17 Dec 2013

“He Covets. That is his Nature.”

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Robert Reich
Kevin D. Williamson responds devastatingly to a recent editorial by Professor Robert Reich advocating increased limits on tax deductibility for private philanthropy.

Prayerful people bargaining with God over lottery numbers no doubt imagine that they would do some worthy things with that money, on top of buying a Ferrari. Progressives imagine all the wonderful things they could do with other people’s money, and no doubt some of them are well-intentioned. But envy poisons whatever good intentions they have, which is how men such as Professor Reich come to write resentful indictments of people who are, remember, giving away billions of dollars of their own money. He’d prefer their money be given away by him, or by bureaucracies under the tutelage of men such as himself. As the moral philosopher Hannibal Lecter put it: “He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet? Do we seek out things to covet? No. We begin by coveting what we see every day.”

Megan McArdle once observed that in our public discourse, “very rich” is defined as “just above the level a top-notch journalist in a two-earner couple could be expected to pull down.” There is no envy like the envy of a $250,000 man in a world of $250 million men, as Robert Duvall’s crusty newspaper editor explains to a financially frustrated employee in The Paper: “The people we cover — we move in their world, but it is their world. We don’t get the money — never have, never will.” But being in that world, they learn to covet, which helps explain why Professor Reich’s old boss, Bill Clinton, ended up with $50-odd million in the bank after a lifetime of public service.

Americans gave away $316 billion in 2012, and will give away as much or more this year, and Professor Reich composed 731 words to explain the problems related to that. He should have composed two words, especially relevant to this season:

“Thank you.”

6 Feedbacks on "“He Covets. That is his Nature.”"


It’s is not just journalists and government workers who visit but are not apart of that world.

It is also the non-profiteers.

Worse, the non-profiteers have to ingratiate themselves to get their pittance. They’d much rather sit at the government man’s table parsing the money than have to try to appeal to the rich man’s vanity.


What Mr. Reich and other liberals covet is the ability to force others to use their assets in ways that THEY find pleasing. I am very frustrated to see for what “charitable causes” George Soros uses his wealth. But as a conservative I have no interest in forcing him to do otherwise.

T. Shaw

Those people are idiots. And, they’re in power. Heaven help us. It alreday may be irreversivble.


I see no valid reason that anyone should be given a tax deduction for giving money away. If it is charity or non-charity let them give from their after tax funds.

Skid Marx

…and now Robert B. Reeeiiiccchhhah with glorious plans of redistributed fairness and equality.

Maggie's Farm

Thursday morning links…

Another friend has a new book out:  JerusaLand: An Insignificant Death Reddit bans climate debate Caffein + alcohol protect your DNA Ultra-Right Philistine Glenn Reynolds Condemned Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson ignores the PC…


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