Robert Kraft is the Andrew W. Mellon of our age?

Pre-plague, our government was trying to put billionaire Robert Kraft in prison under the theory that it is legal to pay a woman by the month (half his age!), but not legal to pay a woman by the hour.

Now that the plague is here and, despite spending many $trillions on exotic medical procedures since the SARS outbreak, we forgot to buy any masks or ventilators. Who is helping to patch up the hole that we created? Robert Kraft! “New England Patriots plane brings back more than 1 million N95 masks from China” (USA Today):

The Patriots and government officials needed to overcome several bureaucratic and logistical obstacles. The plane remained grounded for less than three hours while the supplies were loaded. The crew did not exit the plane; otherwise, they would have been forced to quarantine for 14 days upon entering China. Flight crew members needed expedited visas that were processed quickly through a cooperative Chinese consulate in New York.

“I’ve never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the WSJ. “In today’s world, those of us who are fortunate to make a difference have a significant responsibility to do so with all the assets we have available to us.”

Kraft, Baker, the U.S. State Department and others wrote to the Chinese government and consulate between March 24 and March 30 to obtain permission to pick up the masks and the proper permits, the WSJ reported.

According to the WSJ, the Kraft family paid nearly $2 million — roughly half the cost — for the masks.

This reminds me of Andrew Mellon. A rich guy who became Secretary of the Treasury under Republican presidents, he became Target #1 for FDR. From TIME:

Beyond tax rates, a broader New Deal tax philosophy took its toll. Tax authorities had once drawn a clear line between tax avoidance — the use of legal deductions — and criminal tax evasion. Roosevelt blithely blotted out that line, conflating evasion with avoidance. Anyone who seemed to pay too little became a target of F.D.R.’s prosecutors. One of those targets was Andrew Mellon, Treasury Secretary under Warren Harding and Hoover. Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, told prosecutor Robert Jackson, a future Roosevelt appointee to the Supreme Court, that when it came to Mellon, “you can’t be too tough.”

Wikipedia says that FDR’s prosecution of Mellon, for tax fraud, lasted from 1933 until after his death in 1937: “Months after Mellon’s death, the Board of Tax appeals handed down a ruling exonerating Mellon of all tax fraud charges.”

While Roosevelt was demonizing and trying to imprison Mellon, what was he up to? Donating his art collection and his money to create the National Gallery of Art (independent today and not part of the Smithsonian).

Kraft has a ways to go before donating the same percentage of his $billions to the nation that Mellon did, but can we say that he is on track to be our next Mellon?


5 thoughts on “Robert Kraft is the Andrew W. Mellon of our age?

  1. Questions:

    They bought 1.7 million masks but could only fit 1.2 million on the plane, in the cargo hold, because they couldn’t be put in the passenger area of the Patriot 767. What happened to the other 500,000 masks? Did the Chinese refund the difference?

    How much of a premium did they pay for them? Prior to the crisis, N95 masks (assuming that’s what these are, or are they KN95, which are not FDA approved and could lead to lawsuits if hospital staff use them on duty?) cost about $0.50-$0.75 each? They bought 1.7 million and came back with 1.2 million for something like $4 million dollars? And they picked them up themselves, so they absorbed the freight.

  2. Prostitution & tax fraud are pretty far apart. Lions think he should suffer only because everyone in silicon valley came from MIT & loves the Patriots instead of their adopted home team.

  3. Kraft sounds like a pretty good guy. Married to the same woman for 40 years and now the same girl friend for 8 years. No big bad stories or women who say he abused them. Raised four kids who seem to like him and work with him. And is likely raising a fifth kid who is not his. So what if he likes a little sex on the side. At his age that is probably one of the few physical pleasures he can still enjoy. The massage criminal charges are just classic police publicity seeking. Joe Six Pack would have gotten a ticket for some sort of misdemeanor.

  4. 1 million will not make a whole lot of difference when the need is 400 – 500 million. But you americans do like your charity stunts.

    Yearly production capacity of the largest us n95 manufacture, 3M, 35 million.

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