Let the Debate Begin
By Arnold Kling
So says Uwe E. Reinhardt.
Even the word private in “private charitable giving” is not completely accurate. A more accurate term would be “private donations coupled with involuntary, tax-financed public subsidies.”
If progressives want to attack private charity because they prefer government spending, we should have that debate. There is not much to be said on behalf of private charity, other than:
1. I think that a higher percentage of private charity goes to causes that I can support, even taking into account the fact that I think that too much of it goes to overbuilding college campuses.
2. Private charity reflects voluntary civic virtue, as opposed to the exercise of coercive political power.
3. Private charities generally try to operate sustainable budgets.
4. Government power is already too overwhelming relative to private charities, to the point where many private charities exist solely to lobby the government.
For those libertarians of a civil societarian persuasion, there are few issues more important than defending private charity from these attacks by progressives.