Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Private Charity vs. "Big Government"

A certain set of social commentators likes to disparage the notion of government programs to help citizens, holding up the few surviving helpful organizations funded with what look like non-governmental sources as the preferable alternative.  These are often religiously based and very specifically targeted.  They are presented as examples of how everything can and should be, once government is shrunk to the point of utter impotence.

Excuse me, but if you get rid of a lot of taxes, you get rid of the need for big tax write-offs, and much of the incentive for the kind of chunky charitable donations required to keep these so-called "independent" organizations alive.

The non-profits with which I am associated live hand to mouth.  Many efforts depend on government grants to supplement private donations.  They also depend on the whim and favor of regular donors who at any time might decide they have better things to do with their money.

Certain things, like the environment in which we all live and the health care needs of the growing percentage of people who fall below the financial threshold necessary to pay their own way are quite appropriate concerns for the citizen government of the nation. Quit thinking of government as a separate entity.  It's a job we all have to do, like taking out the garbage or mowing the lawn.  As soon as you distance yourself from government or let it distance itself from you, you invite more problems than stupid humans are bound to create even when they try their best.  The answer isn't just to make it cost less.  When was the last time the cheapest item on the market did the best job?

In a land with more than 300 million citizens, on a planet teeming with more of the same, there are going to be details to consider.  The task will never be finished until we give up on civilization entirely

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