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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Forced Charity Is Unlawful and Immoral

Walter Williams reminds us that 9-17 is Constitution Day. He also reminds us of the intent of the Constitution: To lay out a framework of government holding very limited powers, especially regarding spending on entitlements and pork (what Madison called “objects of public benevolence”).

Williams gives examples of comments by Madison, Jefferson and subsequent presidents to deny public funding of relief to various victims and needy Americans. He quotes both Madison and Jefferson:

Thomas Jefferson…[wrote] "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."

James Madison explained the constitutional limits on federal power in Federalist Paper No. 45: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . [to] be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce."

What Americans do not grasp is that the federal spending comes from taxes. And taxes are coerced from each of us at the threat of imprisonment. Therefore, the spending should go to only limited areas proscribed by the Constitution. However, we are forced to contribute to “charity” that we may not approve (ones that work directly against our personal interests) or that we deem a low priority compared to other needs we may choose to fund. By the government taxing and spending outside of the Constitutionally limited areas of “war and peace”, the government substitutes its ideas of what we should contribute to rather than where the actual money owners choose to spend or not spend it.

Where is the greater good from allowing citizens to retain more of their property?

After paying the salaries and benefits of the government bureaucrats who dole out the proceeds, what gets to the needy is a small percentage of the gross amount. Meanwhile, charity is an individual choice. We are closer to God when we voluntarily provide for the needy. It is not God’s work to pass a law and force all taxpayers to contribute to your personal pet project. It is the opposite of God’s work.

Let people hold onto 90% of their gross income and watch the level of charitable giving increase. And what benefits flow from those citizens who merely place their extra cash in the bank? The good from that is that banks will use the money to provide capital for the financing of businesses and increase employment and wealth for all Americans. Not a bad benefit.

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