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I will answer Karen Owen's challenge ["Compassion and the right: WWCD?" Viewpoints, Nov. 24].
Let's define charity: It is the free-will act of giving. Charity is not giving through forced taxation. An example of the former is giving to a private charity. A good charity gives more than 90 cents of the donated dollar to the actual cause. An example of the latter is that in 1964 the poverty rate was 19 percent. After spending $15 trillion, it is now 15 percent. In 2012, we spent $61,830 per poor family of three. Between nine cents and 23 cents of a dollar taxed goes to the needy.
Private charities are junk if less than eight cents goes to the cause. Therein lies why so many people have a problem. Government is wasteful and inefficient. There would be more good done if people kept more of their own money and gave to whatever cause they felt most passionate about.
Here are potential broad solutions. Medicare can be solved through health savings accounts that can act like 529 plans. Growth is tax-free as long as the use is for medical expenses. Wind down Social Security by giving people treasuries for the amount they have put into the system. Individuals can save more for themselves.
The facts show that four times more benefit to the needy is possible. The richer of us secure our own future and have more to give.
Americans give more to charities than anyone else. Capitalize on this, and the money will be more effective.