My friend Walter Myers III knocks it out of the ballpark & I concur!
Last week, a high school friend of mine (someone that I thought was a friend), commented on Facebook that I was “heartless” for not agreeing with him that taking care of the needy can best be administered by the federal government. In his view, only the federal government has the “necessary resources” to feed the poor in America. Of course, I reminded him that every penny the federal government takes in comes from individuals that live in one of fifty states with any number of localities that also have the power to tax, so each state obviously has the necessary resources to feed and clothe the truly needy. Moreover, it is the height of naiveté to believe that a federal government can take money out of each state, run that money through its bureaucracy, and then give it back to the state without a considerable percentage going to waste that would not have happened at the local or state level. The federal government was not designed to be a charitable organization and it is not good at it either for the obvious reason that it is so far away from the point of need, it could not possibly know what the varying needs are on the ground in any given state and how to best administer help to those in need. Charity is, at best, something that is done as local as possible (city, then county, then state) and should never be a federal matter that will become invariably become wholly politicized. It only complicates things when you concentrate more and more power into the hands of the few. That is precisely why our founders had a limited role for the federal government.
In previous posts, I wrote about the book by Arthur C. Brooks, titled Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism. Brooks notes that America has become essentially two nations—one charitable, and the other uncharitable. He was disturbed by many of the facts and trends that emerged from years of analysis indicating how an identifiable slice of the population does not donate to people in need, does not volunteer, and does not give in informal ways either. That identifiable slice is, namely, those who label themselves as liberals (or progressives). In a nutshell, liberals give dramatically less than conservatives, even though as a group they have 6% higher income on average than conservatives. And liberals are not privately charitable either, an argument that some liberals use to deflect what the hard numbers demonstrate. Conservatives give more because of their worldview, which centers around four forces as noted by Brooks: religion, skepticism about the government in economic life, strong families, and personal entrepreneurship. Liberals give less because they believe charity consists mainly of government redistribution. And even if the government does not do what they think it should, they still won’t give. So the next time a liberal tells you they want their taxes to go up to help the needy, you should see it for what it truly is: their desire to appearcompassionate in words because they are simply not compassionate inaction. Ask them to write a check out to their local charity to alleviate poverty in their own city, and see just how much pushback you will get.
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