Sunday, December 23, 2007

Private Charity

Joel's comment's on a recent post
Jon: "I think it's interesting to note that many of the people that propose government try to solve these problems are also well-educated people enjoying a comfortable upper-middle class socio-economic life style. In their case, the mantra is, "I am smarter than you so I should run your life and prevent you from making bad decisions."

Either that or "I've been very lucky in this world and feel some obligation to try to give back to those who have been less lucky."
I feel incredibly fortunate too. If we feel an obligation to give back to those who are less fortunate, we should. I give some to charity, but if I didn't give about 30% of my income to the Federal Government, I would give a lot more to charity. Instead, my money funds things I disagree with like
  • A continuing war in Iraq that wastes life and treasure and makes us less safe,
  • Billions of dollars on wasteful overseas military spending,
  • Subsidies for farmers that have given us a corn-based economy,
  • An incredibly wasteful and misguided war on drugs,
  • Prisons for over a million Americans who have not committed a violent crime ,
  • Prisons to incarcerate 10.4% of the entire African-American male population in the United States aged 25 to 29,
  • Wasteful Medicare spending to extend people's lives 3 months.
As a former liberal/progressive, I think the thing that most appealed to me about paying high taxes is that it made me feel less guilty for those less fortunate. When a huge portion of my income was going to the government, it alleviated me from the responsibility of worrying about the problems around me. "Oh the government will take care of those poor people. The government will provide everybody with healthcare. It's the government's responsibility to fix the homeless problem." And then I could live guilt free in my well-off, yuppie neighborhood and not worry about it.

But I've woken up. The government cannot solve these problems. The government will not solve these problems. Most of the people in the government are incompetent and they don't get paid enough or have the incentive structure to solve these problems. What we have today is Corporatism where Big Business is in bed with Big Government.

If Ron Paul is elected President and abolishes the income tax, I'll commit right now to give 10% of my income to charities I support.

1 comment:

jasmine said...

Jon, I'm glad you've started this blog. Your + Joel's debate is a very interesting read....But for every example you provide of how government has done more harm than good, it seems that one could also find examples of how government regulation has probably been "good" for us too (e.g., education or gun control). And I agree w/ Joel that a wholesale absence of government wouldn't necessarily be better than what we have today. But surely that's not what you're advocating...So where exactly would you draw the line?