Posts Tagged ‘Katrina relief’

Charity and government

January 10, 2010

After Hurricane Katrina, the local grocery stores asked for hurricane relief cash donations at the checkout stand. I declined to contribute because, as I explained to one checkout clerk, “I guesstimate that the US government has already committed something like $50 000 of my tax dollars to Katrina relief. That more than uses up my budget.”

There’s no question, of course, that the commitment of my tax dollars is pretty much wasted, but that doesn’t reduce the cost to me, nor increase my ability to use the money for some more useful end, even if that more useful end were related to Hurricane Katrina.

There is another point to this story. If there is virtue in helping others, then charity by way of government completely destroys that virtue. When the conservatives are compassionate with other people’s money, it is the height of hypocrisy for them to pretend to be virtuous (at least the current administration doesn’t blather about compassionate conservatism). And I can hardly claim to be virtuous when I pay the taxes about which I have no choice.