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Do Liberals Help the Needy? June 10, 2008

Posted by Daniel Downs in Barak Obama, charity, conservative, Constitution, George W. Bush, giving, liberals, news, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), political economy, politics, poverty, Ron Paul, socialism, taxes, wealth, welfare.
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In a June 6 column published by The Economist, Peter Schweizer indicated that the richer and more powerful liberals are the harder it is for the needy to get any donations.

Many modern liberals like to openly discuss their altruism. Garrison Keillor explains that “I am liberal and liberalism is the politics of kindness.” But it rarely seems to turn into acts of kindness, especially when it comes to making charitable donations, wrote Schweizer.

To back his claim, Schweizer presents a who’s who of liberal stars including New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Al Gore, Senator Barack Obama, Senator John Kerry, Senator Ted Kennedy, Robert Reich, and Jesse Jackson. None of these champions of the poor and oppressed has given much if anything at all to any charitable organization. Schweizer looked at their income tax returns and financial statements.

Kennedy has been in Congress since the 1960s. He is the most experienced champions of passing federal law to help the poor, which in turn has helped the federal government to expand it powers. The long debated No child Left Behind version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act apparently never helped to close any gap between the poor and the other students. The rhetoric about underachieving urban poor, dropouts, and our kids uncompetitive underachieving compared to the rest of the world is the same old song and dance liberals and opportunists have repeatedly said needs fixing since the 1960s. What it actually means is give government’s public schools more money and more control over public education to the federal government.

This is nothing new. According to Schweizer,

The greatest liberal icon of the 20th Century is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He is regarded by many on the left as the personification of charity and compassion, but FDR actually has a slim record when it comes to giving to charity.

Compared to liberals today, FDR was very generous. He actually gave 2-3% of his income compared to 0-1% given by the above-mentioned liberals.

The point is liberals are all talk. They don’t really care much about the poor. If they actually did, they not only would give generously to those in need but would also have changed the political economy making it difficult for poverty to exist. Of course, they would want to do that for several reasons: One, they don’t care about people they neither know nor want to know. Two, their power, prestige, and wealth is engendered at the expense of the poor. Three, actually changing the political economy would screw up the entire agenda of the Left.

Okay, liberals are no more generous are caring than many other Americans. So are we to believe the compassionate conservatives are any different? Schweizer’s answer is a resounding yes.

President Ronald Reagan … was often called heartless and callous by liberals. Unlike Roosevelt or JFK, Reagan was not a wealthy man when he became president. He had no family trust or investment portfolio to fall back on. And yet, according to his tax returns, Reagan donated … four times more to charity — both in terms of actual money and on a percentage basis — than Senator Ted Kennedy. And, he gave more to charities with less income than FDR did. In 1985, for example, he gave away 6 percent of his income.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have continued this Reagan record. During the early 1990s, George W. Bush regularly gave away more than 10 percent of his income. In 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney gave away 77 percent of his income to charity. He was actually criticized by some liberal bloggers for this, who claimed he was getting too much of a tax deduction.

I suspect many of the reviled Right give considerable amounts of money to all sorts of charitable organizations, and not just to their churches. Referring to a Hudson Institute article, Ron Paul said,

American citizens voluntarily contributed three times more to help people overseas than did the United States government. This should not surprise us at all, as Americans are generous to those in need, whether here or abroad. There are so many moral, religious, and human reasons to help our fellow men and women in need. It is only when government gets in the way and tries to crowd out private charity that problems arise. (emphasis added.)

There are good reasons why the US Constitution does not allow our government to send taxpayer money overseas as foreign aid. One of the best is that coerced “charity” is not charity at all, but rather it is theft. If someone picks your pocket and donates the money to a good cause it does not negate the original act of theft.

Besides sound research showing the 16th amendment to the Constitution was not legally ratified, our tax dollars should not be used to enlarge and empower the federal government at the expense of the poor or the rest of us. The federal government taking power not conferred upon them by the American people is not for our benefit. Robert Reich claims American major corporations are the real culprits impoverishing Americans. These economic leeches robbing Americans economic well-being make welfare programs necessary. In his book Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg says the situation was planned by New Deal liberals.

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