Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Role of Government

The following is my post on The Political Insiders Report today:

“Sometimes you fall off of the ladder…there is a safety net there…liberals tend to believe that the safety net is a hammock, so you can stay there the rest of your life,” Rep. Allen West

It’s hard for me to find fault with the folks taking advantage of the government hammock. Whether it’s the generations of families living off of welfare, capable persons drawing unemployment longer than they need, or the wealthy taking advantage of tax loopholes; it is entirely legal, and human nature after all. The true fault lies with those who make it possible to live at other’s expense. Those who savor the “slavery” of making voters completely dependent for their basic needs because it equates to guaranteed votes.

What is the proper role of government? 

Objectivists believe the only role of government is to protect its citizens. A police to protect from criminals, an army to protect from foreign invasion, and courts to protect property and contracts from breach or fraud. However, altruists believe the role extends to caring for those citizens who aren’t capable of caring for themselves. This noble view pervades most of American politics today.

The structure of philanthropy in government.

Two primary beliefs exist on how to go about helpingAmerica’s needy. One side believes in charity while the other in a redistribution of wealth often to fund entitlement programs. The two contrast each other.

As Davies and Antolin state in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, “Charity can only be charity when it is voluntary. Coerced acts, no matter how beneficial or well-intentioned, cannot be moral. If we force people to give to the poor, we have stripped away the moral component, reducing charity to mere income redistribution.”

Certainly, redistributing wealth to the needy in the form of entitlements is an effective form of philanthropy, but what happens when the government runs out of wealth to redistribute?  This belief system eventually leads to a nation of poverty.  There is an inherit danger in viewing wealth as a finite resource that must be shared.  The “trickle down” philosophy is accurate.  Just as wealth can be and is created, so too can it be destroyed.  Progressive taxation aimed at redistributing wealth to the needy is well intentioned, but eventually succeeds only in destroying wealth and creating poverty.

The private sector does not flourish under high taxation.  As Sen. Marco Rubio stated, “I have never met a job creator who told me that they were waiting for the next tax increase before they started growing their business.” And as goes the private sector, so goes the economy. As is evident, the needy suffer more under a poor economy. Unemployment is up, and with it the need for more welfare. Food stamp rolls have met record highs as has “real unemployment”.

The creation of wealth is vital to caring for our needy. As former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub stated, “You need wealth to have charity.” Economic policies that lead to wealth creation, combined with social policies encouraging charitable giving through tax credits not only lead to more effective social assistance, but guarantee the sustainability of that assistance. They do so while respecting the potential of the individual and encouraging the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

While entitlement programs destroy personal accountability and breed generations of dependence, charities encourage and motivate the individual to strive to reach their full potential rather than enabling dependence. They provide a true safety net for America’s needy.

To Read more on the topic, visit my post here.  
"Only 30% of government “welfare” spending goes to the needy. Private charity is the opposite, with over 70% going to the needy. That means private charity is 150% more efficient than the welfare state.

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