In which I agree with Cal Thomas

That little place further down south must be experiencing some inclement weather 😉

This Cal Thomas article was reprinted in Sunday’s Virginian-Pilot. (So much for the “liberal bias” of the newspaper.) It was this sentence that caught my eye:

If we want smaller government, we will have to pick up the slack.

And that’s the piece that so many of the smaller government people miss. Personal responsibility only goes so far. There are some things that are outside of the control of the individual.

Consider this article, also from Sunday’s paper, in which the writer speaks of having to make the decision between “not paying a bill or giving up some medication.” Which should she choose?

Or how about the baby boomers who are discovering their 401(k) savings aren’t enough to retire on? “Some people were done in by the twin collapses of the housing and stock markets,” the article says. Just how are individuals supposed to control the housing and stock markets?

Were it not for the Foodbank, the lady in the first article may have gone hungry. The Foodbank relies on donations in order to feed people, and its donors have bit hit by the recession, too. Poverty is at its highest since 1983 and the typical U.S. family got poorer over the last decade.

Although I’m not a smaller government advocate, I try to do my share because it’s the right thing to do. I contribute my money to non-profits, including the Foodbank. I also contribute my time and my talents to a number of non-profit organizations, including the YWCA.

The next time I hear somebody say “smaller government,” I want to hear how they personally are helping to pick up the slack.

8 thoughts on “In which I agree with Cal Thomas

  1. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do . . . . But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.

  2. Call me confused, for a number of reasons.

    The woman in the article you cite says, “I was told I made a little too much money to qualify for food stamps,” and “I have felt guilty for taking what the food bank offers, but I was desperate for any assistance.” Would she not have felt guilty taking food stamps?

    She makes clear the dichotomy, but does not seem to understand it: “All help given comes from the hearts of the donors from big corporations, small businesses and the family who picks up that extra can of tuna and drops it into a donation barrel.”

    Food Stamps come from people’s having their money TAKEN from them. Why would she feel guilty accepting what people voluntarily give her, but not feel guilty taking from people whose money is taken by force?

    Now, Vivian, I am confused by you, too. You say, “Although I’m not a smaller government advocate… I contribute my money to non-profits.” If you are an advocate of LARGE government, why do you not contribute to the government? I’ll bet you even deduct those charitable contributions from your taxable income, reducing your tax support of the big government you say you support.

  3. Warren, you’re an ass. Sorry, Vivian, you can pull this but I have to post it.

    The lady of whom you question her feelings of guilt is owed an apology, from you. She never said she would not have felt guilty taking food stamps. She never even implied that. My guess is she would have, but that is as big a guess as you make.

    Her point, as I took it, was falling between the cracks. Something that will always happen. There will always be situations where someone falls just outside the guidelines. That’s just the way it will be. Government can not and should not support everyone. However, decisions have been made that government will be supportive in certain situations. Probably more than I would like, but that’s the way it is.

    To then say Vivian shouldn’t take advantage of tax loopholes, if you will, that are in part a reason for our government being in the bad financial position it is today, is silly at best. I, also, love folks who say Warren Buffett and Mark Cuban, who are rich guys who have said rich guys should be taxed more, should voluntarily send more money to the government. That is just as silly.

    The tax laws need to be changed and modified, for the good of all. We have to increase revenues to the federal government, we can’t solve issues by just “advocating for smaller government”. There are not that many cuts which can be made. That is an issue we have as much because of “tax and spend Democrats” as because of “spend and don’t tax” Republicans. It happens at the federal, state and local level. Just read today’s paper about Gov McDonnell working to add tolls to I-95. If a toll isn’t at tax, I don’t know what a tax is, but I digress.

    And back to Vivian’s initial point, Cal Thomas is correct. There is a need for personal responsibility for decisions, and there is a need for community support, when government can’t, and shouldn’t, do it all. Bigger government, smaller government, or the same size, Those needs will always exist.

    1. No, Doug, I’m letting it stand, because you are correct. Warren never adds anything to the conversation and only wants to argue about why someone else is wrong. He likes to jump to conclusions, because he sees everything as either/or. I’m sure it never occurred to him that someone who doesn’t support smaller government also doesn’t support larger government, and instead supports right-sized government.

      And if he knew the first thing about taxes, he’d know that contributions of time – and Lord knows I give plenty of that – are not tax deductible.

      1. You have knocked the strawman down. I quoted you about your giving MONEY to non-profits and deducting those contributions from your taxes. I said nothing of your TIME, nor did I say time donations were tax deductible.

        If you really DO think the government is “right sized,” then you must agree with Doug that revenue is too low, and you should willingly donate to the Treasury to support the government programs.

  4. I agree, Cal Thomas is dead on with this one. I’m constantly lecturing/arguing with my libertarian friends and fellow Ron Paul supporters that the free market is not omnipotent and instantaneous in fixing problems. You can’t just get rid of a government program and expect it to take over immediately. I think asking how candidates both how they personally will pick up the slack and how they expect the community to compensate for the levels of government they advocate would be perfect questions for any debate this year.

    1. I agree, Max. There is a lot of talk about reducing government, but none about the fact that God puts the burden of caring for the poor on us as individuals. Taxation is not charity. Taxation is TAKING, and charity is GIVING.

      On the other side, Obama can easily win re-election. He can refuse to campaign, and everything he gets in donations goes to the Treasury to pay down the debt. If he asked his supporters to donate to paying down the debt (and in turn supporting his programs), and we see that go from the pitiful $3M (the peak year of donations) to over $700M (Obama’s spending in the 2008 election), I guarantee you he will win in 2012.

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