run and say that you are in favor of tax increases. That’s all you have to do. As a rich Republican, as a rich liberal, as a moderately successful anybody, just say you support tax increases and you’re automatically assumed to be a charitable person and it gets you off the hook. And since everybody’s so focused on what other people think of them, the whole notion of government as charity is made to order. Thomas Sowell has written, and it’s being retweeted all over Twitter: “I have never believed for a moment that Barack Obama has the best interests of the United States at heart.” I’ve said the same thing in my own, of course, unique way. But so does Sowell. It’s been retweeted all over the place.
RUSH: No, I haven’t decided whether I’m going to divulge the reason. Why did I mention that Obama is set up very well to solve the Chicago schoolteacher strike? Noted thinkers and media types are saying that I’m full of it; that this is too toxic. Obama’s got nothing to gain by doing that. Well, there’s a reason for mentioning it. Regardless what happens. I don’t know when these people are going to figure it out. It’s been 24 years.