Private Philanthropy is Bad for Socialism

By Thomas E. Brewton

The New York Times is distressed that private philanthropists can give money to any charity they choose.

Only a socialistic Federal government is capable, says the Times, of making wise decisions about dispensing money to achieve social justice.

The flip side of American private largess is the stinginess of the public sector. Philanthropic contributions in the United States — about $300 billion in 2006 — probably exceed those of any other country. By contrast, America’s tax take is nearly the lowest in the industrial world. Federal, state and local tax collections amount to just more than 25.5 percent of the nation’s economic output. The Finnish government collects 48.8 percent. As a result, the United States spends less on social programs than virtually every other rich industrial country, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Finnish government probably has money to build children’s health clinics.

Critics of government spending argue that America’s private sector does a better job making socially necessary investments. But it doesn’t. Public spending is allocated democratically among competing demands. Rich benefactors can spend on anything they want, and they tend to spend on projects close to their hearts.

The real point, of course, is not that private philanthropists misplace their donations. The point is to move the United States farther toward what Hilaire Belloc called The Servile State and Friedrich Hayek called The Road to Serfdom.

True socialism of the kind lovingly promoted by the New York Times requires that all economic resources of the nation be collectively controlled by government ownership or by regulation.

Social justice being defined as equality of income, the Federal government must roughly double income taxes to bring the United States up to par with other socialist nations.

The Democratic Party's presidential candidates, all liberal- progressive-socialists, have not explicitly acknowledged that goal, but Senator Hillary Clinton's recent pronouncements make clear the direction in which she intends to head if elected.

Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc.

The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776

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