10-08-10 - Charity

I've been thinking about this Giving Pledge thing quite a lot since it was announced. Obviously it's good and all, but something bothers me about it.

The problem is that it perpetuates the myth that private charities are a more worthy recipient of money than government. Most of these people have avoided giving their fair share of taxes to the government their whole lives, and now they are giving gobs of it to charities.

That's not really what we need. It would have been more beneficial for longer if they had simply worked to get the high income tax rate raised.

The things that America really needs more of are basic government services. We need money for schools and teachers, we need money for the homeless and unemployment, we need money for prisoner rehabilitation and drug programs, we need money for libraries and roads.

What we don't really need is more money for "alternative education" and laptops for schools and "measurement based learning evaluation" and all that marginal shit that the Bill Gates foundation does.


castano said...

I think that the idea that the super-rich will save us is just wishful thinking.

ryg said...

It's a myth that's being perpetuated by both sides. If you don't have money, you fantasize about being rich ("If I had the money, I would "). And if you are rich, giving money to charities feels just so much more personal and ego-stroking than paying taxes is.

If you earn $1 million a year, giving 1% of that ($10k) to a charity is enough to get you into the newspaper and make people talk about what a great person you are. The same people would call you a sucker for paying 1% more taxes than you have to because you choose not to exploit loopholes in the law.

ryg said...

That was supposed to be "If I had the money, I would ...". No idea what went wrong there.

castano said...

On a similar note, this talk from Slavoj Žižek is interesting:

old rants