Why Government and Charitable Giving don’t Mix
Christmas is the season for giving. Look around to observe all manner of charitable actions being made by people not only during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also throughout the year. The American people enjoy the reputation around the world of being a charitable citizenry. Whatever the need: from homelessness to hurricanes, tsunamis, fires, accidents; wherever the need: from the United States to foreign lands, the Americans generously send money, food, and supplies to help.
For many years now, the federal government has grown all kinds of welfare and disaster relief programs under the guise of taking care of the less fortunate, telling the citizens they owe it to take care of all manner of needs of others. The problem with this is that the government has no money and produces nothing to make money. The only way the government acquires money is to confiscate funds from its citizenry through taxation and fees.
Let’s examine these two approaches. Confiscation, by definition, means to take or to seize by authority. Charity means to give voluntarily to those in need.
When the government confiscates funds through taxation and then arbitrarily designates classes of people and organizations to be the recipient of these funds, an attitude of resentment builds within the citizens from whom the funds are confiscated. The beneficiaries of the government hand-outs develop an attitude of entitlement. Since the government is a behemoth of assorted bureaucracies, the recipients of the government largess fail to see that the very money being given to them is first confiscated from other individuals.
Charity, on the other hand, is a voluntary action. The result is that the recipient of the charity is grateful; the recipient recognizes that the charity was given voluntarily to benefit someone in need. The charitable giver enjoys a positive feeling, knowing that the charitable gift is going to help someone or some organization of his choice.
The re-distribution of tax revenues by the government for the purpose of equalizing outcomes for people is not charity because it is someone else’s money and that money was confiscated, not given voluntarily. There IS a distinct and meaningful difference between charity and confiscation.