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How The Left Robs Dead People

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Posted on November 9 2009 5:28 pm

The left delights in grave robbing, which helps to explain why support for inheritance taxes (which go by the more honest moniker, death duties, in the U.K.) remains so high among progressive activists.

But having the tax man shake down corpses is only one way the left helps fund both the welfare state and the progressive movement’s broader program of activism. Liberals love taking money away from dead philanthropists by subverting their charitable foundations.

The topic of fidelity to donors’ intent came up on the “Glenn Beck Program” today (video here) during a discussion of the left-wing entitlemania group AARP’s (American Association of Retired Persons) support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) version of ObamaCare, which the House barely approved in the dead of night over the weekend.

The guest host said he couldn’t figure out why AARP decided to back socialist medicine.

Suggesting that there was a time when AARP wasn’t liberal, commentator Ann Coulter said

I tend to think the simpler explanation is [conservative writer] John O’Sullivan’s, that any organization that is not an explicitly a conservative organization will be taken over by left-wing loons eventually, from Carnegie Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Catholic Church for a while. Unless, I mean, it could be the choral singers of East St. Louis. Any organization that is not an expressly right-wing organization will be taken over by left-wing loons and that has certainly been true of AARP going back years and years.

Indeed, the grants handed out nowadays by the Carnegie Foundation (proper name: Carnegie Corporation of New York) and the Ford Foundation have little in common with the beliefs of those two foundations’ creators.

As Martin Morse Wooster, senior fellow at Capital Research Center (where I work,) has written both Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford

“were heroic entrepreneurs who strongly believed in free enterprise and traditional virtues…[yet]liberals or leftists control the foundations that serve to perpetuate their names.”

Carnegie formed various nonprofits with specific objectives such as the Carnegie Institution of Washington, the Carnegie Hero Fund, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which still largely mirror the late industrialist’s wishes.

But Carnegie “ran out of ideas while he still had half his fortune to spend,” Wooster writes. He created the Carnegie Corporation without indicating that it was to spend money on. “Freed from any restrictions, the Carnegie Corporation became a pillar of liberalism.”

Henry Ford and Edsel Ford created their charity to avoid confiscatory inheritance taxes but they didn’t leave instructions on how the charity should be run. Henry Ford’s grandson, Henry Ford II, largely gave up control over the charity in 1948 and “[t]he result was that liberals quickly seized control of the foundation, and Henry Ford II resigned as a trustee of the Ford Foundation in a protest over the foundation’s leftward drift,” according to Wooster.

The longer a foundation exists, the farther it moves away from the ideals of the donor, Wooster writes. This “problem of donor intent”—is “a particularly acute problem for conservative and libertarian donors, given that the sorts of people who want to be program officers or presidents of foundations are usually liberals or leftists.”

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