My thought is that once private dollars replace public dollars, even if it couched in all sorts of caveats, contingencies, and no “promise” of future support, the die has been cast.
Let's review the bidding here in the Ownership Society:
- Cut taxes on dividends, capital gains and estates
- Flatten taxes on income, shifting more of the burden to the hired help
- Reduce government funding of public goods
- Deny the very existence of public goods
- Let the softhearted fund public programs if they wish
- Let the hard hearted with wealth do nothing except for themselves.
Why only now are the hard hearted funding philanthropic think tanks? Because they have finally found the angle: the poor will either have to fend for themselves, or the liberal philanthropists will have to put their money where their bleeding hearts are. You believe there is such a thing as public goods, Diana? You fund them, you Commie. You care about the poor? You fund them; you encourage them in their shiftless ways. Who's stopping you? The real benefit accrues to the wealthy free-riders who tiptoe off with their tax cuts and an ever-growing ownership share in our Ownership Society. I wish my dog were as loyal to me as Congress to lobbyists.
Until progressive philanthropy is radicalized it will simply be the tool of those who are playing the game at a higher level. Root causes? Bill Schambra can mock and bully the fine old foundations with impunity. He knows their good manners and pretense of being "above the fray" will prevent them from responding except with tight smiles and suppressed sputtering rage. I wish I was a heartless perjured conservative think tank thinker. It would be so much fun to twit the impotent left as Bill does. I don't expect progressive funders of any gender to be unladylike, but Girls, we can do better.