By Mencken’s Ghost
Dec. 4, 2013
Let’s begin with a quiz. The USGA is:
a) A golf association headquartered in ritzy Far Hills, NJ
b) A sports conglomerate with $150 million in revenue
c) A nonprofit charity according to the federal government
d) All of the above
Correct answer: d
The USGA is one of the more than one million nonprofits in the country that are exempt from paying income taxes, ostensibly because they do charitable work that benefits society and provide services that the government would have to provide if they didn’t exist.
In reality, most of them have nothing to do with helping the poor, educating the uneducated, or healing the sick.
If you donate to such charities, you are a sap. Come to think of it, you are a sap even if you don’t donate directly to them, because you are forced to donate to them and their highly paid executives through the tax code.
The nonprofit industry is one more example in a list of examples approaching infinity of how the government corrupts everything it touches and creates powerful special interests that are impossible to remove once they attach themselves to every nook and cranny of the body politic. And this happens whether the government is controlled by Democrats or Republicans.
You might ask about nonprofit hospitals. Don’t they heal the sick? Don’t they fill a void left by those evil profit-making hospitals that throw bleeding poor people on the street? No, they don’t. The fact is that there is not a significant difference between nonprofit and for-profit hospitals in the degree of uncompensated care that they provide as a percent of their revenue. Moreover, contrary to the conventional wisdom, there is about a 61% chance that a for-profit hospital is profitable, versus a 77% chance that a nonprofit hospital is profitable.
Take famous New York-Presbyterian Hospital or the equally famous Sinai Medical Center. They have used charitable contributions from Wall Street plutocrats—who get tax deductions in return—to build swank wings where the well-heeled can have amenities and services on par with luxury hotels.
Or take First Lady Michelle Obama, who cares so much for the little people. She held a $300,000 make-work patronage position at a Chicago hospital while her husband was doling out government money (aka your money) as a community organizer. Yet Democrat saps voted for her husband.
Then there are the saps who voted for George W. Bush and his fiscally conservative—guffaw!—Republican Party. Under GWB, Department of Education grants to the 21st Century Learning Centers went from $40 million to $1 billion. Unless you are an institution or contractor on the receiving end of this moola, you probably haven’t heard of the Learning Centers. They are another crackpot idea to bring at-risk kids to after-school programs to remedy behavioral and learning problems, most of which are due to longstanding and misguided social-welfare programs that have obliterated two-parent families and resulted in an exponential growth in one-parent households, which tend to be incubators for crime, poverty and dropouts.
Once a program like the Learning Centers takes hold, the Law of Concentrated Benefits and Dispersed Costs takes effect. More than anything else—more than crony capitalism, more than Federal Reserve money printing, more than the current socialist/fascist/imperialist state—the Law is the cause of the nation’s fiscal decline and ultimate demise.
According to the Law, those on the receiving end of government largess are better organized, more motivated, and more politically powerful than the individual taxpayers who foot the bill. If you doubt this, then try to get Congress to rescind the Learning Centers—or any other endeavor funded by taxpayers at large. You will spend the rest of your life and all of your money to no avail. Not only that, but you also will be attacked by the special interests and their enablers in government and the media as mean-spirited, selfish and hardhearted.
Speaking of the media, are there any bigger saps than graduates of journalism schools? Other than learning to write simple declarative sentences and to regurgitate statist cant, they show no sign of being sentient beings. To wit:
Once a year in my hometown of metro Phoenix, graduates of the Walter Cronkite School of [Statist] Journalism at Arizona State University put on their cheerleading skirts and grab their pom-poms to cheer for the Fiesta Bowl with their saccharine coverage. They don’t have the inquisitiveness, intelligence, or courage to point out that the Fiesta Bowl is considered a nonprofit charity under tax law and that it receives government handouts in addition to getting a pass on income taxes.
To protect their nonprofit tax status, Fiesta Bowl executives tout the relatively paltry amount of money they give to charity. They are less vocal about their rich pay and perks. In 2009, for example, Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker was paid $592,418. To him, charity began at home—his home.
Other bowl organizations also are uncharitable charities. They spend millions of dollars on entertainment and gifts for college officials and themselves. The Orange Bowl staff alone spent $1.6 million in 2009 on entertaining, catering, and golf outings. At the same time, federal subsidies to the Orange Bowl amounted to $1.2 million.
Admittedly, I have a personal grudge against college bowl games. One year, as I approached a busy traffic intersection, a squadron of motorcycle cops squealed into the intersection to stop me and other drivers. Was it an emergency? Was the president of the USA in town? No, swank motor coaches full of Fiesta Bowl gladiators, er, athletes, were being given a police escort from their resort to the Roman Coliseum, er, football stadium. I was stopped so that players who couldn’t string together simple declarative sentences didn’t have to stop. In other words, taxpayers had to stop but tax recipients didn’t have to stop.
We are the USS, the United States of Saps.
The book With Charity for All details just how sappy we are. It details how charities exploded in number and political influence when the government expanded tax exemptions for dubious causes and outsourced social-welfare services to private charities and nonprofit foundations. This has allowed phony do-gooders like billionaire Warren Buffet to extol the virtues of estate taxes while he ensconces his offspring in a cushy nonprofit foundation funded with tax deductions that get around the estate tax. Of course Buffet is applauded by the saps on the left and gets invited to the White House, where he and Michelle probably giggle about how easy it is to hoodwink the public.
Even big-name charities are big scams, as the aforementioned book explains. They claim to achieve results that can’t be verified or measured.
As I know from personal experience, the worst charities are those run by bleeding-heart left-liberals. Having the misfortune of consulting with several of them, I found that the executives are greedier, more backstabbing and more status-conscious than executives of Wall Street investment banks.
Government money not only corrupts charities but also transforms their ideology. Those that would otherwise have a conservative bent, such as Catholic Charities, have become bastions of left-liberalism and lobbyists for big government, due to being addicted to government subsides.
If you are asked for money by an uncharitable charity this holiday season, you might want to say, “Thanks, but you already got my money through the tax code.” Or you could simply say, “Have a Merry Christmas and go to hell!”
_________________Mencken’s Ghost can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.