Does Government Assistance Discourage Private Charity?

Government Assistance
A couple of months ago my brother, the Reverend Doctor Jim Robinson, posted a blog titled “Hard Work vs. Government Assistance.” It was well-written and thought-provoking, but I thought it was incomplete.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that my brother and I love each other, but we fall on opposite sides of the political fence. He is as liberal as I am conservative; however, we’re both reasonable adults, and we’ve learned to discuss our differences in a civilized manner. In fact, he has a passion for civility, and his blog is “dedicated to hearing ‘both side’ of any issue.” But in this particular post, I think he failed to take into consideration that some issues have more than two sides. I think this is particularly relevant in issues involving caring for those I call “the least of these.”

In his post, Jim told the story of a single mother who held down three jobs in order to care for herself and her 8-year-old son. She kept the bills paid, but she did without what some of us consider necessities like childcare and health care. As she left work one night, she was mugged and her car was stolen. She was hospitalized for a couple of weeks, the bills mounted up, and because of her absences, she lost all three jobs.

After telling the story, Jim went on to ask his conservative friends how they would suggest this woman, who found herself in dire straits through no fault of her own, get back on her feet. He quoted a poster he saw on Facebook that said Hard work and education will take you further than any government program can ever promise. He said that he agreed with the sentiment and also agreed that there is a certain “free ride” mentality among some in this country that sometimes leads to welfare fraud and wasted government spending. He then concluded with this statement:

If anybody can come up with a credible way of helping this woman and her son—and the thousands (Hundreds of thousands? Millions?) in similar circumstances—without government involvement, I’ll vote for him/her!

I have no desire for anyone’s vote, but I think I have a third alternative to either hard work or government assistance, and that is private, personal charity.

Linda’s grandparents, Ralph and Alva Hagan

“Lord, what am I going to feed these children today?”

She wasn’t trying to figure out which of the many choices in the pantry her kids would eat. Instead she was praying for wisdom about how to stretch the little she had to satisfy her hungry family’s needs.

But no matter how little they had, Granny always found something to share. Today I saw a picture of an old, wrinkled woman with a toothless smile, three apples in her left hand and two in her right. She was holding the two apples toward the camera as if offering them to the photographer. The caption read The poor people are often the most generous. Granny could have posed for that picture. Before the day of food stamps and other types of government assistance, ragged transients often found their way to her door. She always scrounged up something for them to eat, even if it was a cold biscuit and a piece of bacon left from breakfast.

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Aunt Fay remembers one time when the family was apparently between farms and was living in the back of an old pickup with a kind of camper top made of canvas. One evening Granddaddy brought home several rabbits for dinner. He also brought along a man he had met while he was hunting, a guest to share the small meal he had provided for his family. Are there people who would be so generous today? There are some.

Jim continued his story by telling about a neighbor of the injured woman. She contacted her pastor, and together they raised money to pay the bills for a short time. They found childcare and a loaner car. After she recovered from her injuries, did the woman find a job that allowed her to maintain her independence, or was she forced to fall back on government assistance? Jim lost contact with the friend who told him the story, so he didn’t know the end result. Hopefully the generosity of the community continued until the woman healed, found employment and got back on her feet. Hopefully they didn’t tire of helping and decide they had done enough.

Whose job is it to care for those in need? Jesus addressed this in Matthew 14: 15-16.

15 That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”

16 But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”

If Jesus were here today, what would He think about the discussion about how to deal with the poor? Would He congratulate us on our institutional programs and safety nets or would He wonder if government assistance has made us forget how to love our neighbor and care for the least of these?

—–
Linda Brendle retired from the business world several years ago, and she blogs about caregiving, faith, and family at Life After Caregiving. She has written a book called A LONG AND WINDING ROAD, RVing with Mom and Dad, and she is a frequent contributor to The Rains County Leader in Emory, Texas, The Burnside Writers Collective, Soul Sitters, and Don’t Lose Heart. She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • http://twitter.com/robmille Rob Miller

    Please don’t post blog posts discouraging people from taking the assistance they need.

    • 22044

      Where did she do that?

  • R Taylor

    “Would He congratulate us on our institutional programs and safety nets or would He wonder if government assistance has made us forget how to love our neighbor and care for the least of these?”

    This would be only a fair question if government were actually meeting the needs of our neighbours. It is not, and so is misleading. We all- private citizens, local and federal goverments, churches, mosques, temples and service clubs, need to do what we can to help our neighbour- service is not a zero-sum game in which government aid removes the need for all else.

  • http://www.theradicaldisciples.com Ryan Drake

    If the church were the church – 1.8 billion of us – there wouldn’t be extreme poverty, lack of education, water or healthcare.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rickmcopy Rick Middleton

    “If Jesus were here today, what would He think about the discussion about how to deal with the poor?”

    Well, we know he was never shy about these things, and he loved to get to the point, so I think he would say something like this: “Your wages are so miserly, this woman must work three jobs simply to survive. Don’t tell me how religious you are, and how much you tithe, if you think it is perfectly acceptable to pay your employees $7.50 per hour in 2012. If you love the poor, pay them a livable wage.”

    These discussions typically boil down to welfare vs. work, which is a false dichotomy. We have created an economy where the typical Wal-Mart worker needs both — he works full-time, then gets in line for food stamps, since he doesn’t make enough income from his hard work. In essence, this is government welfare to corporate America, as federal dollars fill in the gaps so corporations can pay sub-human wages. Corporate America, now enjoying record profits, needs to be called to task.

    Jesus would probably also ask how we can claim to love the poor if we work so hard to fight healthcare reform that is inching towards universal coverage.

    • 22044

      If you’re not enamored that big corporations get unfair favors from the government – why was it a good idea to have the government take over such a large segment of the economy? That seems inconsistent.
      As the health care law continues to get implemented, many people may get excited that they have more insurance. However, being insured doesn’t matter a whit if you can’t get the needed health care – which is precisely what is forecasted as fewer doctors & hospitals will be available to deliver it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rickmcopy Rick Middleton

        I don’t agree with your premises. In what universe has the government taken over a large segment of the economy? Please don’t say healthcare — Obamacare has no public option, remember? Obamacare tells you to rush out and buy a private policy, so it is actually a bonanza for private enterprise. Also, where are these forecasts about fewer doctors and hospitals? Is this one of those studies generated by a right-wing blog?

        • 22044

          The public option isn’t there, but the exchanges that are being set up by the states will receive more demand as consumers gradually get priced out of private policies. Prices go up when competition is limited, which is what the law did.
          On the other side, payments for health care services to hospitals & doctors will go down as the government won’t have the funds to pay for the services as private policy owners would have. So many doctors will quit or refuse to work with the government, and hospitals may cut back on their operations as their payments from the government can’t keep up with expenses. Not trying to scare anybody, but basic economics and the law of unintended consequences lead to those conclusions.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rickmcopy Rick Middleton

            This scenario sounds interesting in a Robin Cook-Michael Crichton sort of way. In other words, unless credible medical-healthcare organizations are forecasting the same thing you have outlined, this view is pure fiction.

          • 22044

            I guess you’re not interested in understanding economics, the law of unintended consequences, or that people are dynamic individuals.

            You might actually be the one who only hears information or opinions that tickle your ears, so you dismiss as fiction anything else that doesn’t fit in your bubble. Too bad.

          • 22044

            One other thing I forgot – every doctor & every hospital must have a budget & stick to it as much as possible. Looks like you’re not interested in understanding that either.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rickmcopy Rick Middleton

            I’m still waiting for those forecasts you mentioned above. Link?

          • 22044

            No links, just a good understanding of the subjects I mentioned above and the times we live in is needed.

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            Rick has asked (as politely as one may expect online) for you to support your argument, and the only support you are willing to offer is “this seems like how it will happen to me.” Surely, if it is as inevitable as you claim, you should be able to find experts who agree with you, rather than simply claiming that Rick is ignoring the truth (which you have not actually presented as truth, merely as opinion).

          • 22044

            Rick’s asked a fair question, but providing a set of links doesn’t really work as the practice of forecasting is more an art than a science – and my sources are many. I’ve tried to synthesize the information as best as I know how to develop my predictions.
            To try to suffice – I’ve offered a set of general principles & subjects that one can google for one’s own research or perhaps engage in discussions with others.
            Additionally, much of what I’ve studied to come to these conclusions has been done offline, a world which still presents great opportunities to study & research…but doesn’t transition well to the online arena.

          • 22044

            As a brief addendum – I would love to be wrong – but now I think that I’ve presented some arguments, the burden is on others to explain to me how the ACA will keep the promises its advocates claimed it would.

        • Drew

          Rick, even if the numbers of doctors and hospitals remained the same, you would have a higher patient/doctor ratio because of more people coming into the system. You also have a lot of baby boomers retiring, which will cause a potential shortage in many fields, including health care.

          Also, hospitals are being hit hard by lower reimbursements from the Government, in part due to Obamacare. The hospital my wife is working at is cutting benefits for all employees and there has been talk about shutting down a hospital in an inner-city that desperately needs it. Most of the folks are on government health care, and the hospital is getting reimbursed pennies on the dollar, and losing tens of millions a year.

          Rick, at least do a little research on the subject, instead of being a mouthpiece for a policy you don’t understand. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rickmcopy Rick Middleton

            I’ll ignore your insults and let you know that I worked for the Cleveland Clinic and another large Ohio hospital. I understand the economics of health care. The trend of “inner city hospitals shutting down” has been a reality for as long as there have been inner cities, and hospitals; don’t blame Obamacare (which has barely gone into effect) for a problem that is generations in the making.

            Also, I’ll never understand the argument that says, “Obamacare will mean lots of people will suddenly want healthcare.” You mean, 40 million sick uninsured people keeps the system in balance, and why change that? 1. That’s twisted, and 2. That’s an assumption that the nation’s med schools (and immigration quotas) can’t give us enough doctors, and I don’t think Robert Wood Johnson and other medical think tanks are even predicting that.

          • Drew

            Rick,

            I’m more interested in your argument than your credentials, although the latter is more impressive than the former.

            I’m not talking about for-profit hospitals making too small of profits and are closing in inner cities. I’m talking about not-for-profit hospitals taking huge lasses that are closing in inner cities. Reimbursement is lower overall because of people losing health care in the recession, but the other problem is the government lowering reimbursement rates, which is one thing Obamacare does.

            I’m not arguing against insuring the poor; what I’m arguing against is a free lunch. You can’t cut reimbursement rates and pay hospitals less, and expect there to be a huge increase in doctors and solvent hospitals. Sounds like fuzzy math and unintended consequences to me. I guess we’ll have to see how it plays out, but I already am seeing the results, even if you are burying your head in the sand in regards to my anecdotal but true stories.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rickmcopy Rick Middleton

            Again with the insults; I’ve simply asked various posters to support their positions, and I’m the one with my head in the sand? There are plenty of groups doing great work on health care policy: Rand Corp., Kaiser Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson, others. These groups certainly can point to problems in Obamacare, but overall they are not predicting the sky will fall or the system will collapse. Is there a study I’m missing, from a non-partisan source, that supports your stance?

          • Drew

            I suppose any source you don’t agree with will be “partisan,” so I’m not sure if I can satisfy your requirement. As I said, we’ll see how this pans out. We already have retailers laying off people and hiring part-time help so that they can bypass the requirements in Obamacare. Unintended consequences, Rick.

          • http://www.nathansmart.com/ Nathan Smart

            Well shame on those companies then!! Papa John’s makes almost $500 million a year in PROFIT. They can’t afford to give their employees healthcare? Shame on them for putting the burden on their employees.

          • 22044

            Your shame is misdirected. Any profit figure looks bad in isolation – it must be reviewed as part of the business’ whole income statement in order to properly assess it.

          • http://www.nathansmart.com/ Nathan Smart
          • 22044

            If people are serious about their ideas about helping lowly paid workers – they can start by tipping more generously, instead of opining about phantom excessive profits on a blog.
            Sometimes people talk about trickle-down economics. I think trickle-down government describes the current state of affairs better. Probably trickle-down misery can apply as well.

          • http://www.facebook.com/nathansmart Nathan Smart

            Yeah, that’s the problem. People aren’t tipping well enough and that’s why pizza delivery drivers can’t afford healthcare.

          • Drew

            Shame on them or not, this is what is happening, Nathan.

          • http://www.nathansmart.com/ Nathan Smart

            and do you think it’s okay?

          • Drew

            That’s a moot question. The real question is why is it happening and how can it be corrected? The reason is Obamacare, and the way to correct it is to make adjustments to the law that should have been considered in the first place.

          • http://www.facebook.com/nathansmart Nathan Smart

            Yes, and the reason why a lot of cotton farmers lost some of their profitability is because we decided slavery was wrong. Should we have tried to make adjustments to that?

          • Drew

            Nathan, take a deep breath and become rational once again. No need to bring out the slavery meme and get emotional and self-righteous like a teenager. No amount of emotional angst and self-righteousness is going to fix this issue. That’s one of the problems in America, people are more impressed by their own self-righteousness than trying to fix a problem.

            While you were busy avoiding my question and becoming an emotional mess and dropping slavery memes, my question remains, rock solid. You can focus on the fact that companies should not cut employee hours to avoid health insurance charges. THAT WILL NOT FIX ANYTHING. Asking non-Christians or businesses that cannot afford health insurance, to suddenly be Christians or to afford health insurance is not reality. Therefore, what should we do?

            My point is that if you admit we need to re-write the law, I am pointing out the fact that the law should have been written “correctly” in the first place, and that it was an obvious flaw and unintended consequence of Obamacare.

          • http://www.facebook.com/nathansmart Nathan Smart

            My point wasn’t to compare slavery to health insurance. You said the problem with businesses cutting hours and not wanting to pay a portion of their profits (very, very small in the case of Papa John’s) to give their employees healthcare was Obamacare’s problem. My point is that the real problem is that business owners like Papa John’s are greedy and greed is not a virtue our country should try to stand on. If we truly care about the state of the country then we care about every citizen and not just the ones who have invested in our company.

            And your “real question” assumes that the problem is that employees are having their hours cut. But that’s not the problem – that’s a problem that was created by the owners who have THRIVED under President Obama the last four years. The real problem is that people can’t afford healthcare and so how do we fix that? Papa John’s has decided that it doesn’t care about that problem and would, in fact, cut down on his business to make it so that they don’t have to address that problem. There are plenty of articles you can read about why he doesn’t have to do that and he’s only doing it to make some kind of fake point. The only way to fix that problem is to change the hearts of people like Papa John but that’s impossible to do without having a strong personal relationship with him. So, what’s our only recourse? Ask the government to compel those people to work with us and make sure that everyone in this country has equal access to healthcare. And, for those businesses who can’t afford it (50 or less employees) they are exempt. For those who have even less (25 or less) and want to help out, they get government assistance to do so.

            BTW, leave the personal attacks out of this please. I’m not an “emotional mess” and I don’t know why my comment makes me self-righteous. Thanks for that though!

          • 22044

            Nathan, if the self-righteous label fits, wear it…and quit relegating Christ’s mission to the government over something where there is legitimate disagreement about. God did not give you, or anyone else, the job of judging hearts. When that’s the case, your posts end up full of hot air.

            I made some salient points earlier about how folks may not enjoy the pipe dream of “equal access to health care”. Up to now, nobody has given me good arguments about why the law is going to work.

          • Drew

            I agree with you, 22044, but for a different reason. I have no problem with government interference in health care. However, I have a problem with shoddy legislation. If you’re going to mandate health care for employees that work 32 hours or more, you know that employers are going to cut employee hours to 31 hours if they can. It’s simple economics. Nathan wants to get emotional and rage at employers, but emotional rage is not a solution. I hope the legislation is tightened up a bit.

          • 22044

            When evaluating legislation for reforming health care, the test to see if it will work is if the reforms will work for the providers & end users. As it will become more apparent that those criteria won’t be met – my view that the law should not have passed and true market-based reforms considered instead will find legs. I would be interested, however, how the legislation as we have it today could be tightened.

          • Drew

            Nathan, when you respond to me with emotional and irrational arguments, I will bring that up. Ironically, you agree with me 100%, but you have no idea that you agree with me. This is because you are too busy emotionalizing the issue. You admit that the answer is to “ask the government to compel those people.” Exactly. Like I said, Obamacare was written poorly, and caused unintended consequences. Now, we need more legislation to fix the unintended consequences.

          • Questioning

            Oh if it were only this simple. Most people today save for retirement using 401k plans. 401k plans are largely made up of mutual funds, ie stocks and bonds. Mutual funds are looking for profitable companies to invest in. Why? So their portfolios can grow and our 401k accounts can increase. Papa John’s is a publicly traded company. Asking them to accept less profit, and the inevitable stock price reduction is like biting off our nose to spite our face. We are culpable too. Reminds me of an old adage…”We don’t want much, just more.” Granted, there are various ways to offset the expenses, and I am a bit dubious of his (Papa John) math.

          • http://www.nathansmart.com/ Nathan Smart

            So, Papa John’s wouldn’t be profitable at 490 million dollars? And by the way, he would only have to charge an extra 3 to 4 cents for pizza to cover it. I’m sure he could – I mean unless he wants to just give away $20 million worth of pizza every year instead.

          • Questioning

            Yeah I expect they could…. but would that be growth? Would that encourage more people to buy their stock, and thus drive the stock price up, and thus put more money into our mutual funds and 401k’s? I’m not defending Papa John’s, but my point is this: we are being hypocritical when we call companies out for wanting to increase and protect profits, when it is we who are demanding those same profits. Are we willing to settle for less so that employees can have healthcare? We should be, firstly because it is biblical, secondly because it may come down to that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/nathansmart Nathan Smart

            So, are we saying that business growth and the welfare of mutual funds and 401ks are more important than the welfare of our employees? Is that what we’re supposed to consider above all else? Especially on a blog that emphasizes Jesus’ words?

            And, yes, I think people would be willing to pay 4 cents more per pizza to make this happen.

          • Questioning

            Nope, you missed my point. Above you said “shame on Papa John’s”. I am saying “shame on us” anytime, in any situation, we don’t first look into the mirror and consider how we might also be responsible and how we might also need to change. This was just a tiny example of a bigger lesson we all, myself included, need to learn. There’s plenty enough blame to go around.

          • http://www.facebook.com/nathansmart Nathan Smart

            I think that was also my point? Shame on those who would be so greedy as to not give up a tiny portion of their profits at the expense of huge groups of people not getting health insurance.

          • 22044

            I posted a separate reply, but I will address this as well. A judgment of greed is in the eye of the beholder, and certainly no justification for passing bad law. Your “shame” continues to be misdirected. Maybe you do need to grow up.

          • 22044

            Any public company’s first fiduciary responsibility is to maximize its profit. Certainly that adage can be taken to excess. That’s why you need competition. Are Dominos & Pizza Hut better balance in running their businesses profitably and paying their employees? Perhaps independent pizza shops or smaller chains? Perhaps other restaurants? Or should a lot of people duck out of dining out? I could keep going, but people likely get the idea.

    • SamHamilton

      I think you have a good point about low wages being the heart of the problem. If we had higher wages we could do away with much of the government social welfare apparatus. But how do we get higher wages? Is it simply higher minimum wage laws? Is it to encourage more employee owned and run businesses? Is it changing corporate law to give more influence to workers?

      • http://www.facebook.com/rickmcopy Rick Middleton

        It’s probably all of the above. I do think it’s tragic that corporate America fights so hard against increases in the minimum wage, and the conservative church fights right alongside them. Minimum wage has lost much of its purchasing power in the past 3 decades, and we wonder why half of America is below the poverty line. It should be tied to inflation, like Social Security is. The idea of helping people develop entrepreneurial talents is a lovely one, but self-employment is not viable for everyone; a modern economy needs visionaries, but it also needs accountants and laborers and cashiers who mind the details.

  • Eric

    The problems related to poverty in America are much too big to claim that charity is the solution. Less than 90% of the help received by the less advantaged comes from private sources. My church has a large food bank that provides groceries to dozens of families a week. We once were able to help with utilities and rent in emergency situations but no longer have the funds. Many churches do next to nothing, either because they can’t help anyone outside their own congregation or because they choose to blame the poor for their situation and self-righteously turn their backs. I very much believe private charity has an important place. But it is delusional thinking to suggest that churches would do more if government would do less. Both are needed and should be encouraged by Christians

  • Eli

    as long as people are keen to hand over their money to government to protect their way of life through military and market manipulative means, it stands to reason some of our taxes should goto welfare and safety nets.
    Most of the people I have met who complain about govt handouts and claim the church and private charity should step up, are themselves clearly part of the problem… ie they consume and pollute just as much as the next guy and have no issue paying people subpar wages or propping up the system in all manner of means.
    Its a nice thought if one comes from a historically advantaged background but its like saying we should all just stop sinning and the world would be a great place… yes but in the meantime.

  • http://twitter.com/ConneelyD D Conneely

    Even if the woman received had free medical treatment and could raise her family with the disability benefits and social welfare after she got out of hospital, why shouldn’t the church still help with her children so they didn’t have to go into care, help her with house work and cooking when she was home but still recovering. Couldn’t they still lend her a car when she was well enough and wanted to get back into work? You will get rid of dire poverty with health care and social welfare, but there will still be plenty of real need around you.
    Don’t forget what Jesus taught us about being a good neighbour in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Our neighbour includes people in other nations too. Even if as a nation you got rid of all poverty in your own land, you still live in a world of suffering, drought, famine, disease and natural disasters, you buy food in your shops grow by farmers and labourers who are not paid a living wage either. Nations who take care of their poor and sick through social welfare and universal healthcare give a larger proportion of their GDP to international aid than the United States where charitable giving prioritises the desperately poor in your own society.
    There is no reason that a society be caring enough to vote for a caring government would mean they stop caring.

  • Frank

    The best thing we can do to help the poor is to not throw more tax money the governments way to use ineffectively, but to make sure there are jobs for the poor. Fix the economy by reducing spending dramatically and lower the tax rates across the board.

    • David

      “Fix the economy by reducing spending”
      This is the opposite of how economics works.

      • Frank

        Really? What has gotten us in this mess? Spending too much money!

        • David

          Spending too much money has nothing to do with the current economic condition. Deregulation of the financial industry that allowed them to get to the point of collapse in 2008 is what caused the current economic condition.
          If you cut spending during a recession that means even less money is going into the economy and it makes it worse. That is pretty basic economics.
          The national debt is a completely different problem and requires a much longer term solution that includes reducing spending and increasing revenue. Once the economy improves THEN is the time to look to reduce spending because a strong economy can handle it.

          • Frank

            Well over half the country disagrees with you along with many respected economists and the Senates own commission. Thankfully the GOP still holds the checkbook.

          • David

            And they’ve certainly done a bang up job with the checkbook so far.

      • Drew

        Once I read that quote, I decided not to respond. You can’t argue with that kind of anti-intellectualism.

  • SamHamilton

    Thanks Linda. You make good points. Your grandmother reminds me of the stories my mother told me about her grandmother. Their backyard abutted the train tracks and their home was a regular stopping off point for the guys who road the rails They knew that anytime they knocked on her back door she’d make them a fried egg sandwich.

    I think there’s a place for government social welfare programs, but there comes a point when they become too generous or when they’re not implemented properly that they discourage private charity and local community responsibility.

    • Linda_Brendle

      Thanks Sam. With all the argument about health care and such, I almost forgot what I wrote about. Maybe I should have said “personal charity” instead of “private charity” in my title. However, since everybody jumped right to “my church,” “the food bank,” and other institutions, it more or less made my point. Our community has a Thanksgiving Box Outreach. Lots of people write checks to pay for the food, but how many actually go pack and deliver boxes. I agree that there is a place for institutional assistance, but that shouldn’t relieve us of our personal responsibility to take care of those in need.

      I know there are so many in need that the job seems overwhelming, but it’s my belief that if each person who has a little extra shares with someone who needs a little help, maybe we wouldn’t need as many “programs.” I know it seems like a pipe dream in the face of our current situation, but there was a time when putting men in space seemed just as unlikely. Thanks again for sharing your memories.

      Blessings,
      Linda

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.fodera.1 Peter Fodera

    Lovely, but you did NOT address the question of whether money given to government that gets routed toward entitlements discourages private charity. Jesus indeed said, “YOU give them something to eat,” and in at least one instance as Deity intervened in History to defy the laws of Physics and multiplied those loaves and fishes to feed many, many more than the original number would have ever fed had it NOT trumped the laws of physics. BUT MOST TIMES HE DOES NOT DO THAT. So, a penny diverted from personal charity toward government bloated bureaucracy where perhaps $0.50 on the $1.00 actually gets into the hands of the needy (We spend annually just over $61,000 per Welfare household but only ~ $30,000 on average gets into those same households’ hands) is a penny NOT available to be given to our local church, synagogue, temple, mosque or other private charity or philanthropy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DeepNarcosis William J. Green

    Ignoring for a minute Obama’s debt-laden, profligate spending, borrowing ~$0.44 from China and elsewhere for every dollar he spends, every dollar confiscated by the government under the rubric of income taxes — Constitutionally illegal until 1913 — is a dollar less Americans have available to charitably give to charity, and about $0.60 less that actually goes to charity — allowing for the wasteful bureaucratic bloat that includes the salaries and benefits of government workers that on average are 50-60% higher than private citizens’ wages and benefits, red tape, waste, fraud, and abuse.

    In short, whereas a dollar confiscated by government for benevolence results in $0.60 or less actually going to the needy a dollar voluntarily donated to a GOOD CHARITY results in $0.80 or more actually going to the needy.

    Economics 101.

    “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” — James Madison, Judeo-Christian Deist, founder, father of the Constitution and 4th President of the United States of America

    • Nathan Smart

      Can you please provide some references for your numbers?

  • Marc Kivel

    I come a bit late to the discussion, but for what it is worth…I suppose it would be too much to ask why denominations and/or congregations which have thousands if not millions of members can afford multi-million $ buildings and staff seem to have a problem contracting with a clinic to provide basic healthcare for their membership using an expanded parish nurse model? Second, churches might also want to get into healthy living as a matter of keeping the temple of the body fit to house the Holy Spirit – which would also lessen the cost and demand for more expensive medical/surgical interventions later on. Third, churches might also want to look into the example of gemilut chasidim (Hebrew Free Loan societies) in the Jewish community – making no interest loans to folks so that rather than taking charity they can preserve their dignity while growing their way out of economic hardship? And finally, anyone considered offering potlucks where folks can bring food or offer service or entertainment to build community and keep the needy contributing and seen?

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A Year of Biblical Womanhood: Playful, Earnest God-Wrestling with Rachel Held Evans

BY: MORGAN GUYTON -- As an evangelical Christian growing up in the deep South, Rachel Held Evans was surrounded...

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