Why Can't Government Contribute to Charity
by John Lawrence
Are you overwhelmed by all the charitable requests you get at every store you shop at? I am. And all the email requests for contributions to good causes. And all the TV requests, the Go Fund Me, crowdfunding and fundraising websites. I'm sure these are all good causes, and if they are, why isn't the government contributing to them? I'm not even sure that, when they ask you for a contribution at Petco, the Petco corporate headquarters are contributing.
President Donald Trump said to Puerto Ricans that the Federal government was not going to help them that much. He as much as said, "Get off your lazy asses and help yourselves." And this after Puerto Rico has been devastated beyond belief. “Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making. A total lack of accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend. We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!," he tweeted.
For right wingers, including Trump, they don't see charity as a government function. They think charity should be undertaken privately. The only government function they consider legitimate is fighting wars. If they had their way there would be no FEMA, no disaster relief. They have expressed this in an action-speaks-louder-than-words statement by underfunding FEMA and any other government operation that actually helps people like, for instance, the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.
So all the requests to average citizens to contribute to this or that cause play right into the Republican right wing philosophy that charity is not a government or public function. It should be undertaken privately on a voluntary basis. Don't ask your grocery or drug store if their CEO is matching your contribution when they ask you for a donation on that little machine you stick your credit card in.
Perhaps we should rethink whether or not the billions of dollars needed for emergency assistance from natural disasters like hurricanes, fires and earthquakes should be provided by the government or on a voluntary basis by we citizens. Trump has fired a shot over the bow of Puerto Rico. My advice to Puerto Ricans is to get out while the getting's good.Otherwise, the hedge fund vultures will be coming for what little money you have left. They've made the bet that they will get a good return on your $80 billion government debt. They don't care that you have been devastated by a hurricane. They want their money. Austerity looms both from the hurricane's devastation and from the vulture hedge funds as well.