Here’s a crystal-clear description of the so-called liberal mindset (we say so-called because there’s nothing liberal at all about the sacrifice of individual resources and freedom to satisfy the charitable and political impulses of the governing class) in technicolor.
It appears as a Letter To The Editor at the New Orleans Times-Picayune from one James F. Garma, Jr. of Metairie. And it questions the richness of Drew Brees’ new contract with the Saints while at the same time accusing Gov. Bobby Jindal of abandoning those most in need in Louisiana.
I have heard a number of people say Mr. Brees deserves it. I don’t know Mr. Brees, nor am I a football fan, but I am aware that people think he is a nice guy and a good family man who gives of his time to charities. Of course there are lots of nice guys and good husbands and fathers and givers to charity, but those are not the reasons people really think he deserves the millions.
Football is the reason. If Mr. Brees was a loud-mouthed, self-absorbed, pain in the butt who played football as well as he does, the millions would still be his.
Those among us who suffer a mental illness or other health issues but are too poor or infirm and need our collective help are not worth it, according to Gov. Jindal. We all know that a very few of us will be in Drew Brees’ place, but all of us will suffer the indignities of illness and failings of health caused by getting older. We can all look at those discarded by Gov. Jindal and say, there but for the grace of God go I.
One can measure a people, a state, a nation’s worth by how it treats its poor and elderly, its sick and dying, its homeless and broken souls. Mr. Brees is a talented football player, but he no more deserves millions of dollars for playing a game than George Clooney, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt deserve millions for acting. Should hard times fall on our cold and calculating Gov. Jindal, he had better hope the governor of whatever state he is in does not govern like he did.
It turns out that Mr. Garma is a Picayune letter-writer of some regularity, often opining as to the robust financial integrity of Social Security, the disqualification of Newt Gingrich for the White House and the desirability of criminal trials for BP, Transocean and Halliburton executives to punish their “greed” in the runup to the Deepwater Horizon accident.
Mr. Garma’s credentials as a crank of the leftist variety are thus established.
And it requires a crank of the leftist variety to equate two thoroughly unrelated media events – Brees’ contract and the state’s Medicaid cuts – as though together they somehow impugn the character of Gov. Bobby Jindal or Louisiana’s priorities.
Drew Brees is neither responsible for nor a product of Louisiana’s budget situation. Drew Brees received the NFL’s richest contract this year because he earned that contract through producing vast wealth for the Saints’ ownership and, in fact, the New Orleans area through the economic activity his exploits generated. Drew Brees is being paid with Tom Benson’s money – and while Tom Benson might be guilty of rent-seeking through the state’s politicians, and he certainly deserves his share of opprobrium for that fact, Benson is also unquestionably an asset to Louisiana’s economy. If he were not, his hopes of generating favorable arrangements for his three sports teams through the state of Louisiana or some of its political subdivisions would be unrequited.
In any event, the corporate welfare Benson had wrangled out of the state of Louisiana has nothing to do with Drew Brees. Benson secured those benefits from the state in return for keeping the Saints, and now Hornets, from departing for greener pastures. Brees would have made his money from Benson as a result of his play regardless of where his home field would have been; if the Saints had been in San Antonio, or Los Angeles, or Salt Lake City or Chattanooga he’d still be the best quarterback in the NFL and paid accordingly.
This is what’s known as giving value for value, and it’s the bedrock of a market economy. Mr. Garma is correct that because of the value Brees provides to Benson he would be highly-paid regardless of his attitude. Because Brees is such a tremendous ambassador for his organization and the community at large he probably merits a little more than otherwise, but as one of the NFL’s best, if not the best, quarterbacks he was going to be one of the highest-paid regardless. That’s about all Mr. Garma is correct about, though; even a broken watch is right twice a day.
Brees gives value for value, and his salary comes from the voluntary agreement of his employer – whose ability to pay Brees derives from the voluntary agreement of Saints ticket purchasers and merchandise customers, not to mention television networks whose revenues derive from advertisers paying to access the audiences generated by players like Brees on Sundays. In short, Brees eats what he kills; he’s good for business, his exploits create jobs in New Orleans and elsewhere and he’s paid well for the value he creates.
Garma’s letter insinuates that there is something untoward about Brees’ new salary and that “greed” is involved. But when he turns his attention to Louisiana’s fiscal issues we find the real avarice which rests within the “liberal” mind.
Louisiana doesn’t have the money to spend on medical treatment for its poor at the rates it has been spending. Period. Much of that funding has been lost thanks to the federal government, which doesn’t have the money to spend on most of what it spends money on, finally attempting to reel in its profligate finances. Louisiana benefited from a federal error in Medicaid appropriations the last few years which led to a far larger pot of gold to draw from where healthcare was concerned, and now it’s time to pay the piper.
If there is a legitimate criticism to be made of Jindal’s management of healthcare spending in the state it’s that he was too generous with those excess federal dollars and failed to make cuts years ago when they could have been made in a more strategic fashion. That, of course, is a harsh criticism; Jindal is, after all, a politician, and politicians do what is politically possible. Which does not, of course, include making budget cuts in times of apparent plenty.
Mr. Garma says that Jindal’s imposition of spending cuts now, when the source of revenue to fund the things he is cutting has dried up, is somehow evidence that he’s cold and calculating, or heartless and cruel. And by including Brees’ salary into his discussion, he’s insinuating the classic left-wing narrative of riches for the few and starvation of the many.
And he also offers us another left-wing trope – namely, that charity is the government’s business and the charitable are those who support raiding the funds of others to finance their good works. He mentions the Catholic phrase “there but for the grace of God go I,” but what he’s actually saying is there but for the grace of government go ye.
Garma demands your money in taxes to support the elderly, the poor, the sick and the mentally ill. He makes no exhortation that you pitch in with your own resources and time to help those in need; he only criticizes the governor for not forcing you to pay the state to do it. This, he would have you believe, is charity.
And there is the real greed. Here is a man who believes that his needs – whether he’s in need of the state’s services or merely seeks to salve his psyche with ideological ointment – outweigh yours, and demands that you fulfill them from your bank account at the point of a gun. He’s willing to cloak this rapaciousness in concern for his fellow man, but don’t you believe it. This is a man who wants to dictate what you can do with your money, how much you can make and how you can feel about it.
This is a left-winger. Put his ilk in power at your own risk.