Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Jane Chastain examines leftists' actual contributions to America's poor

I was born into the Democratic Party. When I became old enough to question my family’s political roots, I was told, “Democrats are the party that cares about working people and the poor.” That was good enough for me until I reached the age of reason and began to think for myself.

It was all a big lie!

I am not saying that my family deliberately lied to me. It was just that they had accepted the conventional wisdom of the day, which is still hanging around.

“Repeat a lie often enough and it will be believed.” The theory espoused by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, has been used effectively by politicians of all political stripes but most effectively by Democrats in this country to create a dependent class.

Today, Democrats’ definition of “working people” means union members. No surprise here! Unions give huge sums in cash and manpower to keep Democrats in office. In turn, Democrats pay unionized government workers twice the going rate and give them benefits that cannot be matched by the private sector. Democrats also create jobs for union workers and mandate that government contractors pay a hugely inflated “prevailing wage,” which is an unfair burden on the rest of the working population.

As for the poor, Democrats designed a welfare system that pays people for not working and actually rewards people for breaking into the country illegally, for dumping elderly parents and sick spouses and for having children out of wedlock – all in the name of compassion.

Americans are a compassionate people, but that compassion is misplaced. Currently, we spend a trillion a year on welfare. That is more than four times what is needed to lift every man, woman and child out of poverty, but our poverty rate remains the same. Why? Welfare, which has become an entitlement, doesn’t work.

There is an important difference between charity and welfare. The word “charity” means something given to help the needy. It grew out of an old French word that means affection or Christian love. Christians are commanded to love their neighbors as themselves. When you truly love your neighbors, you help them when they are in need.

Where charity is warm and personal, welfare is cold. Because charity is personal, those on the receiving end have an attitude, not of entitlement, but of gratitude. Once on their feet, they feel an obligation to repay the giver or help others in return.

I have often wondered why so many vigorously defend our broken welfare system. Maybe it’s because they don’t trust their neighbors to be as charitable as they are. Maybe it’s because they think that if the government forces everyone to give, they can in good conscience give less. Therefore, they will end up with more. Or, maybe it’s because they think government welfare lets them completely off the hook.

Recent studies bear that out. The Chronicle of Philanthropy examined tax data from the IRS for 2008 and found that Republican-dominated states give much more money to charity than Democrat strongholds.

In fact, the eight states whose residents gave the highest share of their income to charity (10.6 percent) all backed McCain in 2008. The seven states that were ranked least generous (giving an average of 2.5 percent) all backed Obama.

This also reflects the attitude of the candidates for whom they vote. From 2000 through 2004, the Obamas gave about 1 percent of their $200,000+ yearly income to charity. When he became a U.S. senator and began his run-up to the presidency, Obama increased his household’s giving to 6 percent.

In contrast, John McCain donated 26 percent of his income to charity in 2007 and 18 percent in 2006. Mitt Romney’s estimated 2011 tax return shows he gave 19.2 percent of his income to charity, while his 2010 return puts his giving at 13.8 percent of his income.

After receiving criticism, the Obamas have pumped up their giving to a respectable amount.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden and his wife gave a paltry .03 percent of their income to charity in the 10 years before he became vice president. Last year, he bumped that up to a still paltry 1.5 percent.

So when Democrats talk about contributing your fair share to help those less fortunate, they obviously mean your fair share, not their own.