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Friday, May 9, 2008

A Generous Hyprocrisy

I was thinking today about some of the issues which, on the surface, I seem to have in common with Democrats. I care deeply about the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the underprivileged. I want desperately to help these people, to see their lives transformed. And these are issues that are similarly close to the hearts of many Democrats.

Take Barack Obama, for example. He’s proposed giving billions of dollars in aid money to nations in poverty around the world. Wow, what a guy! What extreme generosity, you might think.

Think again. I have no problem with wanting to help those in need around the world. In fact, it’s one of the main things I want to do with my life. But where I differ with Obama is our respective methods for so doing. You see, I want to give my money to those in need. I don’t need the government to force me to do it. I don’t want my money to be taken in the form of higher taxes, put through the bureaucracy of the government and given to causes I may or may not believe in, by means that may or may not be effective. Let me keep my money to be used at my discretion! I’m the one who worked to earn it. Why should the government dictate how I spend it? I’ve spent too much time overseas watching our aid money line the pockets of corrupt leaders in the nations we’re trying to help, thereby increasing their oppressive rule in these countries. But I’ve seen lives changed forever by individuals and private organizations using resources freely given to truly help people in need.

It sounds so noble of Obama to propose such generous foreign aid, until one looks at his personal giving record, that is. The national average for charitable giving is approximately 2.2 percent of household income. I was shocked by how low this number is. And yet Obama’s tax returns show that he was well below that mark in years prior to 2005. Now I’m not condemning the Obamas for their giving record. I believe it’s a personal choice to give or not to give. What I have a problem with is the fact that while Obama clearly doesn’t care enough about the needy to help them himself, he wants to take my money to do it.

I am all for extreme generosity. But I don’t think this falls within the government’s scope of responsibility. I believe this is a responsibility given by God to the church and the individual. Apparently, Mr. Obama and I differ dramatically on this point.

5 comments:

Nathan Talbot said...

First let me say I agree wholeheartedly with your post. A couple of things stood out to me.

One you said you don't want your money to be taken in the form of higher taxes and put through the government bureaucracy. This is key because even a cursery glance at the bureaucracy shows us that only a small portion of that money will actually be spent on worthwhile causes. The government is so wasteful when it comes to funds it is criminal.

Second you pointed out that it is not the governments responsibility to be demanding charity in the form of billions of dollars of taxes, and that is absolutely correct. What this proposed program really is is socialism. It is redistribution of wealth. It is another tax that will fall upon the shoulders of the middle class. Once again the democrats disguise socialism with feel good rhetoric. It is empty and feelings based politics pandering for votes. Obama is very good at that. It is sad so many people buy it.

Kacey said...

Nathan,

You're exactly right--it is socialism. You hit the nail on the head in saying it's "feelings based politics pandering for votes."

Jaz said...

great post! it's hard to get this point through people's minds:

giving should be voluntary and not compulsory.

time and again i hear people say (christian or not), "well, people don't care about their neighbor so the government has to do it." though i don't think it's evil to say that or think it, i do think people tend to not see how that is extremely detrimental. obviously, money gets tied up in bureaucratic blackholes and somehow funneled to less than above-board characters, but it creates once again a bad pattern of giving up the ability that has been given to us to a governing body.

we can't continue to turn around on so many different and leave it up to the government. it's not their fault that people suffer in the world and it's not their responsibility to take from us to give to others. it's our responsibility to see what's going on in the world and to react accordingly if we feel so compelled.

it always sounds cute to have the government send more and more aid to others, but it should be done the right way. if not it is just another sanitized form of socialism that we seem to never catch because the ipod is always in our ear....speaking of which, i gotta go listen to that new mariah....

Kelley said...

Hey Jaz... why not that new Tye Tribbett feat. Jon Owens... on itunes NOW... (shameless plug).

Whitney Cantrell said...

I agree as well, to a point. I think it's a very noble and good thought to help other countries in need, but I don't think higher taxes and socialism is the right way to go about it, necessarily. I can see 2 sides of this argument. On one hand, it's a bit shaky to rely soley on the people's personal willingness to give their money and/or time to help others when there is SO many in need in this world. On the other hand, the way foreign aid is funnelled through to the people who really need it is probably very shaky as well, like you pointed out. If we were all truly a giving society this wouldn't be a problem. Although, I don't beleive it's necesarily our job (as a government) to aid foreign countries in need. This is a tough piece of jerky to chew on for me;)