Is it ethically proper for a government to tax those who work in order to give to others who are less fortunate? Even if in theory it is morally correct for a government to take one person’s earnings and donate it to others, should entitlements be curtailed or eliminated since the U.S. is now approaching bankruptcy?
Liberals generally support ever-greater entitlement spending (think of the budget-busting Obamacare program). They feel that a prosperous country such as the U.S. must do more to help the unfortunates in its midst.
My recently released book Uncommon Sense takes issue with this approach. It advances the overarching Talmudic principle that the primary roles of government are providing infrastructure such as roads, bridges and sewers and protecting its citizens. What it should NOT be doing, though, is interfering with the personal morality of the citizens and distributing charity for them.
Accordingly, a government should not be determining how much soda people may drink, who may be in one’s bedroom, which museums advance the cause of culture and should therefore be funded, and so forth. Politicians are elected to govern, not to serve as the guiding moral beacons of the citizenry.
As for charity, the Judeo-Christian tradition has always esteemed mercy and charity when willingly extended with a generous heart. But people should not be taxed against their will so that government charity can be given to causes chosen by politicians. In a free country, people should have the right to either not give charity at all or to donate exclusively to a favorite cause, be it a hospital, church, symphony orchestra, or the Girl Scouts. [more...]