Liberty, Other Concerns

Tax-Exempt Foundations, 1

This post includes an interview with Mr. Norman Dodd by G. Edward Griffin in 1982 regarding the origins of tax-exempt foundations. I add this post as a Concern due to its significance with regard to our liberty. The video I’m including here is an enlightening history of the advent of large, tax-exempt foundations many years ago in the United States. Too many people do not understand the negative impact these huge foundations have had on our economy, as well as on the rhetoric pervading our society. These foundations were under some scrutiny in the 1950’s — and for good reason.

This video is an engaging interview of an elderly Mr. Norman Dodd by G. Edward Griffin in 1982. Mr. Dodd was Staff Director of the Congressional Special Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations (Also known as The Reece Committee, reference Congressman Carroll Reece). While the entire interview is fascinating, pay close attention to the words said beginning around the 19+ minute mark.

Unfortunately, the Reece Committee was disbanded, and the origins of — and the real reasons for the existence of — non-tax-paying, billions-of-dollars-collecting foundations has been lost on most Americans. Most people believe that they are nothing more than a vehicle by which people can make tax-exempt donations to charity, and that they do a lot of good toward our fellow man. While it’s true that most people would be eligible to take tax exemptions for approved charitable donations, do you know why these large foundations were begun by the most rich and powerful people in America? Was it out of the goodness of their hearts? I admit that I once wanted to believe this, too.

Like forced “volunteerism” in schools these days — the idea looks and sounds good. I ask you: Does forcing children to donate time and collect money, shaming them as being selfish if they don’t do so, rhetorically selling to all of us for the past 75 years that doing so is for the “common good,” for “the community” (not to mention publicly bribing the children who sell the most with “free” iPads) sound like rugged American individualism? Does it sound charitable? And don’t even get me started on group grading for schoolchildren and their “collaborative” projects.

Vladimir Lenin is said to have stated, “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll change the world.” It would be fairly simple to convince an entire nation to become communal if the children were all to grow up being convinced that it’s the right thing to do, wouldn’t it? Four generations later, we are almost there.

The United States is a superiorly generous nation. We give more for disaster relief and other truly needy causes than any other nation on Earth, and I’d venture to guess that most folks don’t do it so that they can get a tax deduction. But isn’t being shamed into “collaboration” for the “common good,” the “community,” or the “collective” simply a substitute for an “-ism” that once would have been called “un-American”?

Are we really so arrogant as to believe that we can do these -isms better than everyone else ever has? And are we really so ignorant as to believe that those at the top of the food chain will be the same as you and me under that -ism — that they will relinquish their power and control for commoners such as you and I to rise to the middle, while they voluntarily soar down through the ranks to join us there?

We must be very careful to whom we give our hard-earned money. As G. Edward Griffin says in the video’s introduction, these foundations exist for much more than simply “charity, good works, and philanthropy.”

And we must be very careful with the freedoms we have left if we want to keep them.

Griffin-Dodd 1982