Philanthropy Promotes Small Government

Philanthropy Promotes Small Government

The Radionian
By Ashton Pittman, Opinions Editor
May 2010, Volume 86, No. 7

Americans share an inherited desire for independence and small government. At the same time, several generations of transformative social welfare programs have caused us to adapt to an expanded view of the role of government in our lives. The clash of these two ideals evokes in us a curious contradiction; even as our classic American spirits resist the threat of emboldened bureaucracy, our acquired taste for public assistance begs for more.
This contradiction manifests itself in our daily lives. An American citizen will drive by a dilapidated building on a street peppered with potholes and ask himself, “Why hasn’t the government fixed this?” Moments later, he will come upon a traffic stop where a homeless man with a cardboard sign begs for food. “How can our government allow this to happen in America?” he will wonder, shaking his head, before continuing his drive to work. Later on, he will ask another question: “Why is the government taking so much of my hard-earned money in taxes?”
He, like most Americans, will fail to see the irony.
The tax question represents a growing concern among Americans. Rasmussen Reports shows that 66 percent of Americans believe themselves to be overtaxed. Meanwhile, Gallup polling reports that 63 percent of Americans expect a tax increase over the next 12 months. On April 15, hundreds of thousands across the nation demonstrated their concern at the Tax Day Tea Party protests.
However, as long as we cling to the notion that government alone is responsible for supplying all our basic needs, we should expect no different; low taxes and expanded government duty are two competing ideals that are wholly irreconcilable.
Instead of only complaining and protesting, perhaps we should also be consistent; if we choose to complain about high taxes, then we should also be willing to take up jobs that the government has not. We can do this by volunteering our time, effort, and if at all possible, money to community projects and restoration efforts. Instead of asking why the government has not taken care of needy families and individuals, we should offer compassion at our own initiative. Simple gestures of good will and assistance go a long way.
We can also aid in lessening the burden of social programs by supporting charities and volunteer groups that build homes, provide healthcare, feed the hungry, fund scholarships, aid in adoptions, and give children the opportunity to receive quality educations.
In America, we can argue over taxes and the role of government all day long. However, one thing we can all do to promote lower taxes is to prove to our government that we are not only self-sufficient, but also more than willing to help our fellow man. Where philanthropy exists, tax money and bureaucracy are not needed.

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