Tag Archives: Charity

Conservatives And Charity

While searching for “charity” images for my last post I stumbled upon this tidbit:

The Fraser Institute has released their latest report on charitable giving in the U.S. and Canada, and once again North America’s leaders in charitable donations from the Rio Grande to the Arctic Circle reside overwhelmingly in red states. This has been the case for some time, and the reason for it almost certainly comes down to a difference in philosophy regarding charity and the role of private/public institutions in its application. It’s unsurprising that conservatives – who by and large believe in the sovereignty of the individual, particularly in terms of fiscal decision-making – choose to give of their own net incomes to charitable causes and organizations that they find worthwhile. It’s also unsurprising (and stereotypical) that liberals choose to give less of their own net income to charity, instead leaving that responsibility to the government, which replaces the individual as the evaluator and benefactor of charitable organizations and endeavors.  Based on that philosophy of charity and responsibility, it’s no surprise that some liberals have been calling on the government to reduce or eliminate the charitable giving tax deduction.

Based on 2009 data, the Fraser Institute found that the top ten states by percentage of aggregate income donated to charity are: (1) Utah, (2) Georgia, (3) Alabama, (4) Maryland, (5) South Carolina, (6) Idaho, (7) North Carolina, (8) Oklahoma, (9) Mississippi and New York.

Conservatives think that charity means taking one’s own money and contributing to the relief of the deserving.

Liberals think that charity means taking other people’s money and contributing to the causes of their liking.

Private Charity


I posted yesterday about what it would take for the Left and the Right to come together on social safety net programs.

There are three aspects of the programs that, in my mind, create and fuel the differences between the two sides.  They are:

  1. How do we measure
  2. Do they end
  3. Are they moral and consistent with the concept of Liberty

Just this evening I come across a story concerning a local charity that I love and support:

Raleigh, N.C. — Three years ago, Dyretta Smith and her son were homeless.

“I got laid off from my job, and when I got laid off from my job, everything started to fall apart,” said Smith.

One of her biggest challenges was keeping her then-11-year-old son engaged in school.

“I was determined, and he was determined,” Smith said. “He’s such a smart little boy. I was not going to let the things that happened in our life get him off track.”

For many, the face of homelessness might be someone on the street begging for money or someone sleeping on a park bench.

But there’s a side of homelessness that’s not so noticeable.

PLM Families Together, a nonprofit founded in 1980 as Pan Lutheran Ministries, helps homeless families with housing and other services.

It gave Smith and her son a fresh start.

Smith is now back on her feet with a full-time job and her own apartment, and she even volunteers with PLM Families Together.

Her son is now a ninth-grade honor student at a Wake County high school.

A beautiful story of human kindness, strength and the power of an indomitable will.  The exact model of how such gentle examples of human kindness ought to work.

And how does it work?

 Families that are “literally” homeless — meaning they have no place to go and are living in places not meant for habitation, are served by PLM Families Together by moving into one of our 10 Short-term Housing apartments.  Once they are safe and warm in the privacy of single-family living, they will stay, at no cost, for 2-4 months.

And this is when the real transformation begins.

Each family works one-on-one with a Mentor Advocate (Masters-level Social Worker), to create and carry out a plan of action.  During that time, the family meets weekly with the Mentor Advocate.  They deposit 50% of their income into an escrow account, and attend PLM Families Together workshops on topics like budgeting, renting, and how to work with a landlord.  Mentor Advocates also coordinate special services as needed (disability, educational assessment, school transportation, food, furniture, transportation, etc.).

The goal of Short-term Housing:  Help a family re-gain its stability and return to independence and permanent housing — paid for with their own money.

But it doesn’t end there.

When a family leaves Short-term Housing and moves into its own place, care continues through “Aftercare.”  Mentor Advocate support and guidance — plus landlord mediation — last an additional 12-14 months.  This key piece of the PLM Families Together model increases the chances of continued success for the family.

The assistance is coupled with two key aspects:

1.  It ends

2.  It helps to build skills such that the recipient is possessed of skills to help cope with the vicissitudes of life.


How A Libertarian Government Would Care For People

It wouldn’t:

Raleigh, N.C. — Three Raleigh roommates, inspired by the generosity of their neighbors, are paying it forward in a big way, using digital media to connect people with community needs.

The trio was burned out of their rental on Boylan Avenue in January, and then good things started to happen.

“The Hampton Inn on Glenwood South took us in for a week, and they said stay as long as you need to,” Sarah Styron said. Then a couple they had never met before took them in.

Gift cards for food and clothing seemed to fall from the sky. Sarah Styron and her roommates gathered with friend Will Hardison to celebrate this shower of kindness.

“We just started talking about how great the Raleigh community had been to us,” she said. “It is really cool. Raleigh is cool.”

Hardison, a marketing expert, liked the concept and loved the name. He decided to spread the word.

“It was really just one of those light bulb, a-ha moments,” he said.

He purchased the domain name RaleighisCool.com and is using it to help other local individuals and businesses with their struggles.

“I have been blown away by how much people want to help you out,” Hardison said.

“Emails have flooded in saying, ‘How can I help?’ and ‘How can I get in on the next thing that you do?'”

RaleighisCool.com is selling T-shirts with 70 percent of the proceeds to benefit Nation Hahn, a politically connected young man whose wife was murdered last week. The money raised will help pay for medical treatments for injuries Hahn suffered in the attack that killed his wife.

Hardison wrote on the website, “Nation and Jamie were both heavily involved in the Raleigh community and were seen as a ‘power couple’ at the young ages of 29 and 27.  When I found out the news that he and his wife were the victims, my heart just sank.”

So far, Raleigh is Cool has sold 350 shirts, raising almost $5000 for Hahn

Liberals, Charity And Consistency – Example 2,482,893

Biden Laughing

So, Obama released his 2012 tax filing Friday.  Guess what?

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama reported an adjusted gross income of $608,611 for 2012 and paid an 18.4 percent income tax rate.


Anyway, the best part is yet to come:

[O]n June 25 of last year, the Bidens gave ‘Clothing, Boots, Kitchenware, Glassware’ totaling $400 to Goodwill,” the report notes. “Earlier, on May 16, the Bidens gave ‘Furniture and Exercise Equipment’ valued at $1,100 to the Ministry of Caring. And on May 27 of last year, the Bidens gave ‘Bicycles, Toys, Glasses, Pottery, Kitchenware’ valued at $500 to the same Goodwill.

Blink.  Blink.

This piece of garbage, “paying your taxes is patriotic”, next in line to be leader of the free world, donated less than 2% of his income to charity, and of THAT amount, 25% of it was in the form of unwanted shit laying around the house.

Seriously, who itemizes bikes, toys, glasses — GLASSES?!?!?!, pottery and kitchenware when they drop-off at the Goodwill?

Are you kidding me?

But hey, maybe I should go easy on the guy, after all, how is expected to survive collecting $29,761 in Social Security payments.

I would say that Biden is following my theory that the reason liberals are so tight in their personal charity is that they view taxation as charity.  However, a Biden and The Barckness Monster prove, they don’t even like paying taxes at a rate equal to that of Buffet’s secretary!

The Advantage Of Private Charity Over Goverment Programs

I have several problems with government provided programs.  One being that I’m not sure it’s the role of government to perform those services.  Not withstanding, I don’t feel that the public programs work overly well.  Or, perhaps better said, they don’t work as well as a similar program in private hands.

Consider an example:

Donnelly is the island’s state nurse and administrator of the Mary D Fund, a charity she created to provide year-round residents with much needed financial help during the harsh winter months. Last year, the 85-year-old mother of seven gave grants totaling $50,000 to roughly 30 percent of the island’s 1,000 residents.

The charity takes no government money, relying instead on individual donations and grants. By not taking taxpayer money or having government oversight, Donnelly says she is able to better manage where the money goes.

It’s not that I doubt the nobility of such government programs, although that might be easy to do in some cases, rather I doubt the incentives to care about where the money goes and how it gets there.

I especially like how Ms. Donnelly handles two issues that have frustrated me personally:

Recipients must meet three requirements: They must be year-round residents of Block Island, they must request the help in person or by letter, and they must give Donnelly the actual bill to pay. She also tells them “they have to take a money-management course” to help mininmize future financial squeezes.

1.  They must request help in person or by letter.

2.  They have to take a money-management course.

I really think that the idea of making the assistance people receive to be invisible is a wrong one.  I think that we would have fewer folks comfortable on government programs if they had to personally go to a meeting where the money was handed to them by a member of the community.

Second, I hate the aspect of the “fixing the result” aspect of government relief.   By the time someone has no food, generally the ability to help the individual has been largely missed.  I am convinced that successful programs are ones that resolve the reason someone has a need, not ones that simply provide the need.

Anyway, what a great story.

A Critique Of Role Of Nation And Role Of Government

All around us, people are willing to stand up and claim countless numbers of rights that ought be bestowed upon people of all kinds.  The right to a fair wage.  The right to food.  To housing.  To clothing and even medical care.  The list is seemingly endless.  There is no satiating the claims upon the grace of the blessed.

Of course, no right exists that compels one man to labor for another; that is tyranny and we’ve rejected that long ago.  Though it rears it’s ugly head again and again, perhaps never to be truly defeated, we must continually be vigilant.

Tonight, while having dinner with my 6 year old son I started a conversation surrounding those less fortunate than ourselves.  I asked him, for example, are we lucky, are we blessed?  He answered that we are blessed and lucky.

Then I asked him what our family, literally, mom and I, should do to help those less fortunate in our community.  His answer was that we should give them what they need because “not everyone can be lucky.”  I smiled and agreed that indeed, we should take great care in making sure our neighbors and friends have what they need.

But then I asked him if he thought it would be okay if that same person came and took what he needed from our house.  It might be money, or food or clothes.  Or maybe that person would make me get up and go to work but would get the money instead of me.

He didn’t think that was okay.  I asked him why:

Because that would be like a robber.


Look, I get it.  I want the world to be a better place too.  I want people to take care of other people and be nice.  To contribute to those who need to be warm, and full and safe and healthy.  But that does NOT mean that I can steal from some in order to meet that want.

And a six year old understands that.



Bigger Government – Higher Taxes: A Liberals Charity

For a long time now we’ve know that religious belief, political affiliation and charity correlate.  Certainly correlation isn’t causation but it does provide for interesting conversations.  Which brings me this story:

BOSTON — A new study on the generosity of Americans suggests that states with the least religious residents are also the stingiest about giving money to charity.

Like I said, this is well known and not surprising.  I would like to say that freedom loving individuals intuitively know that we need to care for our neighbors, but that legalized theft is not the way to do it.  However, I don’t think most people think it through like that.

But it would be fin to try and explain this:

The study released Monday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity.

The Northeast, with lower religious participation, was the least generous to charities, with the six New England states filling the last six slots among the 50 states.

The study also found that patterns of charitable giving are colored in political reds and blues.

Of the 10 least generous states, nine voted for Democrat Barack Obama for president in the last election. By contrast, of the 10 most generous states, eight voted for Republican John McCain.

Whatever the reason, I think it has to do with how the brain works.  For example, there are studies that show people who “be green” are then more likely to be rude or less moral; at least for a time.  Scientist feel that by contributing to the health of their plant, that “need” in their mind has been met and they are now free to act less charitable.

In fact, I’ve always felt that liberals aren’t less generous, they simply feel that government is their charity.  I honestly feel that when a liberal lawmaker is successful in voting for someone else to build a school for the poor with someone elses money, they feel the same sense of accomplishment that someone who volunteers for Habit for Humanity and actually swings the hammer that builds the school, or house.

Not surprisingly I’m often called out for this line of “garbage” and am told that I’m simply looking at it through too simply and too bias a lens.  Perhaps.  Tribalism is tough and resentment is an unattractive date.  Which is why I was surprised to see this:

Alan Wolfe, a political science professor at Boston College, said it’s wrong to link a state’s religious makeup with its generosity. People in less religious states are giving in a different way by being more willing to pay higher taxes so the government can equitably distribute superior benefits, Wolfe said. And the distribution is based purely on need, rather than religious affiliation or other variables, said Wolfe, also head of the college’s Boisi Center for Religion and Public Life.

Wolfe said people in less religious states “view the tax money they’re paying not as something that’s forced upon them, but as a recognition that they belong with everyone else, that they’re citizens in the common good. … I think people here believe that when they pay their taxes, they’re being altruistic.

I’ll differ with the good professor a little bit here.  I don’t think it’s the act of PAYING the taxes that causes democrats to be less charitable than others, I think it’s the act of VOTING for more spending that causes liberals to be less charitable.

No one likes to pay taxes and even democrats avoid it when they can.

Joe Biden Is A Cheapskate


I just mentioned that President Obama is a liar.  He claims to want to pay higher taxes, yet, when given the opportunity, he doesn’t.  Rather he chooses to shelter his money and keep what he can.  In fact, Obama pays less in taxes than does his secretary.


Now we find out that his Veep, Joseph Biden, is a cheapskate.

The vice president’s effective federal tax rate is 23.2%. The Bidens gave $5,540 to charity, a little less than 2% of income.

TWO percent of the Vice President of the United State’s income went to charity.

And the left has the balls to claim that conservative republicans don’t care about the poor, about kids, about education and the downtrodden.

On the other hand, perhaps we can defend Mr. Biden for stretching his pennies into copper wire.  See, the Liberal doesn’t see taxation as confiscation.  Rather, the liberal sees taxation AS CHARITY!  They feel that by legislating laws that force people to pay for their charity of choice that they have somehow acted in a moral manner.

Beware the Leftist who is willing to spend YOUR money in the name of his charity.


Greed, Capitalism And Charity

In the same way that the Left characterizes climate skeptics as loons, educational reformers as child haters and minimum wage advocates as haters of the poor, the Left characterizes free-market capitalists as greedy bastards.  Any support shown for a system that rewards the successful is immediately attacked as shilling for the rich.

Wanna reduce taxes on corporations because corporations will move to where there are lower taxes?  You support corporate welfare.  Wanna create laws that allow businesses to hire, and then fire, the most qualified and least productive?  Then you don’t care about the poor and disenfranchised.

With all the tribalism in today’s politics you can’t get the concept through the noise.  You’re unable to penetrate the distinction between “my side” and “your side”.  It’s more important to win than it is to create a viable path forward.  I see this often in corporate America.  I see competing managers championing their idea to the detriment of the team.  I feel I’m witnessing the same thing here in our politicians.  It’s more important to “win the debate” than to actually be right.

Because of this, because the Left vilifies all those who want to create a system that rewards the producers while removing the ability to destroy value from the ineffective managers, we will never be able to have a reasonable debate that typically successful people are reasonable people who, as it turns out, love other people:

The donor whose $350 million gift will be critical in building Cornell University’s new high-tech graduate school on Roosevelt Island is Atlantic Philanthropies, whose founder, Charles F. Feeney, is a Cornell alumnus who made billions of dollars through the Duty Free Shoppers Group.

Mr. Feeney, 80, has spent much of the last three decades giving away his fortune, with large gifts to universities all over the world and an unusual degree of anonymity. Cornell officials revealed in 2007 that he had given some $600 million to the university over the years, yet nothing on its Ithaca campus — where he graduated from the School of Hotel Management in 1956 — bears Mr. Feeney’s name.

The $350 million gift, the largest in the university’s history, was announced on Friday, but the donor was not named. Officials at Atlantic Philanthropies confirmed on Monday evening that it was Mr. Feeney, a native of Elizabeth, N.J., who is known for his frugality — he flies coach, owns neither a home nor a car, and wears a $15 watch — as well as his philanthropic generosity, particularly to medical research.

It turns out that capital, in the hands of the skilled, produces significant value to all the world.  And, as a reward, the capitalist acquires significant wealth as well.  And then, in the end, he often gives that wealth away.  As if to say, “I have come, I have made a difference and now it is time for me to give it all back.”


Do The Right Thing

You know what?  I resonate with the Democrat party and the far left liberals that make it up.  I do.

More and more in my life I find myself bumping into the mass of humanity that just doesn’t care.  They make their way through life and are simply interested in the “me”.  They want “their” iPad, “their” cable TV, “their” car and “their” house.

Not one single second to pause for consideration of the “them”.  The “them” who have none of that.  Who struggle to make it by.  Who are lonely, who are hungry and who are homeless.

I’ve always resonated with that.  Since I can remember, my parents always taught me that we were the lucky ones and to always ALWAYS think of those who didn’t have what we had.

And I’ve tried to live my life in such a manner that reflects that.

I give money and I give time.  I organize people to do things that result in the benefit of others.  I join organizations that work to make this world a better place.  A better place not for me, but for people I don’t know.  And it’s incredibly rewarding and satisfying.  There are times, in fact, that I weep* upon reflection of the works that organizations I am a part of have done.

But as I look back at the things that we have done, I am always reminded that there could have been so much more.  So much more if only more people were involved.  And I’m distressed at the people who turn me down as I ask for their help in doing the things that we do.

I call.

I text.

I e-mail.

I implore.

I mock.

Nothing.  I can not move these people into activity.  And it kills me.  It kills me because I find myself ineffective AND it kills me because there are people like that.  And I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know what to say, how to say it or when to say it.

I don’t.  And I wanna scream

So I get the rage and I get the feeling of helplessness.  Really.  I do.

But I would never pass a law that required YOU to contribute to MY charity.

If you are sad that people don’t care about poor people being hungry, work harder at feeding hungry people.  If you think that more people need to make more money, work harder at making more jobs that pay more people more money.

But let me be very clear.  When you legislate your version of morality, you are a monster.

* To be very clear, there should be NO confusion as to who wears the pants and who wears the skirt in my family!