Who first said “[E]very time we object to a thing being done by government, [they] conclude that we object to its being done at all”? A professor? A Member of Congress? Donald Trump?
Actually it was French economist in Frédéric Bastiat — in 1850.
Safe to say it’s not a new tactic for critics to accuse leaders who want to cut government funding of “hating” the beneficiaries of the funds – schools, health care providers, the elderly, art and artists, children, the environment, etc. They want us to believe that giving taxpayer funds to something or someone equals caring and without government funding, those activities would cease.
Both assumptions are wrong.
Case in point: When President Trump released his federal budget which cut $54 million from domestic spending, beneficiaries and their advocates screamed that the cuts that would hurt the poor, eviscerate the arts and education, deaden the airways, and soil the environment. This assumes that without federal funding, support for such programs as Meals on Wheels, Sesame Street, NPR, the National Endowment for the Arts, and after school programing could come from nowhere else.
The truth is that federal government programs for art, broadcasting, afterschool programs, and meals for the elderly have only been around a couple of decades. All of these human endeavors go way back — 39,000 years ago in case of art.
In fact, the greatest American artists and composers, like Hopper, Warhol, O’Keefe, Wyeth, Gershwin, Copland, Ellington, and Joplin, created amazing art or music without the National Endowment for the Arts.
As for American philanthropy for the poor and vulnerable, that, too, predates nationhood. Today, Americans are the most generous people in the world.
Similarly, broadcasting predates the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by decades and Americans currently has hundreds of television and radio channels to choose from. Concerning schools, federal funding amounts to only 8% of the more than $620 billion spent on public schools. A cut to federal programs will not end education as we know it.
Cuts to popular federal programs will be filled by state, local, and private donations. The week after the Trump budget was released, private donations to Meals on Wheels increased, as if to prove that point.
While cuts to federal programs, if passed by Congress, will have negligible impact on the beneficiaries, not cutting programs will impact all American for the worse. The nation is $20 trillion in debt. Without other cuts and, more importantly, reforms to Medicare and Social Security, that debt burden will increase.
Put another way: American taxpayers pay $610 million per day interest. Thanks to the inaction of politicians, this daily loss will increase, until we can no longer pay our lenders.
What are your thoughts?
Do we show we care for those in need around us by supporting tax increases, or by volunteering, donating and pitching in as individuals and communities? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook!