Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Charitible Giving vs. Government Handouts

Arthur Brooks wrote The Road to Freedom recently.  His book was about making the emotional arguments for less government rather than the logical arguments. 

One of those arguments was that private charities do a better job of providing for the poor than does the government.  Private charities receive donations from voluntary contributors; government poverty benefits are taken from all taxpayers.  And when the government has lots of poverty benefits the potential charity donors say, "why should I donate to charity when I already pay taxes that go towards poverty programs?"

An article at the Circle Bastiat covers this subject a bit more fully.
First of all, what is wrong with private charity stepping in to fill the gap? With the present economy as bad as it is, providing succor to the swelling ranks of the needy will inevitably be a “struggle”. What is wrong with that struggle being voluntarily borne by donors and competently administered by private charities instead of involuntarily borne by taxpayers and incompetently administered by bureaucrats?

Furthermore, it is interesting that, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s ranking of the states according to charitable giving, 9 of the top 10 are deMause’s dreaded red states, and 8 of the bottom 10 are blue.

Georgia ranks way up at #8.

Maine, deMause’s “model state”, scrapes the bottom at #49.

And in terms of the median contribution of its residents, Maine is dead last.
But then, who can blame them? Surely they think they’ve fulfilled their role by funding Maine’s copious welfare rolls with their taxes. True, state welfare harms much more than it helps. But the point is, regardless of the results, they’ve already paid their part in their minds.

With this effect in mind, plus Obama’s repeated proposals to limit tax deductions for charitable giving (echoed recently by Cato Institute Fellow Daniel Mitchell), it is more apt to speak of a “war on charity” than a “war on welfare.”

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