Politics And Charity

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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.

Reader Comments

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4 Freedom  

Posted: September 15th, 2012 4:57 PM

JBM, I thought I was reflecting the tone of the article. Funny you say dogmatic when the article, which lacks facts and is full of prejudice, seems that way to me. That fact you agree with it "100%" doesn't make you look less dogmatic or prejudiced. Who needs facts! You are right: ALL republicans are uncaring bastards. No discussion needed.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 10:10 PM

4 Freedom, I apologize. I really don't know where you stand politically. I am willing to discuss politics with anyone and everyone, but I try to resist chats with dogmatic posters that always start with bully remarks of anyone that might disagree with them. Feel free whenever I ever post dogmatic or bully-ish to skip reading my posts.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 9:59 PM

Russ, Churches are still very much involved in giving and it still isn't enough to handle the needs of every one. School loans help make sure we keep education available and the old day's of students walking away from their school loans is no longer accepted.

4 Freedom from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 9:47 PM

John Butch Murtagh, I am not from the right. I for personal freedoms like our founding fathers intended which in this specific case is shared with those from the right. So, do you only discuss politics with those you agree with?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 9:24 PM

Russ and 4 Freedom - you guys are pitching so far from the right that you hit third base less than you hit the plate. It is hard to discuss something with posters that assume other posters political and personal beliefs. I am out of this string!

Russ  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 5:13 PM

Finally, the left also refuses to see how their government charity is often the cause of the very problem they are trying to prevent. Take student loans for instance. College is expenseive because government has proliferated student loans. The answer of course is to reign in students loans, not continue to inflate college costs with more lending/debt!! Yet, any talk of doing so brands one as anti-education or crushing a student dream. same with healthcare...

Russ  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 5:10 PM

Charity is best left to private entities. The problem is that government has stepped in and replaced what used to be handled by churches and the like. Govt also has a way of encouraging dependence - see generations on welfare. Most conservatives have no problem providing a saftey net for those truly in need. The problem is liberals turn the safety net into a hammock.

Russ  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 5:08 PM

John, given all the fraud and waste associated with most government programs, I think you'd have a hard time convincing anyone that government is scrutinized as much as business. Businesses in the free market must control expenses/waste, etc or risk going out of business. Government has none of those incentives which is the problem. They just raise taxes...

4 Freedom from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 4:48 PM

Last thing, liberals often demand separation of church and state; yet, they also demand a government charity or insurance. Take a moment to consider that. Seems like a double standard to me. To be fair, both sides seem to be that way.

4 Freedom from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 4:37 PM

Morality is personal and subjective. Therefore, the government should try to keep moral decisions to a minimum. Why should I be forced by law to contribute to a cause when another cause may be more important in my view? Do you see what I am saying? I am not saying I don't care about the disadvantaged. I do very much so. But, every person should be able to decide for themselves how much or who should receive the money they earned.

4 Freedom from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 4:29 PM

JBM - Yes, but far more experience in business. I am sure we could argue all day about who is scrutinized more. But just because something can be scrutinized more doesn't necessarily mean it's any more accountable. Furthermore, consumers or in this case donors can demand transparency. They can withhold their funds until they are audited. Tax payers, on the other hand, can't withhold their funds, they have to pay by law.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 3:08 PM

4 Freedom - have you ever worked for either the government or business?

4 Freedom from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 2:38 PM

Due to the nature of competition and regulation I would argue that businesses _actions_ are scrutinized just as much as the government if not more. Plus, our federal government is so big it is difficult to scrutinize.

4 Freedom from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 2:31 PM

John Butch Murtagh are you sure you live in Illinois? Self-serving is the name of the game! That is not me being pessimistic; that is the reality. The only accountability a politician has is a vote. He doesn't have to pay for any decisions he makes. The best example is our debt - if the politicians were accountable we wouldn't have a lot less. A charity is more accountable because they can't exist without donations. And if they are ineffective, they loose their funds.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 14th, 2012 1:49 PM

I am 100 percent with John H's comments. I am completely stumped with 4 Freedom comment that government is unaccountable. Government, at all levels are scrutinized more than any other organization or enterprise. Can you imagine the whine we would hear if businesses had to open their books to the level of government? I also think the term self-serving to be overused and a serious misrepresentation. Most governments, businesses, profit and non-profit - big and small, and the citizens of the country are honest, hard working people with compassion, a sense of charity, and a strong belief in being fair to all.

4 Freedom from Oak Park  

Posted: September 11th, 2012 11:33 PM

I am not a republican but you appear to be making a lot of assumptions. Where are facts on charity distribution by party? Anyway, are you saying that you would rather have self-serving politicians that have little accountability and are often inefficient distribute your money to those in need. Plus, how do you know they are focusing on what you feel is important? I know I would rather choose a more effective charity than the government.

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