When we oppose subsidies, we are charged with opposing the very thing that it was proposed to subsidize and of being the enemies of all kinds of activity, because we want these activities to be voluntary and to seek their proper reward in themselves. Thus, if we ask that the state not intervene, by taxation, in religious matters, we are atheists. If we ask that the state not intervene, by taxation, in education, then we hate enlightenment. If we say that the state should not give, by taxation, an artificial value to land or to some branch of industry, then we are the enemies of property and of labor. If we think that the state should not subsidize artists, we are barbarians who judge the arts useless. — Frederic Bastiat
I’ve posted this quote on Facebook once but never got to dig into it more. One of the things about the socialists / statist-left that irritates me most is the notion that THEY are the only ones that care about people — the hungry, homeless, needy, children, etc. The argument usually goes something like what Bastiat describes above — that if ANYONE opposes the government feeding hungry, homeless children, well it must mean that it is because they are cold and calloused. Moreover, “those people” are usually grouped together with the rich, corporations, greedy Republicans, shysters, conservatives, Christians, Wall Street, the 1%, white, male . . . . you get the idea.
CHARITY is no longer a benevolent, altruistic endeavor when you are taking money, resources, time and energy away from people without their say so. If I don’t have the choice not to participate, there’s another word for that redistribution. It’s COERCION. How Socialists were allowed to declare themselves the champions of caring is beyond me. Fanciful visions of Robin Hood stealing from the greedy Sheriff to feed to downtrodden sets the Socialists’ hearts a flutter. Quips like “the rich can afford it” and “they have too much already” are the mantra of the “Occupy Anyone Else’s Property” movement. What these statists don’t realize is that the government ends up taking not from just the rich but from EVERYONE including the ones they are professing to help.
The plain truth is that TRUE CHARITY, collected from the willing and distributed directly to those in need, is far more efficient, effective, and MUCH less wasteful or open to corruption than a centralized, faceless bureaucracy accountable to no one.
“[Publicwelfare programs] are estimated to absorb about two-thirds of each dollar budgetedto them in overhead costs, and in some cases as much as three-quarters of eachdollar. Using government data, Robert L. Woodson…calculated that, on average,70 cents of each dollar budgeted for government assistance goes not to thepoor, but to the members of the welfare bureaucracy and others serving thepoor….In contrast, administrative andother operating costs in private charities absorb, on average, only one-thirdor less of each dollar donated, leaving the other two-thirds (or more) to be deliveredto recipients.” – James Rolph Edwards, “The Costs of Public IncomeRedistribution and Private Charity,” mises.org/journals/jls/21_2/21_2_1.pdf
Yet despite these facts of how little of government coerced redistribution actual ends up in the hands of the needy, most citizens are content with the status quo. They justify their indifference by telling themselves that something is better than nothing. The socialists have convinced them that they’re doing their part and that if the state didn’t do it, no one would. It’s a self-perpetuating black hole now and it’s growing exponentially.