For true compassion & charity, vote NO on Boulder Ballot Issue 1A

Boulder County Ballot Issue 1A would increase property taxes for “county human services programs and for contracts with non-profit agencies maintaining a safety net for families and children in Boulder County.”

Support for measures convinces me that supporters of tax-funded and operated charities really do not care about the causes they supposedly support. Rather, supporting government charities are a way to shirk the responsibility to make sure your charitable donations is spent wisely. It’s more like phony compassion and making the appearance that you care. As I <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-t-schwartz/questioning-your-compassi_b_574030.html” target=”_blank”>wrote at the Huffington Post:

Why does being compassionate mean supporting government-run schools and health plans (or charitable causes)? This makes little sense if you view these programs as government-run charities. Would you agree to perpetually donate a portion of your monthly income to the same charity – regardless of its effectiveness? If the charity is doing a lousy job, wouldn’t you want the freedom to find a better one?

By supporting government-run charities like Medicaid and tax-funded schools, you relinquish this freedom. You could try to improve their performance through the political process. But this is grossly inefficient and ineffective compared to using on-line charity rating services to find a charity that deserves your donations.

Compulsory charity is also unfair:

Every dollar taxpayers must “donate” to government charities is one less dollar for voluntary charities. Is this fair?  Increased taxes to fund the welfare state have historically crowded out private donations. Why not let each taxpayer choose the charity?

I propose charity tax credits as an alternative to forcing everyone to donate to the same charity. For more on this, read the whole article: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-t-schwartz/questioning-your-compassi_b_574030.html” target=”_blank”>Questioning Your “Compassionate” Politics.

Also see my article in the Daily Camera about a similar measure, the so-called “Worthy Cause Tax,” which was on the 2008 ballot. It begins:

Would you call the police on someone who didn’t donate to a charity that you consider to be a “worthy cause”?  If not, then you should oppose County Issue 1B in this November’s election, which would extend the so-called “Worthy Cause” sales tax.  This tax is immoral — regardless of how worthy the causes are. It is compulsory charity, or charity at gun-point. It is intolerant to people’s values and unfair to charities that must earn our donations. It undermines both the responsibility of donors and the accountability of non-profits that receive forced donations.

Read more:  “Worthy Cause” Tax, It’s Not Your Penny to Give.

Remember, the issue is not whether these programs are good and worthwhile.  It’s about choice, freedom, and responsibility.  If you think they do a good job, donate to them on your own and tell others about the programs you like. Don’t ask government to force everyone else to donate to the same causes you do.

So may object that “we all benefit” from what some charities or government programs do. But this does not mean government should force us to finance them. After all, we benefit when other drivers have good brakes on their cars and trucks, but this doesn’t mean we should pay for them.

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Filed under ethics, public policy

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