Stingy v Generous

Correlation is not causality, but something is going on. My theory is that liberalism hurts charity and volunteerism because liberals try to professionalize everything, put paid experts in charge & regulate. They can be hostile to self-help and volunteerism because it takes away from government.

In places with strong unions, it can be illegal for citizen's groups to clean up parks or volunteer in schools. Where it is not actually illegal, they pile on regulations and rules that discourage it.

I was surprised to learn that Central Park in NYC is run by a private foundation, the Central Park Conservancy. That is why it is so nice and well maintained. I was even more surprised to learn that there was controversy about it. Some pinheads actually opposed the help that this organization was offering. This is the type of attitude I am talking about.

I recall reading in a biography of Ben Franklin that the King's authorities did not like the various volunteer organizations he founded. To them, he was usurping the prerogatives of the government and they were right. Free people do for themselves in ways that make them less dependent on the caprices of the authorities.

Anyway, the data is interesting about giving and volunteering. Volunteering is one of the great things about America. We do it more than any other country. It is why we don't need such big government's as most others. We should make sure to maintain this great tradition.

Posted by Christine & John at January 3, 2014 9:04 PM
Comment #375431

If I had to put money on it I’d say it’s more about religious values than it is about political ideology. Gallup recently found that the more often folks attend church the more likely they are to be involved in volunteer work. Many of these red states are strongholds for evangelical Christianity.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 6, 2014 1:38 PM
Comment #375432


My theory is that you have hammered this particular nail so many times that perhaps even the most conservative of your fellow conservative philanthropist buddies are tired of it.
I mean where are all of the “red” Staters stepping up to crow about their collective grooviness?

As for your Central Park Conservancy “controversy”, perhaps you were just as surprised to find out that there are other parks in NYC that aren’t bordered on all sides by multimillion dollar tenements, and perhaps these neighborhood parks could use a bit of sprucing up as well, but aren’t supported by private foundations.

Jack, is it really philanthropy if the recipient doesn’t truly need the donation?

Just saying.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at January 6, 2014 2:15 PM
Comment #375436

Ah yes Adam Ducker, the old chicken and the egg scenario; were the evangelicals religious first and became conservatives, or were they conservatives who became religious?

Posted by: Treehugger at January 6, 2014 3:22 PM
Comment #375437

C&J, you really get down in the weeds with some of your posts. I like to debate issues that have major impact on the country as a whole’ corpocracy, inequality, ACA, SS and so on - -

Like in today’s WaPo an article relates that 6 or 8 states have teamed with the corpocracy in establishing ‘trusts’ for the wealthy to get around estate tax laws. The article relates that such estate laws go all the way back to England in the early 1800’s as they recognized that it wasn’t a good thing for wealth to carry over through one family generation after generation. But, what with the NWO coming on it seems we can do away with all the old world thinking, etc.

But, back to your post. There must be hundreds of clean and nice ‘parks’ around the country that are funded by non-gov’t entities. And, the rub between private and gov’t work forces is nothing new. And, I’m sure that, even today, there are cities where you need to be a dem or a rep to snap up a good city/county job.

A similar example would be; monopolies and conglomerates are encouraged, often to the point of doing harm to the community. A WaPo article today relates that a foreign multinational Watch maker, Swatch’ has a monopoly on watch parts. Their parts mfctring facility in the states had some fire damage and now other watch mfctrs/assemblers are hard pressed to find parts for their products.

We often see where private groups will start some program and once its up and running they push it off on gov’t/taxpayers to maintain and support the operation.

As to charitable giving I am amazed that people will give to any cause and give without knowledge or vetting of the recipient. I might give to the ‘Red Cross’ but I might not give to the ‘Green Floagai’, etc. I’ve no doubt that some of those who have established ‘trusts’ as noted above, are also great givers to charity. One wonders what percent of charitable giving is done solely to enhance the ‘persona’ of the giver, etc.

I agree that gov’t is way to large but do recognize that without gov’t aid the pensioner or orphan in the maldives might have a harder time of it. Must be some millions of people around the mideast being helped with foreign aid, UN aid and so on - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 6, 2014 4:29 PM
Comment #375438
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. B. Franklin

Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and James Madison would be tarred and feathered by today’s progressives as being Right Wing nutjobs…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2014 4:53 PM
Comment #375440

“Volunteering is one of the great things about America.”

I agree. And, one should not confuse paying their taxes with any kind of charitable giving.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 6, 2014 6:02 PM
Comment #375441


“is it really philanthropy if the recipient doesn’t truly need the donation?” Yes, it is. Philanthropy is designed to build institutions that help mankind, as the root of the word suggests.

Some aspects of Christian charity tells us to help the most needy. Those who share that religious belief will presumably give money and time differently.


Please see above. I agree that much of charity is connected with Christian religious belief.


Re the “corpocracy” I generally like many aspects of what you call corporcracy. I don’t like its corruptions, but things like limited liability corporations are essential to progress.

Public-private partnership are useful when properly used. It is one of the places where many liberals and conservatives agree, but I suppose it is in this juncture that you find corpocracy.

Posted by: CJ at January 6, 2014 7:07 PM
Comment #375442

The Rockefeller Foundation provided the seed money to restore Colonial Williamsburg. What a great gift to our nation for this wonderful place in which one can almost revisit colonial times.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 6, 2014 7:27 PM
Comment #375443

C&J, some informative reads on CP. The fact that CP is fraudlent law should supercede all other opinions re CP, IMO.

((People who believe in the rule of law should read the above url. A few lines are quoted here:))

“”Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Today
And there it sits. It permeates the literature, waiting for rediscovery by
every fresh crop of Supreme Court clerks. We mean that counterfeit precedent of
corporate personhood, re-minted and passed off as genuine by generation upon
generation of constitutional law professors, even now. From a present day authority
on constitutional law: “In 1886, in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad
Company, the Supreme Court held that corporations fell within the protections of
the Fourteenth Amendment. The Chief Justice, Morrison Waite, waved off lawyers
who would have debated the issue, saying the Court was unanimously of the opinion
that ‘the Fourteenth Amendment … applies to these corporations’.” (Friedman,
In truth, corporations have no rights under the Constitution or its
amendments. However, their constitutional rights as granted by the Supreme Court
have multiplied like rabbits since the Santa Clara decision in 1886, and the end is not
in sight.
In theory, the Court could put things right by treating the precedential use of
Santa Clara as reversible error. As the Court made and compounded this mess, why
should it not clean it up? Nevertheless, such action by the present Court seems
most unlikely. Perhaps it could be prompted to act by a state legislature prepared to
pass an amendment to the state constitution that expressly denies to corporations
the constitutional protections of the Fourteenth Amendment. Vermont comes to
A citizen initiative, already under way, could move for such an amendment to
the U.S. Constitution (see The Constitution permits, but
cannot be said to encourage, this avenue of reform. Article 5 spells out two
alternative routes to a proposal. First, Congress shall propose such an amendment
when approved by 2/3 of both houses. Alternatively, if 2/3 of the state legislatures
apply, Congress shall call a convention to propose amendments. As Congressional
campaigns already live on corporate wealth, it will be hard to persuade 2/3 of
Congress to vote against a corporate interest so entwined with its own, namely
reelection. The second alternative seems no more promising, unless state
legislatures be less susceptible than Congress to the corrosive power of corporate
wealth. It could all come down to which looms larger in the candidate’s imagination,
the voter who feels sold out, or the campaign chest.””

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 6, 2014 9:10 PM
Comment #375444


After reading your links, I am even more convinced that we need to protect corporations. Your second link, for example, would like to a fascist state, since it would stripe away almost all intermediary organizations that stand between government and individuals. I know that might sound appealing in theory, but in practice it make us all equally weak against the only remaining strong entity.

There are abuses of corporate law, as with all law. But generally, the ability to incorporate is a good thing. Limited liability corporations are essential for the working of a democratic free market.

Posted by: CJ at January 6, 2014 9:41 PM
Comment #375455

Another bogus right wing article. Charity never has, and never can reach all people in need of assistance. THat is precisely why government has a role to play where we, as a society, express our empathy for those less fortunate through no fault of their own, and in many cases, even where the unfortunate erred into need for assistance. Everyone errs.

The huge difference between private sector charity and government assistance, is that private charity can and has to pick and choose who it assists based on maximizing its assistance for the largest number in need. Government programs for sound non-discriminatory reasons, are obligated to assist all those in need meeting the assistance criteria. No picking and choosing between urban need and rural need, rural need costing more to deliver assistance to. The fact is, rural Republican strongholds cost more to assist residents in need, than in urban areas. Government should not choose to assist urban dwellers and not assist rural dwellers in need on the basis of cost of delivery of assistance per capita in that geographic area.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, understanding this, that 45% of Republican voters want to see the minimum wage increased, many of those living in rural areas. The American people deserve and need both public and private assistance to maintain a minimum and basic standard of living. They deserve it, because a great many of those in need today, will contribute to others in need after their circumstances improve. The American people need assistance because our economy is less than perfect and often brings harm to American citizen’s living standards through no fault of their own. I for one am proud of paying my taxes to assist others in addition to making private sector donations as well. I do this because I can and I derive enormous benefits from being a free person living in America, where the public/private sector partnerships to elevate the standard of living for us all are a proud American tradition. One which many libertarians and Republicans wish to do away with, if their rhetoric is to be believed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 7, 2014 3:21 PM
Comment #375464


When government gives money, it is a policy choice. Nobody can be generous with other people’s money.

I believe in the efficacy of government when properly deployed. Government has a role to play in creating conditions so that the people can create prosperity.

The problem comes when government gets too complex and unruly. We saw in the 1960s and 1970s misguided attempts of government to alleviate poverty that made poverty worse and added an element of underclass violence. They had to tear down those massive government housing complexes that became breeding grounds for misery and welfare reform did more for the poor than anything else in recent times.

So I am very much in favor of helping the poor. Many government programs that attempt to do that do not do the job, basically because they do not curb and sometimes even encourage that bad habits and behaviors that caused poverty in the first place.

Re your example of urban and rural - it depends. There are costs associated with lifestyle choices. A person who chooses to live in a rural area will have to expect to miss out on some of the services available in a denser populated area. You cannot expect mass transit to reach one person 100 miles from town. On the other hand, rural living gives advantages to those who choose to live there.

Re minimum wage - again, it is a policy choice. In some ways it is good, since it eliminates the demand for low-cost labor, as firms figure out ways to automate. It is bad for the same reasons. Some workers just don’t add enough value to justify higher wages.

Personally, I like the idea of raising wages high enough to eliminate jobs like those guys with leaf blowers and lots of other low skilled noisy jobs. But not so many people who advocate raising the minimum wage see that as a benefit.

Posted by: CJ at January 7, 2014 8:23 PM
Comment #375469
Charity never has, and never can reach all people in need of assistance.

And neither can Government ‘help’…

Today is the 50th anniversary of the War On Poverty.

[W]hen LBJ declared the war, the U.S. economy was surging and the poverty rate had already declined from 22.4 percent in 1959, the earliest year available from the Census. Between 1965 and 2012, the national poverty rate has stubbornly averaged 13.6 percent per year and it has never fallen below 11.1 percent.

During the current economic downturn, the poverty rate was 15.1 percent in 2010, and 15 percent in 2011 and 2012 (the last year for which Census data is available). That’s the highest it’s been in a three-year span since 1964, and it means a stunning 46.5 million people are still living in poverty half a century later.

It’s fair to argue that had it not been for the social safety net programs, the poverty rate would likely have been higher. But it’s also worth keeping in mind the staggering cost of social welfare programs. In fiscal year 2011, the federal government alone spent $746 billion on anti-poverty programs, according to an October 2012 report from the Congressional Research Service.

Doing some math… 746 billion divided by 300 million equals roughly 2500 per person living in the US…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 8, 2014 4:17 PM
Comment #375472

C&J, guess you forgot your CIVICS 101 when you said: “Nobody can be generous with other people’s money. “

When we pay our taxes, it is no longer OUR money, but, the American people’s money, which is how our society pays for its freedom, prosperity, domestic peace and orderly processes. There are other models for funding government in the world, but, taxes remain the best model for democracies. The question taxpayers rightly deserve an answer to, is whether or not Tax Revenues are being used toward the ends of freedom, prosperity, domestic peace, and orderly processes. If the answer is not, tax payers should be voting out their incumbent and electing a challenger more likely to use taxes to meet those objectives. For disapproving voters, it is nuts to vote to reelect and incumbent, since, that incumbent either had the wrong agenda or failed to persuade colleagues toward the correct agenda. Either way, the incumbent failed that voter’s expectation for results from government. The political parties in office have one superordinate objective, and that is to dissuade disappointed voters from voting them out. They have gotten so good at it, that they have come very close to fooling all the people all of the time over many election cycles. Then the people wake up and there is a change in the Party majorities. But, change in government is not so easily achieved when voters fail to hold representatives accountable for results.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2014 6:12 PM
Comment #375473

Rhinehold, right. Which is why I wrote of the proud tradition of public and private partnerships, which can, together, dramatically increase the reach of assistance toward all who need it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2014 6:14 PM
Comment #375475

C&J, those with bad habits don’t come close to accounting for the size of poverty and required government and charitable assistance. Any attempt to aid the unfortunate will attract leaches, but, that is no reason to refuse to assist those in need through no fault of their own. Leaches can be addressed separately in the laws of dispensation. And are, to varying degrees of success depending upon lawmakers intelligence levels and willingness to exert the effort to see the big picture of their actions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 8, 2014 6:20 PM
Comment #375484
When we pay our taxes, it is no longer OUR money, but, the American people’s money, which is how our society pays for its freedom, prosperity, domestic peace and orderly processes.

That’s some BS if ever I’ve heard it… ‘Once we take your money, it isn’t your money anymore’. It was at one point though, and it was taken, by force, by the only organization that can legally do that. What happens after it or who is the ‘owner’ of it once it is taken by force is irrelevant…

There are other models for funding government in the world, but, taxes remain the best model for democracies.

You say this as if it were fact, but in reality it is just your opinion. My opinion is different than yours. User fees are much better ways than income taxation, like the gas tax for example.

which can, together, dramatically increase the reach of assistance toward all who need it.

But *WHY* does any part of the equation require government? What it is that government can do that non-government groups can’t?

those with bad habits don’t come close to accounting for the size of poverty and required government and charitable assistance.

This sounds like one of those IMO statements again, masquerading as some sort of fact. Please, show your work David…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 8, 2014 7:13 PM
Comment #375487


Poverty among married people, who don’t booze or use drugs and work, even at low paying jobs, is almost zero. Habits and behaviors cause poverty. We may say it is not their fault, since they learned those bad habits as children and maybe didn’t have opportunities to learn differently, but the habits and behaviors are still the only things that can have a lasting impact.

I do not advocate government do nothing. But I believe all efforts must be within the context of behaviors. I would rather some people remain poor because of their bad habits than to condemn a greater number to poverty we government policies implicitly condone bad habits and get more people to adopt them.

Private charities are often more effective than government because they can more easily discriminate on the basis of behavior. We should treat unequal behaviors unequally.

Posted by: CJ at January 8, 2014 7:31 PM
Comment #375489

We should treat unequal behaviors unequally.
Posted by: CJ at January 8, 2014 7:31 PM

Zounds…good one C/J. And, it’s not even unconstitutional.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 8, 2014 7:47 PM
Comment #375584

C&J said: “The problem comes when government gets too complex and unruly. We saw in the 1960s and 1970s misguided attempts of government to alleviate poverty that made poverty worse and added an element of underclass violence.”

Man, what country are talking about, because your comment is a contradiction to reality in the U.S. The U.S. government’s war on poverty was an enormous success in the 1970’s, only to be undone by Reagan and Bush, Clinton and the 2nd Bush. Poverty was cut in half by end of the 1970’s thanks to both LBJ and Nixon and Carter. You must be getting your information from Rush Limbaugh.

The National Poverty Center has these statistics, and I quote: “In the late 1950s, the poverty rate for all Americans was 22.4 percent, or 39.5 million individuals. These numbers declined steadily throughout the 1960s, reaching a low of 11.1 percent, or 22.9 million individuals, in 1973. Over the next decade, the poverty rate fluctuated between 11.1 and 12.6 percent, but it began to rise steadily again in 1980. By 1983, the number of poor individuals had risen to 35.3 million individuals, or 15.2 percent.”

If you are a good contemporary Republican, you will refute these facts with fantasy. If on the other hand, you are a rational and educated Republican, you will accept that your source for information is seriously flawed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 10, 2014 5:36 PM
Comment #375591


Poverty dropped from around 22% in 1959 to around 15% in 1965, just before the war on poverty started.

So it dropped around 7% in six years w/o the war on poverty. In the next six years, it dropped to a low of around 12%. In other words, with the programs in place, it dropped only 3%. There is stayed, until is started to go up again in 1978, three years before Reagan took office, under a Democratic president and Democratic congress. Poverty rate was 14% when Reagan took office. He cannot be blamed for any of that. It peaked in 1983 and then went down again. by Reagan’s fifth year, poverty rate was exactly the same as when he took office. By comparison, poverty is higher now than when Obama took over.

So you just have not properly interpreted the facts. You got your comparison laws wrong. Take a look at the real numbers at the CR report from this year,d.cWc

These are the facts - poverty dropped MORE in the six years before the war on poverty than ever after.

Poverty rate drops stopped in the 1970s and began to rise BEFORE Reagan took office. The rate was 14% in the year Reagan took over.

The rate was 11.1% in 1973 and never went below that again, although around 2000 it was statistically about the same.

Today the rate is around 15%, almost identical to what it was when the war on poverty was declared.

It is hard to get excited about a program that costs trillions of dollars and ends up at the same place after 50 years.

In addition, the war on poverty created social problems that made people more miserable. It did help raise old people from poverty but maybe at the expense of the young. For all the money spent, it looks like a wash.

Posted by: CJ at January 10, 2014 7:17 PM
Comment #375628

C&J, when the economy boons, poverty drops. That is plain. Just as plain is the opposite, when the economy falters, poverty increases. The war on poverty worked by elevating incomes of unemployed and retirees throughout the 1970s, which btw, saw stagflation in frightening proportions. Yet, poverty remained lower in those years, PRECISELY because of the policies enabled under the War on Poverty.

Poverty would be half what it is now, if Republicans hadn’t blocked economic recovery from 2009 onward, which they are still doing today. This is why the GOP’s polling numbers are 7% lower the Democrats, and why there are more Democrats than Republicans today, despite the rapid climb in so-called, independent voters. I have just one thing to say to Republicans on this matter, “Keep it Up”, and the people by a majority, will reject GOP obstructionist and economy defeating legislative actions on a wholesale basis. That will be good for the economy and Americans as a majority.

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Comment #379950

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