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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WHO SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHARITY?

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- The government or the individual?

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I am concerned about our perspective on charity. President Obama seems to believe it is our duty to help others. His mantra is, "We are all in this together." There is only one problem with this concept; some people are givers and some are takers. We are certainly not rowing on the same oar in unison. Consequently, I reject the president's position. This certainly doesn't make me a miser as I have made more than my fair share of volunteer donations over the years and helped many causes. If I believe the person or charity is worthy, and I can afford it, I will gladly help out. As a Mason I am admonished to help others in destitute circumstances if it is within my power. I am also reminded of the passage in Corinthians (13:13, King James), "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

There is nothing in this passage defining how charity is to be implemented. Most people see this as a voluntary act, from one person to another. Others see this as mandated by government and borders on Socialism. In this regard, there are two types of people; those such as myself who consider charity a voluntary act, and; those who believe government is more fit to determine the needs of the people and tax accordingly.

Historically, the moral fiber of the country called for people to work and not become a burden on society. Not surprisingly, concepts such as divorce, bankruptcy, and unemployment were considered a disgrace. Not anymore. Today, such things are considered commonplace, and are celebrated as opposed to bringing shame on the person. Today's moral values are certainly not those of yesteryear, and this is particularly disturbing to those people working hard and being asked to support those who do not.

Over time, the government created safety nets to help people when they either failed or became disabled, such as unemployment and welfare. Some use it as it was intended, others as a loop hole for free money and services. We are all familiar with stories of people exploiting the system. Interestingly, we never seem to hear of violators who have been apprehended and penalized accordingly.

Whereas we used to believe everyone should lead a worthy and productive life, and there is dignity in all forms of legitimate work, today we prefer exploiting the system and becoming a freeloader as exemplified by the Aesop fable, "The Ant and the Grasshopper."

In many cases, exploiting the system is now cause for celebration and a sense of pride, just as any criminal who gets away with an illicit activity.

Instead of creating programs to encourage people to work, the government does the opposite. Compensating people for six months does not encourage them to seek employment any faster, nor does compensating people who do not genuinely seek employment. By taking this tact, the government is encouraging a slave mentality where people become wards of the state. Frankly, I deeply resent seeing our country turn into a welfare state. It is tearing apart the moral fabric of America.

Admittedly, the government is better equipped to deliver mass goods and equipment in times of emergency, such as those disasters caused by Mother Nature. These situations are essentially no different than defending our country through times of military conflict. Under these circumstances, I consider helping those injured by natural disasters no different than going to war.

So, who is more faithful to the concept of altruism, the person who helps when he can, or the government who does it for political purposes (e.g., promising "a chicken in every pot" or a free iPhone, liquor and lobster in every household). Coerced charity certainly does not promote brotherhood. It is simply a redistribution of the wealth.

Charity begins at home (1 Timothy 5:8), not in our government.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHAT DOES CORPORATE 'INFUSION' MEAN? - Or is it a misnomer?

LAST TIME:  ADAPTING TO CHANGE
  - Before we can adapt to it, we have to understand it.

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