Anyone who has spent time in other parts of the world, for example with the United States military, probably knows up close and personal what real poverty looks like; homes without glass in the windows or complete roofs, child number four wearing clothes already nearly destroyed by being worn by children one through three, children scrambling for days old bread and treating it as a delicacy. In America, people living below the “poverty” level have amenities that upper middle class people in much of the rest of the world only dream about.
Last week, Heritage’s Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield released a new report showing that according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, those defined as “poor” enjoy amenities you might not expect–air conditioning, cable TV, and Xbox game systems, among them. https://blog.heritage.org/2011/07/26/the-left-misses-the-point-on-poverty-in-america/
President Obama and others want the rich, apparently defined as anyone actually making money and paying income taxes, to pay more so that we can help the “poor”. Many well-educated idiots opine about moral responsibility. We are frequently told by irreligious leftists and liberal theologians that social programs are a religious and moral obligation. In reality, charity is a command from God, reinforced by Jesus while he was on the earth. However, our giving is to be a personal matter, and to come from the heart. Dropping money in the offering plate while someone plays a trumpet is actually sinful, not meaningful. Noticeably absent from anywhere in scripture is a command to help the needy with your neighbor’s money.
The left is angered by the study done by Heritage, not because they care one whit about the poor, but because they care about the narrative. When they take your money to “help the poor”, they divert a sizable chunk to themselves – through mismanaged bureaucracies, misappropriated federal spending, kickbacks to campaign contributors, and a whole host of other nonsense. It is no coincidence that conservatives, who supposedly “hate the poor” make far greater personal contributions to charity than the progressives who claim to be all about “helping the poor”. To a conservative, compassion is helping someone to their feet and giving them an opportunity to walk on their own. To a progressive, compassion is throwing other people’s money at the guy on the ground. I feel pretty confident that I know which approach will be greeted by “Well done, good and faithful servant.” when all is said and done.
Helping those in need is always best done at the lowest level possible. When you give to a local charity to help the needy, typically 80-90 percent of your donation directly helps people truly in need. When your money is confiscated by big government to help the needy, very little of it ever goes to helping people, because bureaucracies are too inefficient to use the money wisely. They are also too big and too hamstrung by public policy to be capable of determining true need in the way that a local Pastor or organizational director can. Instead of feeding the government leviathan more hard earned money to be wasted in bureaucratic purgatory, help good local organizations who can truly make a difference.
I’ve seen the Obamas’ tax returns, and even with an increase in 2008 when they knew people would be looking, they only gave 6.5% of a multi-million dollar income to charity. I am tired of him lecturing about the evil millionaires not paying their “fair share”. As contrast, a committed conservative Christian gives 10%+ just to their local church.
He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported an adjusted gross income of $2,656,902. The vast majority of the family’s 2008 income is the proceeds from the sale of the President’s books. The Obamas paid $855,323 in federal income tax…The President and First Lady also reported donating $172,050 – or about 6.5% of their adjusted gross income – to 37 different charities. – White House Website