Grassroots Commentary

Taxpayers Pay for Billionaire Giveaways

L.E. Brown · Jan. 20, 2016

The practices of using taxpayers’ money to finance causes with which they don’t agree, but which reap good will and tax breaks for donors, continue. One of the latest examples is a corporation owned by a wanna-be statesman, adored by many, who wants to finance a campaign to purge free speech, likely using money given freely by consumers and coerced from taxpayers by the federal government.

It’s all legal.

When wealthy corporations like Facebook and individuals like Mark Zuckerman, its CEO, donate to “charity,” they avoid taxes, money that other taxpayers have to make up for.

And, for the most part, they make money donating to charity.

Remember when “entrepreneur” Ted Turner donated a million dollars to the United Nations and over five years saved 1.2 million dollars in tax write-offs doing it? All legal.

A cynic might say that when people make donations it’s not out of the goodness of their hearts, but to create tax shelters, and, importantly, to create good will, like Zuckerman did when he announced on the Oprah Winfrey Show that he gave $100 million to the Newark, N.J., public school system.

Whether the dollars aided learning is unknown, but they likely made Zuckerman followers out of some teachers and all school administrators.

Facebook’s recent donation announcement has raised at least one eyebrow, mine, the right one.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, has announced that the company is implementing a so-called “Initiative for Civil Courage Online” whose aim is to purge Europe of xenophobic, extremist posts.

Facebook’s move may be in response to a lawsuit against Twitter, brought by the widow of a man killed by ISIS. The claim, apparently, is that the killing was caused by Twitter allowing extremists to operate accounts.

As self-described statesman Joe Biden might say: “The question before us, my friends, is who gets to decide which "extremist” accounts should be denied access?“

It’s analogous to a response to proposals claiming that expanded background checks wouldn’t allow people who shouldn’t buy guns: "Who gets to decide who shouldn’t own a gun?”

One can’t be sure, but it could be that what will be stifled the most will be people whose postings are against the influx of immigrants, using what Facebook leaders call “hate speech.”

Facebook’s “initiative” is an example of a major goal of, it seems to me, most philanthropists: influence the behavior of both the intellectual elite and the little people.

There are some, no doubt non-intellectual national columnists, who are skeptical of nearly all non-profits.

For example, one of my trusted and ill-informed advisers says that the millions the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation poured into the education industry improved learning for youngsters not a whit, but caused the popularity of the Gates’ to soar to unbelievable heights, and made millions of education bureaucrats lifelong Gates fans and supporters of progressive politicians.

Incidentally, my adviser says he is now “intrinsically” studying Zuckerman’s recent gift to help illegal immigrants and will report shortly.

L.E. Brown, Jr., is an independent writer, based in Magnolia, N.C. Contact him at [email protected]

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