Post # 98 , Bob McKnight's Florida Political Commentary
What if we had a Hall of Honor for Charitable Giving in our communities?
When all is said and done, I believe the heart of the argument between the left and right boils down to "Wealth Redistribution." I remember in President Obama's first campaign for President, when he told an Iowan privately that what he was trying to do was simply redistribute the wealth in our country. He did not say by edict, but the right believes that is what he had in mind with many of his actions in office. He said he favored making changes to government policies to encourage the redistribute wealth from the wealthy to the middle class, but without mandates. Most on the right feel that was a lie--he planned to mandate it if it was not done voluntarily.
The required redistribution of wealth earned by individuals makes most Americans boil, but those same Americans strongly support incentives, sometimes tax breaks for the voluntary redistribution of wealth, as long as it is called something like charitable giving. Not surprising almost every university and college in our country offers naming privileges for voluntary donations, sometimes with conditions attached. The same consensus applies to all charities, from the United Way to Alzheimer's Research.
Wealth Distribution in our country is built on the shoulders of capitalism. Voluntary donations are the safety net for the poor. It is generally felt that public education funding education is the key to move the poor from welfare to self sustaining. But reality has the left supporting unions in public education, so the start of vouchers for private education has left much of public school education only for the poor. The courts will end up ruling on the constitutionality of using public funds for private education.
So the thought comes to mind, what if the local communities and government identified charities that are needed badly in our country? What if there were voluntary funding for blighted inter city schools, medical care similar to that provided by the Gates Foundation, critical worldwide environmental needs like the eliminating plastic from our oceans, and immediate reforms in political governance? There are many more that come to mind. Deciding how to administer this proposal would be very difficult. We could identify the contributor(s) similarly to college and university campuses. An example of this is Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida--the whole College, not just a part of it, was named after the late Jack Eckerd. Another example is the Fulbright Scholarship. The pool of wealthy people who want to help those less fortunate is significant, led by Gates and Warren Buffett. They have identified 14 Billionaires who have pledged to give away at least 1/2 of their wealth to charity. Maybe we could have a Hall of Honor of Charitable Americans in our communities. I could see the wealthy wanting to go down in history as being a generous and caring American, underwriting the cost of an important charity.
The point is making people give up what has been hard earned to someone who has not earned it is not right. By voluntarily giving to charity with substantial recognition works now in parts of country, and could work again. It must not be mandated by the government, but given of free will by generous Americans.