Sunday, August 7, 2011

Compassion and ... taxes? Yes, taxes. More importantly, their best use.

Videos Posted by Mèetha Prantha: This video blew me away.... [HQ]

I bet most of you are seeing this in your facebook stream this morning. It's powerful ... and puzzling. So many people seem to be saying, "Yes, more of this," see for example:

I've read dozens of the comments and they go on in the same vein as far as the eye can see. I want to say, to folks like Brenda, and all who say "If we ALL just gave a little," that we already do; we've structured our society so we can do this efficiently and still allow people to work and care for themselves and their own families. It's the social safety net we all pay for with our taxes.

Look, if I I quit my job and said, "I'm going to feed the poor full time," you know what would happen? I'd be poor. I'd have nothing to give to anyone and I'd have put my family out of house and home. You know how I can feed, clothe, provide medicine, and shelter to the old, infirm, disabled, sick, and impoverished? By paying taxes to a government that provides Medicare, Social Security, funds medical research, reacts to natural disasters, provides low income housing, provides unemployment insurance, and should provide universal health care to every citizen.  It's more efficient to do it this way than deciding big government is no good, so let's all just do what we can when we can. We can develop those dreaded bureaucracies that divide the labor and provide these services at an overall lower cost than if every person simply tried to reinvent the wheel and do it themselves. By having government (it's useful in this context to think of "government" as "the things we decide to do together because they're too important to leave to the whims of the wealthy") perform the bulk of these services, we can guarantee them, properly allocate resources nationally to deal with shortfalls where they occur instead of asking people in economically depressed areas, or perhaps suffering from a natural disaster, to do it all themselves when their resources are scarce or simply unavailable.

This should be the first goal of our society -- to practice compassion and help one another. We all seem to know this when presented with this sort of example; however, we forget it when it comes time to weigh the cost of Medicare against the cost of cutting taxes on the wealthy and invading Middle Eastern countries.

We can afford to provide these services. We can afford it by pooling our resources and creating efficient systems to serve the underprivileged, not by expecting some selfless hero to step up and do it himself. We can afford it if we stop dicking around and pretending the free market will magically provide all these services when history shows it certainly will not.

That's my 2¢, anways.

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