Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Get Government out of Charity Business

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Get Government out of Charity Business

Article excerpt

Byline: Star Parker

When Tennessee frontiersman Davy Crockett served in the U.S. Congress (between 1827 and 1835, he voted for a bill appropriating $20,000 in relief for victims of a fire in Georgetown.

When he returned home, a constituent farmer chastised him for supporting the bill and for "giving what is not yours to give."

The farmer told Crockett the Constitution does not grant Congress the power to give charity, and if it did, "You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and favoritism and corruption on the one hand, and robbing the people on the other."

We are far from those days. Supreme Court decisions have opened the door for rationalizing just about anything under the spending authority of the Congress.

It stands to reason that bureaucrats spending other people's money will not produce good results.

EFFECTIVE ANTIPOVERTY PROGRAMS

According to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report, and the staff of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who commissioned the report, combined annual federal and state spending on antipoverty programs exceeds $1 trillion. About 75 percent comes from the federal government.

These funds, which include programs such as welfare, food stamps, low-income housing programs and child care assistance, are programs that mostly came onto the American scene with the War on Poverty. They are focused on helping the less fortunate, which is usually considered charity.

These programs are notoriously wasteful and motivated by political gain rather than sincerity to really help people.

Funds from taxpayers, dispensed by bureaucrats under rules and conditions designed by other bureaucrats, remove personal responsibility from both the giving and receiving ends of the equation.

In addition to waste, unintended consequences of this social engineering have produced government dependence, family breakdown and removal of the sense on the part of recipients that they bear responsibility for their own lives. …

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