Tax the other guy so that I can feel good about not giving

[Today’s Run: Watson Road 3.5 miles]

Today it is politics.

My employer participates in the local United Way campaign. It is voluntary. Employees can sign up to have some part of their take home pay sent directly to the United Way. Also, the United Way will let you, to some degree, designate where your contributions go. So if you have a particular charity you want to support you can direct your funds to go to that one. (United Way does take some percentage for their administration.)

Lots of other funds come out of every paycheck, taxes, insurance, Social Security, Medicare, voluntary retirement contributions, etc. Thanks to the compassion of our society some percentage of those funds can be considered charity also. For example, the tiny sliver that goes from federal taxes to fund AIDS treatments in Africa. (Whether SS and Medicare are charity can be debated.)

Someone who has particular interest in AIDS treatments in Africa could do a lot more for the cause than the thin sliver that is carved out of their federal taxes. And with a direct contribution system like the United Way (and other direct deposit systems too) it couldn’t be easier.

Here’s my problem. Harry Reid and his ilk in the US Senate don’t want to cut discretionary spending, including charitable things. The guy is so set on that idea he will borrow the money to do it.

So, he will borrow money and tax people a little bit so that he can spend the money on charitable projects.

And people who support him say they don’t like the borrowing, raise taxes. But they already have the opportunity to give to charity and most of them don’t do much, which, if they would, would be more effective than the pittance they give now via a sliver of their taxes. Tax the rich, they say.

We have this totally hypocritical idea that we are doing something good by meeting social needs. When we really aren’t meeting the need, we aren’t even contributing as much as we are spending, and the people who claim to be compassionate aren’t the ones contributing.