The Freeman's Burden:

To defend the principles of human liberty; to educate; to be vigilant against the ever expanding power of the state.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

From the Cato Daily Dispatch

Private Charities, Not Government, to the Rescue

"Former President Bill Clinton on Monday said the government 'failed' the thousands of people who lived in coastal communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and said a federal investigation was warranted in due time," reports.

"He and former President George H. W. Bush have launched the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund to help raise money for those left homeless by the storm."

In "Civil Society to the Rescue," Michael Tanner, Cato's director of health and welfare studies, observes, "Private charities have been more successful than government welfare has at actually helping people for several reasons.

"[Perhaps most importantly], private charity requires a different attitude on the part of both recipients and donors. Recipients learn that private charity is not an entitlement but a gift carrying reciprocal obligations. Donors learn that private charity demands they become directly involved. There is no compassion in spending someone else's money--even for a good cause. True compassion depends on personal involvement.

"Thus private charity is ennobling for everyone involved, both those who give and those who receive. Government welfare ennobles no one."

Cato's Handbook on Congress states: "Any time there is a natural disaster FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is trotted out as an example of how well government programs work. In reality, by using taxpayer dollars to provide disaster relief and subsidized insurance, FEMA itself encourages Americans to build in disaster-prone areas and makes the rest of us pick up the tab for those risky decisions. In a well-functioning private marketplace, individuals who chose to build houses in flood plains or hurricane zones would bear the cost of the increased risk through higher insurance premiums. FEMA's activities undermine that process. Americans should not be forced to pay the cost of rebuilding oceanfront summer homes. This $4 billion a year agency should be abolished."


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