I’m not gonna go this far, but I’ll get close.
You’d think I’d be all-in for charity.
Helping the poor; doing good deeds; not having the government involved.
Totally in my wheelhouse, all of that.
But there’s a problem with charity.
Well, there are several:
- it’s optional
- it’s only supported by some
- its priorities are set by the wealthy
These are big problems when it comes to the question of how (and even whether) a society supports the worst-off within it.
And by formally supporting it, it lets the State off the hook.
Tax-free charitable contributions mean that the State can claim to be “doing something” and “addressing a problem” without either doing anything or addressing any problems.
Leave it to charity, and claim that was the plan all along.
But we don’t do that for anything we actually care about.
As the radio show I linked to at the top says, you’ll never hear a charity appeal about how you should send in all your box tops so the Army can buy a tank.
(Maybe you should, and some day I’ll write something about how to set up optionally-funded State programs but that day is not today.)
How do we fund things that matter to us?
No one likes taxes, and no one should.
But they’re how we currently get resources from where they are (your bank account maybe?) to where we want them to be (that Army unit that needs a tank).
Taxes may not be the best way to do this (they’re not) and we may not manage very fairly how much each of us contributes via taxes (we don’t; see Tax This: All Taxes Should Be Progressive), but taxes are currently how we support the things that actually matter to us as a society.
So stop giving to charities and start voting for State-supported safety net programs.
And repeal the tax-free and tax-exempt status of charities.