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By John Hubbuch
Most everyone would agree that a portion of people live difficult lives for any number of reasons. Poverty, physical and mental illness, bad choices, broken families and many others contribute to the difficult lives of millions of people.
Liberals and conservatives have been concerned about the plight of these unfortunate citizens, but their approaches have been historically different. The conservative view incorporates a kind of rugged individualism arising from the intrepid pioneering spirit of our founders. Every man is responsible for his fate. The liberal view posits a belief that socity is at least a contributor to the plight of the disadvantaged.
As a result the conservative approach has emphasized private charity. From Carnigie to Gates, Vanderbilt to Buffet , Rich men have given significant portions of their wealth to help others. In particular, the arts have benefitted from private charity. The sympony, opera and art would barely exist but for the patronage of the Prizkers and their friends who continue a tradition of giving back to the De Medicis.
But relecting a society focus, the liberal tradition has long supported hospitals and orphanages paid for by taxes. Modern programs like medicaid and food stamps are consistent with this public charity.
No doubt the recipients of the charity could care less where the help comes from. Charity is charity.
But I must say that I cannot really understand the mean-spiritedness of those who would drastically cut public programs that help children, handicapped and poor--especially if you're well off. The idea that we should cut taxes so that rich people can buy a new Lexus a year earlier, and cut the food stamp program is mystifying to me. I just don't get it. It is clear that significant cuts in Medicare and Medicaid are essential, but do the Republicans have to be so damn gleeful about it.