Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You're too mean to give to charity so government has to tax you to do it instead

I just listened to an interview on NewsTalk 1370 WSPD with Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern.

When morning show host Fred Lefebvre used his board operator, Don Zellars, as an example of someone who wants to know why he has to pay for other people's homes and food while struggling to pay for his own, Redfern's comment was that Don must feel really good inside knowing he's helping so many people.

Redfern explained that America needs to tax people to provide charitable services through the government because, without forcing people through taxation, most Americans wouldn't help take care of the 'least among us.' When Fred pointed out that Don would be happy to help 'the least among us' if government weren't taking so much of his money first, Redfern said:

"I suspect Don would, but unfortunately, most Americans would not - and if we remove that kind of support, strategem, then you remove the entire reason for having any kind of projects, programs, initiatives..."


Here is the chairman of a state political party who thinks government needs to take money by force from you and give it to others because you can't be trusted to do what he thinks is the 'right' thing with your funds. And if they didn't take your money and, instead, relied upon you for charitable actions taking care of your fellow man, there'd be no reason for the government program to exist. Duh! Isn't that the point?

America is the most charitable nation on the earth. We are the ones who give millions of dollars to charities - voluntarily - and who speed to provide material and funds whenever a tragedy hits here or in another country. Interestingly, conservatives are more likely to give money, time, etc... than liberals. Perhaps that's why Redfern thinks it needs to be forced - because he knows his fellow liberals, not Americans in general, won't donate?

Of course, Redfern tries to justify the concept by equating taxation for spending on charitable functions with taxation for national defense and police/fire protection locally. Not surprisingly, he fails to grasp the concept of statutory authority and limited government. That national defense is a Constitutional authority but paying for another's housing or food is not is conveniently ignored. Instead, Redfern advocates the concept that government - specifically a Barack Omaba government - better knows how to spend your money than you do.

In February 1887, President Grover Cleveland, upon vetoing a bill appropriating money to aid drought-stricken farmers in Texas, said:

"I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and the duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit.
The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."

In 1854, after vetoing a popular appropriation to assist the mentally ill, President Franklin Pierce said:

"I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity."
(to approve such spending) "would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded."

James Madison, the father of our constitution, irate over a $15,000 congressional appropriation to assist some French refugees, said:

"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."

(source for quotes)

And there is the "Not Yours To Give" story of Colonel David Crockett, who reminded Congress:

"I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money."

Our founding fathers would be appalled - and we should be, too!


Tim Higgins said...


Mr. Redfern is right! (well kind of anyway) Left to our own devices, we would probably not give money to all of the people that the government gives it to today, and we would not give for as long. We would probably be much more insistent on personal repsonsibility for those accepting our largesse. We would ask that those who can, attempt to wean themselves off of such generousity over time. We would be more careful over who qualified for these gifts.

We would likewise not be giving money to businesses like farmers and oil companies to perform their functions. We would not fund buildings, bridges, and studies in the name of self-serving politicians. Neither would we give our hard earned money to art or education that promotes values which we violently oppose.

We would however, generously reward those institutions that perform the necessary support for those not able to support themselves. We would fund (as we already do) religous and sectarian groups who efficiently help the needy without high-priced bureaucracy and overwhelming paperwork.

We would do what Americans have always done (and which Mr Redfern seems to have forgotten), provide opportunity for a decent life for all, with a guarantee of it to none.

Jay Ott said...

By definition, charity is goodwill, benevolent, generosity,love toward others.

These virtues cannot be imposed by force upon people through government's taxation policies/legislation.

Well, they could impose them, but they would no longer be virtues.

If that's Redfern's goal, then he twists the meaning of charity to suit his own needs and purpose.

This is just another form of the "lipstick on the pig" syndrome.

The act of giving is an outward expression of one's personal, internal outlook on life. What people believe determines what people do, not the reverse.

The government's use of force to get people to give freely of their hard-earned dollars, goes against everything charity means and stands for.

Force is not goodwill, it's not benevolent, it's not generous, and it is certainly not very loving toward fellow human beings who they claim they care so much about.

Those who really care do not rely on extortion, they pull out their own wallets.

Force also goes against one's individual freedom to choose what he/she does with his own money/property.

The fundamental problem with liberals such as Redfern, is their view that an individual's meaning, purpose and value in life is extrinsically based on what he/she owns.

If the government and politicians really cared, they would have the view of the founding fathers that "all men are created equal endowed with certain unalienable rights" rather than trying to re-create a society in their own image just to get votes so they hold onto power.

Redfern's argument is not much different than some governments who force a certain religion on it's own citizens.

Robin said...

I think most Americans are willing to give to charity and do so. The problem is that the need overwhelms the support, and that is where the government steps in.

Although, I think a lot of social programs have gotten out of hand. They are only supposed to be temporary solutions.

It would be nice if we could rely more on charity programs and do away with the government programs.

I find it interesting that people in the lower income bracket give more than people who have higher incomes.

Frank said...

Are we still in the United States of America or the former Soviet Union???
It is this mentality that Mr Redfern has that thinks we would be better off if the government ran everything under the sun. If I choose to give to an organization or individual that I want to support, then so be it. The government does not support some of the beliefs that I have and left to their devices totally, we could be living in a Godless society (which is very similar to the former USSR).

Brian said...

Part of the problem we have today, and Redfern typifies it, is that we, the citizenry, fail to grasp the idea that taxing one’s wages is morally wrong. Through the 16th Amendment and further through the New Deal we have come to believe that your private property is not private; and the population, through the elected representation, can take a portion of that property at anytime and as they see fit. Sadly too many Republicans believe the same!

We have allowed government to take from our wages even before its get deposited into our bank account. I say that that is a form of slavery. If we take away this facet of government control, then I believe the Redferns of this country will quietly become a disturbing chapter of our past. But until we begin to understand and teach this moral truth, the Redferns and Obamas will still be peddling their socialism.

Carol said...


I know Chris Redfern, I know his attitudes and his beliefs. And I know he is wrong.

Forced charity is not productive. It creates resentment, animosity, and jealousy. It fuels a caste system that is as antiquated as time itself.

We, the people, are aware of our neighbors that need help. We are astute as to the plight of those with less, those that have suffered unimaginable loss. WE get it.

Unfortunately, our government does not. And this is a perpetual problem.

Hooda Thunkit said...


Government, if it feels someone is worthy of charity, should give of their own money.

Oh, that's right, they don't HAVE any money of their own, they use OURS.

When someone becomes "generous' with somebody else's money, they tend to give too much and they tend to give for far too long.

But then, it does buy a whole lot ov votes. . .

navyvet said...

Me thinks the DNC boss should change his name to:


Google Analytics Alternative