Bloomberg and Rosenwald: Compare & Contrast

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Michael Bloomberg, a Jewish billionaire who built his fortune on a computerized data base and computer terminal used by Wall Street firms, put in $100 million in Florida to try to swing the election for Democrats.

Numerous other billionaire tech moguls, are pumping millions of dollars into Black Lives Matter, a Marxist organization dividing America.

No doubt both think their actions will help black people.  Or perhaps they think they can buy off the mob by aiding those that want to destroy the free enterprise system that made these moguls wealthy. It is hard to know.

Contrast this tendency among today’s ultra-rich with the story of Julius Rosenwald.

In the 1870s through the 1890s, the revolution in retailing was the mail order business. Montgomery Ward became the Amazon of the era, servicing customers in the underserved rural market with low prices, variety and quality.

Around the turn of the 20th century, a new competitor was launched by two watch salesmen, Alvah Roebuck and Richard Sears.  The firm they founded expanded rapidly under the leadership of a Jewish clothing salesman, Julius Rosenwald.

The firm did very well but as demographics shifted from farm to city, Sears Roebuck kept its mail order business but also pivoted with a major emphasis on retail stores in urban areas.  The company did even better.

The firm sold just about anything, including kits for the construction of homes.  A good collection of these can be found still occupied in Bisbee, Arizona.

Rosenwald pumped his own money into the firm to support it during the Great Depression.

While running this very successful company, Rosenwald developed a deep concern about the plight of blacks in the Democrat ruled South. Democrats had imposed a series of legal restrictions based on race, that parade under the name of Jim Crow laws.  Educational funding for blacks was minimal.

After meeting with Booker T. Washington, the outstanding black leader of the Tuskegee Institute (later the source of courageous black fighter pilots known as the ‘Red Tails’), Rosenwald began building schools for poor blacks in rural areas.

Eventually, he built over 5,300 schools that educated about 36% of the southern black population.

The schools were simple and successful.  Many studies suggest these schools helped black income climb over a third in relation to white incomes at the time, raised scores for military entry, increased both the odds and success of migration out of the South, and even raised IQ scores. They functioned until the 1954 school desegregation decision.

Contrast this program with what we see today, millions of dollars poured into Marxist oriented organizations that have been involved in promoting racism with reverse discrimination and civil disturbance.

Millions more are poured into the Democratic Party, that has blacks trapped in horrible inner-city schools in cities like Baltimore where students can graduate barely knowing how to read.  In 2019, only 13% of Baltimore 4th graders could read at their grade level.  Another study showed that of city of 700,000, about 200,000 people in Baltimore are functionally illiterate.

Many of these cities have been dominated by the Democratic Party and its largest contributor, the teacher’s union, for a half century or more.  The platform of the Democratic Party has come out foursquare against school choice. They will not tolerate competition for the educational establishment.

Today’s billionaires apparently either want to double down on failure or to double down on cowardice.

Rosenwald always treated blacks with respect. He required parents to have a stake in the game by contributing something towards their children’s education, even if it was labor to construct a school. Rosenwald took a different direction in philanthropy wherein he made large grants to various causes on the condition that recipients also raise funds to “cure the things that seem to be wrong.”

He did not give grants for political lobbying. He did not give grants without self-help. He did not give money to buy off violent protestors. He did not give money for racial isolation. White groups were often required to “buy in” to get a project done.

Rosenwald put his money where his mouth is out of religious conviction while today’s billionaires put their money where their political interest is.

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