Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Rant: Charity From the Heart Vs. Government Forced "Charity"

To the degree that with government programs there will always be some form of charity given from the heart, whether it be a small or large amount, this statement is true. But, over the years the increase in government social programs and the taxation that accompanies these programs- government entitlement programs- they cause a decrease in charity or charitable funds given to the poor and organizations both non-profit and for profit alike.


When a government increases a person’s taxes to pay for another person’s health care that decreases the amount of funds that the person has available to freely choose from her/his heart to which needy person or organization that she/he wants to give a donation to. For the government to raise taxes for anything, but much less health care in which there are free clinics, low-income clinics, and volunteers who devote some of their time to donating their resources in helping and providing care for the poor is wrong, unconstitutional, and takes away or limits greatly the person’s individual right to freely choose where there generosity may be devoted. It is wrong to increase taxes on hard-working citizens to pay for others’ health care costs since these hard working citizens are already paying for their own health care costs, are living responsibly, and since the act of raising taxes does indeed take away a person’s free-choice, a person’s freedom to choose which charitable organization they want to donate to.

I am going to pose a scenario to those Big Government-loving people out there: What if before a health care bill is passed a couple sets aside $500 to donate to a pro-life organization and then after the health care bill is passed by Congress taxes rise, and there is a $500 increase in this couple’s taxes? Wouldn’t the government’s increased taxation preclude this couple from giving charitable donations as they choose? The government is denying this couple the right to act freely and choose where they want to donate those funds all for the sake of spreading the wealth.

Are people who rely on the State and promote the nanny-state or Democratic socialism(which is exactly where this health care bill will lead us if this is passed) replacing God with a false prophet/s known as the government? Over the past 65 years or so the government has grown bigger and expanded, and God has slowly but surely been stripped away from our society and replaced with secularism, and has increased citizens’ dependency on government or the State. If government (Big Government) is so good, how is it that since the New Deal was enacted there has been an increased dependency on the government and the number of people receiving monetary funds from welfare, Medicaid, and social security? If government really is about the “common good” and helping people to succeed how come there are so many people who are reliant on the government? If government actually helped and didn’t create an entitlement program and an entitlement population then there would be a much higher number of people employed in our society. What would happen of all the wealthy people in the United States decided to retire and close their businesses? Wouldn’t that affect both the unemployment and the amount of taxes taken in to support the poor?

Does a capitalistic system have more corruption in it than in a Socialist or a Communist system? A Capitalistic environment provides more opportunity for success than either Communist or Socialist societies. A Capitalist society provides more incentives for monetary success than in Socialist or Communist societies since in the ladder those types of governments tend to penalize success by bleeding the successful dry with high taxes. The secularists and the people on the Left who think that a capitalist system is more corrupt may want to take note that while capitalistic societies may be corrupt monetarily ( so are other forms of government), it has been proven and documented in history books that Nationalistic Socialism and Communism are far more corrupt and has in fact cost many innocent people their lives. Here are three examples where National Socialism and Communism has harmed and/or killed lives far worse than capitalism ever could: Mao Tse Tung killed about 20 million people due to starvation and the ‘Cultural Revolution‘ combined; Joseph Stalin killed approximately 20 million people between Russians being starved to death, sent to the Gulag, deported, and executed for political “offenses“; and Hitler killed approximately 11 million people during the Holocaust. They all killed people in the name of the common good.

The Left and secularists like to proclaim that their “tolerant” when in fact they are least tolerant people in world. Secularists and the Left are the ones that have forced their immorality on us, indoctrinate our children in schools(mmm mmm mmm Barack Obama), and want any sign of religious freedom removed from our society. To the Left and secularists, the only people they have “tolerance” toward are the people who think on their terms-liked programmed liberal robots unable to allow for free thought in our society if it includes: principles in accordance with God, conservatism, Right to Life as it says in the Constitution or Pro-Life, individualism, advocate that our government provide for the common defense, and promoting family values.

This was written to counteract all those socialists and communists out there. If people believe in either Communism or Socialism there is no middle ground. You are either a socialist or not. You are either a communist or not. You may try to make yourselves feel better by rationalizing and thinking that there is a middle ground with regards to being a socialist/communist, but there isn’t. It is clear to me that socialists in our society want to relinquish their responsibilities to the State. The State is supposed to be a different, a separate entity than the Church. But, some people believe that the State is supposed to be an appendage of the Church. The Church is a gathering place for the community of the faithful and helps to provide charity to the poor but its purpose is different from that of our government. It is a moral obligation of the Church to provide charity, whereas it is not a moral obligation of the State to provide charity, especially when our government is acting like thieves, providing charity at the point of a gun, by forcing taxpayers to pay higher taxes to provide forced “charity” to the poor.  Now, we stop this Obamascare monstrosity from passing the House.


34 comments:

innominatus said...

I'm not into gov't deciding how I should be "charitable" but I might actually be able to tolerate the idea if the government was actually good at it. But they aren't.

When we allocate $1billion for a program to help the poor in some way, we don't get a billion worth of help. We only get about $600million. Then we also get about $400million worth of diversity seminars and pension payments and "fact-finding" trips to Tahiti and reports that nobody will ever read.

Then they tell us we need to hand over even more.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

I've always referred to it as "Government Mandated Charity" and it's been a pet peeve of mine for close to thirty yours. They use your money to donate to their favorite charity to make them feel good.

Ron Russell said...

Great post girl! You are right, there is only a certain amount of money out there and for every dollar the government takes from individuals it one less that person has to give to charities if he chooses. What the government wants in to be able to decide who gets help and who doesn't---power not charity is their goal.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

Government exists in part to respond to those social obligations which individuals and private institutions cannot adequately respond. If the right to life means anything, it means we have an obligation to ourselves and to others to care for life – which includes caring for our health and the health of others. Health is a public good, and certainly my health affects the health of others and their health mine. So the question is: can we as a society fulfill our obligations to care for the health needs of ourselves and others (which means doing all in our power to provide such care) through only individual acts of charity and private institutions like the Church? Are these means alone sufficient? If they are not sufficient, if they have limits which we can go beyond by involving government, then government has a role to play in healthcare, and, moreover, we have an obligation to use it for that role. Prudently, of course, which is to say that other obligations may arise before us that require our weighing options and making the most prudent decisions we can.

Opus #6 said...

Charity is a gift from the heart.

Taxes, beyond the minimum to maintain a limited government, are theft.

Maggie Thornton said...

Our first charity obligation is to our family, and if everyone took responsibility for their own families, there would be few needy.

I remember sitting in church one day, long ago, right after Reagan was elected and the pastor quoting Reagan, saying it is time for charity to come from the people, freely given by those who want to give, and from our churches. Just paraphrasing.

I agree with Opus, charity comes from an individual's heart.

Teresa, this is a wonderful essay. Your example of the couple setting aside $500 to "give" and then receiving the $500 tax bill - we know what happens, because we can only do what we can do.

God bless all of the benevolent Americans who are so amazingly giving - may those who receive, receive with appropriate gratitude for the sacrifice of others, and then return it to someone else in need.

Kevin T. Rice said...

I have been giving this some thought, but I have come to no conclusions yet: our social obligations to meet the needs of others to be charitable - do these oblige us insofar as we are persons, or insofar as we are Christians? Insofar as we are obliged to be charitable, is that an obligation that comes to us directly from God through supernatural grace, or is it present in our natures as persons already and made present to us immediately when we are faced with need. Is it the voice of God, or is it natural dignity of the human person that causes need to call out with its own voice and demand a moral response? Does this oblige religious believers only, or everyone? If the latter, does it oblige all equally or Christians more so? If it obliges Christians, not as members of a body politic, but as Christians per se, it is a religious duty. If it is a religious duty, is it proper for a secular state to mandate it? Doesn’t the involvement of the state, an agency entitled to use coercion and the threat of force to achieve its aims, eliminate the charity in a charitable act and thus render our obligation to be charitable a much more difficult obligation to meet?

The state is entitled to use coercion to maintain law and public order and to promote the common welfare. The latter, however, is vague in my mind. I want to know the parameters. I want this to be more defined, and I want the definition to be based on something other than the fact that there are some people who have and others who have not. I want a middle term that justifies the state taking from those who have and giving to those who have not.

WomanHonorThyself said...

The Left and secularists like to proclaim that their “tolerant” when in fact they are least tolerant people in world..exactly!

Longhaired Conservative said...

You are spot on Teresa. Great essay.
@ Kyle I'm sorry to say that you are mistaken. I do not have an obligation, as you put it, except in my own heart to care for anyone other than whom I choose. It is not the governments part to take from me what I have earned and give it to those who have not earned it. That is theft and to do so at the point of a gun or threat of jail time time is tyranny plain and simple. It is not what this country was founded on. It is sociallist dogma and if you would adhere to such thought then you will be ruled like a child. As far as charity or the application of any policy, government is the least efficient mechanism to use. Why would an intelligent and compassionate person, as you seem to be, settle for the least effective way to get help to people who need it? These arguments for government control are inane and straight out of the communist/socialist playbook. Redistribution of wealth is a ploy for control using class envy. My dimes worth. - Sorry to get on your blog and rant Teresa. Hi how are you?

Teresa said...

@Kyle,

Welcome to the discussion.

This country and its government was founded on foundational philosophical principles that are far different from those of our European counterparts. Should we sacrifice the very foundational principles of this country for government-run health care? In government- run health care the State has charge over what is considered a worthwhile medical expenditure and what isn’t. In a State where there is government run health care, the State gets to choose the amount of drugs prescribed, the number of patients seen by the doctor, and what medical procedures are worth the cost of the State. As it stands now, in the current state of affairs with regards to social programs that the State has enacted in the past, our government has inadequately allocated funds, been fiscally irresponsible, there has been corruption which has led to abuses galore, and mismanaged social security and other social programs and now those programs are close to bankruptcy. The American people have given Presidents and Congress over 40 years to fix the problems related to those social programs so should the American people really trust our government to run our health care in fiscally responsible manner?

Teresa said...

Longhaired Conservative,
I am good. How are doing today?

I very much appreciate your comment. I liked your rant. It was spot on,too.

Longhaired Conservative said...

I'm doing well, thanks. Going to take off work a little early, drink some brews, and watch a preseason ball game. LHC loves him some Astros. It's a good exrercise in patience. Cheers! ;-)

Kevin T. Rice said...

@Kyle

I want to supplement what I wrote in my previous comment with a response to your statement - "If the right to life means anything, it means we have an obligation to ourselves and to others to care for life – which includes caring for our health and the health of others."

I am wondering what justifies the government becoming involved in enforcing such a broadened right. I am uncertain whether and to what extent I disagree with you about the broadened content of that right, but I definitely disagree that there is no narrower meaning to it. I do not grant that the right to life entails a right to health care, still less that it logically requires us to accept socialist reforms. I think that a narrow meaning to the right to life and to the term "pro-life" does exist - it is straight forward, common sense, and, until left-wing activists started co-opting the term for their own political ends, it was the only meaning in common parlance. Very simply, apart from any alleged right to health care, the right to life means that we don't have the right to kill innocent human beings, and insofar as children in the womb and people who are old or terminally ill are innocent human beings, we have no right to kill them. The right to life may imply more than that, but it definitely implies at least that, and thus, even without the implication that you assert it has, it has some meaning, not none.

The danger I see in broadening the right to life to include health care as a right is that it entwines these two in such a way that if one is able to find a reason to doubt that someone is entitled to the latter, it becomes easier to deny the former as well. If the burden of taking care of a person becomes too great to bear, and the obligation to meet that person’s health care needs becomes impossible because of obligations to meet others’ conflicting needs, what emerges is the temptation to eliminate some of those needs by eliminating some of the people who have them. Making health care logically inseparable from the right to life will provide those inclined to surrender to that temptation all the rational justification they would need.

cube said...

This excellent post reminds me of when Algore's tax return was made public one year while he was VP. Turns out, he and Tipper had given 300+ dollars to charity that whole year. I was stunned. With our comparatively meager yearly income, we were able to donate much, much more to charity.

Personally, I don't think the government should be involved in charitable works at all except in
allowing the tax exemption for charitable donations. Oh wait, BO has taken steps to remove that deduction.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

Kevin,

Moral obligations happen. They happen to Christians and non-Christians, theists and atheists. Christians may be able to give theological reasons based on revelation for responding to an obligation, but these additions would build upon the obligation itself, an obligation one doesn't have to be a Christian in order to experience.

The principle you're looking for might be that which is called the universal destination of goods--the idea that the goods of this world are due to all of us and not just some of us. Of course, there is also the principle of private property. I'm of the opinion that a just order seeks the right balance between these two principles and carefully defines the powers the authorities in this order have to seek and maintain this balance.

Regarding the statement of mine you quoted, I meant that as a figure of speech and not as a logical proposition. I readily admit that the right to life must at least mean something, though its meaning, to my mind, extends beyond the right "not being killed." Seems to me that the right to life implies the right to that which is necessary for life.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

Teresa,

You would agree with me, I think, that, following the words of our Declaration of Independence, the power of government comes from the consent of the governed. The answer to your concern is ensuring as best we can that the State is not some entity outside ourselves that operates outside of our consent. The State exists for the people and should be an instrument of the people--which isn't to say that the State should always do what the majority want. Part of political philosophy is preventing the tyranny of the majority, after all. In other words, if we are to have government involvement in healthcare, it should not be some entity "over there" making healthcare decisions, as if the State were an institution separate from its citizens. Those systematizing healthcare should be accountable to the people.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

Longhaired Conservative,

You write:

" It is not the governments part to take from me what I have earned and give it to those who have not earned it. That is theft and to do so at the point of a gun or threat of jail time time is tyranny plain and simple."

How, then, do you justify any taxation (assuming you justify it)?

Kevin T. Rice said...

"the goods of this world are due to all of us and not just some of us. Of course, there is also the principle of private property."

Is my private property among the goods of this world due to all or not? If ALL, or indeed, anyone, has a claim on what is mine, in what sense is it mine?

I don't think those principles cohere. If I have a right to something, that gives me a claim on it. I have a claim on my life - no man may legitimately take it from me. I have a claim on my property. I have a right to own it, to use it, to keep it, to enjoy it. To whom else is it due, in what sense is it due, and what justifies their claim?

I grant that people should not be arbitrarily restricted from seeking to legitimately acquire the goods of this world, by purchase or fair free trade, value for value, as they have the means. But that doesn't mean that the goods are due to them in some strong sense that obligates those who already rightfully own them to make them publically available for trade, much less for public ownership

When some people have more than others, not because they gained it illegitimately, but because they created some value, invented some new thing, and offered it to others who wanted it and were willing to exchange some value for it in free and fair trade, there is no injustice in that inequality, and no legitimate claim on the one who has more to surrender it to those who have less.

Goods are not rights, and needs are not claims.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

Kevin,

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the balance I spoke of in the following paragraphs:

2402 In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits.[186] The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.

2403 The right to private property, acquired by work or received from others by inheritance or gift, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. The universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise.

2404 "In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself."[187] The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family.

2405 Goods of production - material or immaterial - such as land, factories, practical or artistic skills, oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number. Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor.

2406 Political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good.[188]

Kevin T. Rice said...

The following provoked me too much for me to wait for Longhaired Conservative to respond:

LHC - " It is not the governments part to take from me what I have earned and give it to those who have not earned it. That is theft and to do so at the point of a gun or threat of jail time time is tyranny plain and simple."

Kyle "How, then, do you justify any taxation (assuming you justify it)?"

Not speaking for LHC here, but for myself, I accept both the principle he laid out as true and consistent with a the possibility of a legitimate justification for taxation. The police earn our tax money - they keep law and order. The trade something, value for value, for our tax money. Soldiers earn our tax money - they keep us free, they protect us from enemies who would invade and conquer us without them. Judges, firefighters, legislators, prosecutors, public defenders, mayors, governors, the President of the United States, post office workers, even some IRS employees, earn the money we pay in taxes. They have a claim on it. In what sense do the poor have a claim on what we earn QUA POOR? What value do they offer in trade?

Kevin T. Rice said...

That's a very intriguing quote from the Catechism and worthy of much reflection. Goods oblige their possessors? I have never heard of such a notion. 2406 is especially counterintuitive.

It's almost enough to make me question infallibility.

Kevin T. Rice said...

I thought I understood the Biblical idea of stewardship, but I am questioning whether I ever understood it at all. I thought that we are stewards in relation to the Creator who is the owner and sovereign over everything and everyone. But in relation to each other, we are owners of what we own, not stewards. Or so I thought. I thought that if you owned something I had no claim on it - that you were God's steward, not mine, and not everyone's. I did not know that I had a right to your stuff.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

Kevin,

RE: Taxation

Would you say, then, that tax money should go only to those who earn it in some way? If so, do you oppose all social safety nets run by the government? What about subsidies? What about county hospitals/emergency rooms that treat people who may or may not have something to trade for their receiving care paid for by taxes?

Teresa said...

@Kyle
Should the needs of the few completely turn the majority of citizens' health care needs and the system that the majority of Citizens' take part in and like upside down? We can fix both our health care accessibility and affordability problems for citizens by tweaking the system that we already have in place. But, this can be accomplished without transforming the whole health care system from what we know it as today, and not into a government run system that infringes on indviduals rights, liberty, and freedom.

The Catechism references is definitely food for thought.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

Teresa,

Having as I do a conservative temperament when it comes to political power, I sympathize with the hesitancy to change a system systematically from the roots; however, sometimes such an uprooting change is necessary for justice. The system we have now is blatantly unjust. I doubt it can be reformed with tweaks. Still, if you can show me a workable proposal for universal healthcare that doesn't rely on the government, I'm all ears. Until then, I'm willing to see government involvement in healthcare. Personally, I tend towards a single-payer system that removes healthcare from the insurance system; I'd much rather see a federally-funded, locally administered program (think Medicaid for all) than the corporatist-friendly "Obamacare." But that's never going to happen.

Teresa said...

@Kyle
I recently came upon some information that shows (looking for the document now) how government-run or single-payer system health care doesn't work alone, and that in Europe they have started to implement private insurance companies to compete with government-run health care or at least giving European citizens more options.

But, after looking at a document explaining what a single-payer system might look like in the U.S. I found that I do like some aspects of it.
But, this is one item I find disturbing: Coverage decisions would be determined by a national board of experts and community representatives. Now, you may not consider that a death panel but it sure seems like this board may in fact be like a death panel. I guess one other idea I didn't like was the allocation of funds or limiting the amount of funds that would go to hospitals because it would seem to me that that would ultimately lead to rationing. And, I haven't been through the entire document so I will have to see what other items I like and don't like.

Teresa said...

innominatus,
Yes, the government sucks at allocating money.

Teresa said...

Odie,
I don't like "Government mandated Charity" either.

Teresa said...

Ron,
Your right. Obama and his cronies are in this for the power.

Teresa said...

Opie,
I agree. We must maintain and follow the principles of a limited government.

Teresa said...

Maggie,
Thank you. I agree that if people focused less on having the latest and newest merchandise and instead focused on family obligations than the number of poor people (or people who "needed" govt. help) would be dereased.

Teresa said...

WomanHonorThyself,
The Left are the least tolerant people.

Teresa said...

Cube,
The Founders wanted our government to be limited. I believe that they wanted citizens to be self-reliant instead of reliant on the government. I think that our government has been too generous with "charity" since the government is using others' (citizens) money to pay for welfare etc.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

First, not every single-payer system would have to work the same way. Some might include such a panel of experts, others might not. In any case, we would need some method of determining what procedures are covered and which are not (which I am sure you would want if abortion is still legal). One way of checking the power of such a panel would be to allow doctors to make exceptions on a case by case basis: if a doctor believes the procedure not on the approved list qualifies as medically necessary, he does the procedure and files the paperwork explaining the need. We’d want some method of checking doctor abuse, but that wouldn’t be too complicated. We could also use the single-payer system for ordinary care (the procedures on the list) and also have insurance for extra-ordinary care (state-of-the-art procedures costing six figures, for example). The cost for such insurance wouldn’t be very high as the procedures it covers would be rare. Hence, everyone has basic care covered—including care for common illnesses like cancer. Those that want to be covered for rare procedures could buy the insurance for that.