Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Defining Philanthropy

Usually characterized as a gesture of giving at personal sacrifice, philanthropy is considered a noble endeavor. Especially in America, people have proven to be quite generous, even those that are not very well to do, but historically this has only been the case when the act is strictly voluntary. For example, most people gladly tip for services but bristle at the notion of a tip being mandatory.

When George Soros decided to donate $35 million to a fund for poor school children in the State of New York for back-to-school needs, he exhibited philanthropy on a grand scale. But when the state government took federal stimulus funds - funds extracted from taxpayers in a nationwide confiscatory manner - to the tune of $135 million, even well-meaning people who do not want to see poor children suffer were outraged.

President Obama scoffed at the accusations that he was in favor of redistribution of wealth, but he also promised that the stimulus would never include pork. a promise that was promptly broken the moment the money left the gate. Now every child between the ages of 3 to 17 will receive 200 dollars each so that they are not doing without amenities when they return to school. The stipulation is that their families must be on welfare or receiving food stamps. Everyone else has to pay their own way with the money the government was kind enough to allow them to keep.

While I'm no big fan of George Soros, his gift to New York can be seen as magnanimous. What isn't known at this point is if his gift came with strings attached that required the state to pony up its share. There is reason to suspect as such, since some of his past prognostications have been rumored to have damaged the economies of small nations, Malaysia being one of them.

Should it come to light that there was a condition on his donation, it will call into question whether his was an act of true philanthropy. In the meantime, there can be no question that our government is now engaging in unabashed redistribution of our hard-earned money even as they look us in the eye and deny it.

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1 comment:

Bruce said...

I enjoyed reading your blog and I agree that philanthropy is best left up to the Private sector such as individuals, churches and private non government funded charities and Corporations. I agree wholeheartedly with your post, keep up the good work, my blog is at and I will be back for more visits.