Sen. Compassion?

by Don Boudreaux on August 30, 2009

in Myths and Fallacies, Other People's Money, Politics

Here’s a letter that I just sent to the Los Angeles Times:

You say that Ted Kennedy’s “most enduring legacy is that he kept reminding us of how great we could be if we chose compassion over complacency” (“Ted Kennedy, America’s conscience,” August 30).

Words are cheap.  Anyone can preach compassion, and even be free and generous with other people’s money.  The late Sen. Kennedy mastered these talents.  But surely what really matters is how generous Mr. Kennedy was with his own money.  Sadly, the answer is “not very.”

While he almost always kept his income-tax returns secret, Mr. Kennedy was obliged to release them during his run for the presidency in 1980.  These records reveal that Sen. Compassion – worth $8 million at the time (nearly $20 million in today’s dollars) and earning an annual income of close to $500,000 (almost $1.3 million in today’s dollars) – contributed a whopping one percent of his income to charity.  This percentage figure is a paltry one-fourth the size of the charitable contributions, made at the same time, of the less-wealthy Ronald Reagan.

Donald J. Boudreaux

My point, to be clear, is not that Reagan was a saint; he certainly was not.  Rather, my point is that Ted Kennedy certainly was not a saint — not even close.  Ted Kennedy, like 999 out of every 999.0001 politicians, was a fraud.

(HT Barry Conner)


91 comments    Share Share    Print    Email

Previous post:

Next post: