Friday, October 12, 2012

Charity VS Redistribution

By my observation, The difference between Conservatives and Progressives can be seen perhaps most clearly by observing the way those schools of thought work with people in need.

The progressive mind set seems to be that the government should be the entity that cares for the needy.  The government becomes an organization that is essentially "hired" by the citizens to manage care for the homeless, disabled, hungry, etc.  The People "pay" this organization with their tax dollars.  Essentially this creates a paradigm where each person is forced to donate to charity, regardless of weather they agree with the dictates of that charity (or cause.)  Citizens must pay taxes, and can not choose directly which causes their hired organization (the government) should support.  The money of the American People is being taken redistributed.

Those in need are increasingly bound to return to the government to satisfy their needs. As such, those in office who give out tax payer money are in a position of incredible power and incumbency becomes job security in an election.  "Why would I vote out the person who gives me taxpayer money for shelter and food?"

The conservative path revolves around an individuals moral duty to support the downtrodden.  So much of our income is taken in taxes.  Suppose you could keep, even 5% of those taxes and use it to help others.  Consider using that money to help someone too proud to ask for help, or apply for public welfare.  Imagine how motivated they might be to make good use of the charitable gift to assure they didn't need that help again.

Although I advocate being able to keep and control as much of my money as possible, my mind races with the possibilities of even being able to direct to a charity a portion of my taxes rather than giving the money to the government for them to condescendingly decide who should get my money.  If I could send part of my taxes to various charities, I could see many worthy organizations doing amazing things with funds they struggle for so much.  And that is a ghost of what could be accomplished if each citizen could keep their taxes and serve their neighbors directly.

My point is illustrated by evaluating the charitable giving (as reported in tax filings) by presidential and Vice Presidential candidates:
In 2011 Mitt Romney gave over $4 million to charity, almost 19% of his income. For comparison, Obama gave 1% and Joe Biden gave $300 or ..0013%.
So many conservatives devote much of their income to charitable giving despite the fact that great amounts of their income is being taken in taxes and redistributed.  I believe Americans - by and large - are incredibly charitable individuals by nature.  The path to truly serving the needy in United States is to let America's already charitable citizens keep more of their money and allow them to give even more.  Directly, locally, compassionately.
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