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Going Galt on Pope Francis?

CNBC reports that some in the Catholic donor class are becoming restless with Pope Francis's emphasis on economic justice.  That's according to billionaire founder of Home Depot, Ken Langone, who is heading up a $180 million capital campaign for the New York Archdiocese:  (HT TPM)

Langone told CNBC that one potential seven-figure donor is concerned about statements from the pope criticizing market economies as "exclusionary," urging the rich to give more to the poor and criticizing a "culture of prosperity" that leads some to become "incapable of feeling compassion for the poor."  Langone said he's raised the issue more than once with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, most recently at a breakfast in early December at which he updated him on fundraising progress.

"I've told the cardinal, 'Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don't have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don't act the same as rich people in another country,' " he said. . . . Langone, who describes himself as a devout Catholic who prays every morning, said he has told the cardinal that "you get more with honey than with vinegar." 

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Oh, what's a poor plutocrat to do?

I love the exceptionalist boilerplate, as well as the tripe about "one more hurdle."  The last forty years has been nothing but the dismantling of hurdles for capitalists like Langone.  

Eduardo, you didn't mention more pointedly Langone's not-so-subtle attempt at blackmail.  He informed Cardinal Dolan that he knows of "seven-figure donors" who might hold back their money from the capital campaign because they're "offended" or skeered of Comrade Francis' raving Marxism. 

Honestly, we have the touchiest, whiniest ruling class in American history.  They're oh so beleaguered.     Ruling-class self-pity is the most pathetic kind.

 

 

 

Oddly enough, it's Pope Francis' "honey" that seems to be responsible for much of the favorable reaction to him....

Math was my worst subject, but as I recall, a billion is 1,000 million.  If Langone is worth even one billion, he could fund the $180 million capital campaign himself out of petty cash and still be among the superrich.  What's holding him back?

Angela -- I think it's called avarice.

What's holding him back?

It's oh so easy to be generous with other people's money, isn't it?

The post says "billionaire founder of Home Depot."  It's his money, not other people's money.  Read before you post.

Well, as Francis would probably say, if Mr. Langone is sincerely seeking God and he feels he has done his share for the poor, who am I to judge?

 It's his money, not other people's money.

Precisely.

Mark -- Not at all precisely.  You and I differ over the meaning of "his money" in two related ways.  

First, the point of Angela's post, as I understood it, was that Langone himself -- using "his money," not other people's money -- could have put up the whole $180 million and still go swimming with the sharks in the pool of the 1%.  Your complaint that "it's oh so easy to be generous with other people's money" speaks, as I understand it, to what you consider Angela's desire to be cavalier with Langone's money.  I wanted it to be clear that both Angela and I are referring to Langone's pile.  

Second (and I speak for myself here, not Angela), since I do think that, for reasons I explained above, Poor Rich Kid Langone is a thief -- now matter how "generous" he is with "his money" -- that money truly belongs to the employees of Home Depot, whom he exploits every day.  I would maintain that it isn't his money -- it's rightfully theirs.  Langone himself is oh so generous with other people's money.

If the fat cat donors withhold their money, Francis will get the poorer church he wants.  I do not think he will be deterred by their threats.  It is the American bishops who will have to live with the downsizing and Dolan, already oversized, will find out what the Gospel really demands. I say "Bring it on.!"

Carlo,

Your cynicism is breathtaking, but i think you are on the wrong side of history in this case.  Wallow in your pride.

Gene, you actually do speak for me regarding who's the rightful owner of the money Langone claims is his.  I wish I'd said it myself.  

So, if I'm understanding this, the super-rich are threatening to withhold major gifts to the Church to prove that they really are so generous that we ought not to worry about the poor being cared for, to prove that amassing huge amounts of wealth is not corrupting, to demonstrate how Catholic faith can live comfortably and productively alongside their massive wealth...? QED. Just, not the way they mean it.

It's much easier for me to be generous with other people's money, considering I have none. ;)

“ … It's his money, not other people's money.”

When he give it, yes.  But when he takes the tax deduction …. No!

 

http://robertreich.org/post/69833627613

"It’s their business how they donate their money, of course. But not entirely. As with all tax deductions, the government has to match the charitable deduction with additional tax revenues or spending cuts; otherwise, the budget deficit widens.

In economic terms, a tax deduction is exactly the same as government spending. Which means the government will, in effect, hand out $40 billion this year for “charity” that’s going largely to wealthy people who use much of it to enhance their lifestyles.

To put this in perspective, $40 billion is more than the federal government will spend this year on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (what’s left of welfare), school lunches for poor kids, and Head Start, put together."

 

The teanuts should be up in arms about this.

Gene—

At 8:05 pm, you say it’s his money [emphasis in original], wanting to make clear to me, in no uncertain terms, that the money is Langone’s.

At 9:12 pm(first paragraph), you reiterate that point yet, inexplicably, claim that you have some say, or should have some say, in how he chooses to donate it.

At 9:12 pm (second paragraph), you assert that, no, it’s not his money.

Perhaps once I have a better idea of what you really think—indeed, once you have a better idea of what you really think—we can continue the conversation.  ;-)

Please tell Father S. I said Hi next time you see him.

Alan:

 

cynicism? The problem here is phariseism...

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About the Author

Eduardo Moisés Peñalver is the John P. Wilson Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the subjects of property and land use law.