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‘Tis the Season, to Shame the Welfare State

Private charity has proven time and time again it is much more competent in helping the needy than government programs.

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By Addie Mae Villas | USA

With the holiday spirit filling the air, benevolence and well doing fills the minds of many people around the world. Driving them to do good and help their fellow brothers and sisters. With charities becoming more and more popular, it is a grand time to evaluate their effectiveness and compare them to the government-run social programs. As many people know, welfare is ineffective and only harms the people it is intended to help, so why are charities so much more beneficial? It’s simple, they aren’t run and controlled by the government and bureaucrats.

To begin with, let’s look at the status of charity in the world. Currently, the United States is ranked fifth in the world for charity by the World Giving Index, founded by the Charities Aid Foundation. This is the lowest ranking since 2011 and caused the US to shift four positions. Although it may appear second-rate that the US dropped so far, it is still ranked highly in the categories of helping a stranger and monetary donations. But, looking at the larger picture, charities have been thriving around the world and is often the focal point of many people’s lives. One can turn to religion for this fact. The World Giving Index stated that Myanmar was the most charitable for the reason of religion. The overwhelming majority of Myanmar, 87.9% to be exact, follow the Buddhist religion. Buddhism has always had an emphasis on charity, and consider generosity to be a paramita or perfection. Buddhism is not the only religion that holds charity near their heart. One can easily look to the Abrahamic religions for a focus on charity. Christianity demonstrates tithing in the Old Testament and the various verses, such as 2 Corinthians 9:7 and Proverbs 19:17. Islam also focuses on charity with the Zakat, stated in the Quran as an obligation to give 2.5% of Nisab to those in need. Finally, Judaism has Tzedakah which has Jews donate at least ten percent of their income to charity. Even the Libertarian Party has a role with charity as stated in The Libertarian Mind “A libertarian society is marked b widespread charity undertaken as a result of personal benevolence, not left to state coercion.” As shown, charities have ties to a major part of many of people’s lives.

Seeing that giving is so important to so many people, charities are able to get funds and thrive in the free market. Nonprofits normally have small staffs, and provide minimal compensation for their employees, ensuring that the funds are used for the charity work. With government programs, they are often overstaffed and paid far more than their charity counterparts. John Chubb once investigated the New York City government and one of their social programs which employed more than 50 employees for one service compared to the Catholic Archdiocese which had just 26 employees. The other reason why charities succeed so much more than the government is that they have the motivation to do good. Since they always rely on donations, they have an obligation to do well. As compared to government-run social programs that function off the dollars of the American people through taxes. Since they will always have a steady income from tax dollars, they have no incentive to perform at their best, and most of the time they only function at a speed that gets them by. In the end, charities always outperform the government because of the silent hand of the free market.

Although we have no choice in how the government takes our money and uses it for ineffective programs. We can, however, choose to donate to charities, just take a look at the various volunteer organizations that have received a perfect score from the Charity Navigator. Have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season, and remember the holidays are not the only time that we should be in the giving spirit and supporting charities, one of the best ways to combat the welfare state.

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  1. I think a lot of charity donations are made to avoid paying a larger amount in taxes. So, it is not clear how much people actually want to donate, if nothing is forcing them to do so.

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