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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 27, 2009 / 7 Elul 5769

Health Care — If Government Doesn't Do It, Who Will?

By Larry Elder



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Assisting the needy in health care is a "moral imperative" — not a constitutional right. The two are as different as a squirt gun and an Uzi.


If something is not permitted under our Constitution, the federal government simply cannot do it. Period. The Founding Fathers vigorously debated the role of the federal government and defined it in Article I, Section 8 — spelling out the specific duties and obligations of the federal government. Most notably, this included providing a military for national security, coining money, establishing rules for immigration and citizenship, establishing rules for bankruptcy, setting up a postal system, establishing trademark and copyright rules, and setting up a legal system to resolves disputes, in addition to a handful of other matters.


Charity is not there.


Congress began ignoring its lack of authority for charity before the ink dried on the Constitution. When Congress appropriated $15,000 to assist French refugees in 1792, James Madison — a Founding Father and principal author of the Constitution — wrote, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution, which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."


But what about the Constitution's general welfare clause?


Madison said: "With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers (enumerated in the Constitution) connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."


And consider government welfare's effect on people's willingness to give. During the Great Depression — before the social programs that today we accept as givens (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) — charitable giving increased dramatically. After FDR began signing social programs into law, charitable giving continued, but not at the same rate. People felt that they had given at the office and/or that government was "handling it."


Government "charity" is simply less efficient than private charity. Every dollar extracted from taxpayers, sent to Washington, and then routed to the beneficiary "loses" about 70 cents in transfer costs — salaries, rent and other expenses. The Salvation Army, by contrast, spends 2 cents in operating costs, with the remainder going to fundraising and the beneficiary. They achieve this, among other ways, by relying on volunteers to do much of the work.


Following Hurricane Katrina, private companies, including The Home Depot and Walmart, provided basic needs, such as water and shelter, faster than did government. What were their motives? Generosity? Positive public relations — a form of "selfishness"? Does it matter?


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What about the issue of "moral hazard"? Does government welfare distort behavior and cause people to act irresponsibly? In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson launched a "War on Poverty." "Anti-poverty" workers literally went door to door to inform women of their "right" to money and services — provided the recipients were unmarried and had no men living in their houses. Out-of-wedlock births skyrocketed. In 1960, before the "War on Poverty," out-of-wedlock births accounted for 2 percent of white births and 22 percent of black births. By 1994 — just three decades after Johnson began his "War" — the rates had soared to 25 and 70 percent, respectively.


Numerous studies conclude that children of "broken homes" with absentee or nonexistent fathers are more likely to commit crimes, drop out of school, do drugs and produce out-of-wedlock children. In 1985, the Los Angeles Times asked both the poor and non-poor the following question: Do you think those on welfare have children to get on welfare? More poor people (64 percent) said "yes" to that proposition than did non-poor (44 percent).


If not taxation, how then?


In 1871, the city of Chicago burned to the ground. Contributions, with virtually no money from government, rebuilt the city. After 9/11, so many Americans gave money that the Red Cross used some contributions for non-9/11 purposes. Christianity Today wrote in January 2002: "Suddenly awash in a sea of money, relief agencies such as the Salvation Army need help. So much money — $1.5 billion so far — has come in that charities are having a hard time spending it." And Americans donated an even greater sum to those affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.


Three in four families donate to charity, averaging more than 3 percent of their income, with two-thirds going to secular charities. In total, Americans give more than $300 billion a year — more than the gross domestic product of Finland or Ireland. More than half of families also donate their time.


Absent (unconstitutional) government programs, individuals and charitable organizations can, will and — in many cases — already do provide services to the needy. A limited government — one that taxes only to fulfill its permissible duties — would allow even more disposable time and money.


People-to-people charity is more efficient, less costly, more humane and compassionate, and more likely to inspire change and self-sufficiency in the beneficiary. People can and would readily satisfy society's "moral imperative."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR)

Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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