When you want to push a cause, say it’s “for the children.” If you oppose a cause, then you are anti-children.
The latest leftist scheme is to claim that large corporations that do everything they can not to pay taxes are killing 1000 children every day around the world. It’s more likely that the nations where children are dying are actually causing the deaths by oppressive regimes and socialist economic policies.
If giant corporations would just pay more in taxes, so the argument goes, “most of the continent would be ‘developed’ by now.” This is Marxist economic claptrap wrapped up in philanthropic do-goodism and sold to guilt-ridden westerners.
The United States sends billions of dollars to underdeveloped nations around the world. Much of that money goes to governments and never reaches the people. Amanda Jackson, the Head of Campaigns and Policy at the Micah Challenge, points out that “Church leaders and leaders of development agencies would tell us that money was getting wasted; that money that should have been going to schools and teachers was getting siphoned off, or that money that should be coming from the oil reserves was just disappearing” This is an age-old story.
When the aid does reach the people, the people become dependent on the aid and never climb out of poverty.
A better strategy than direct aid through higher taxes would be to lower taxes. Mega-companies hide their capital from the tax man in order to preserve their capital. If they knew that it wasn’t going to be taxed, they would unleash it to create additional capital.
Peter Greer is President and CEO of Hope International, a microfinance organization. Consider his comments in the Forbes interview article “Your Help Is Hurting: How Church Foreign Aid Programs Make Things Worse.” Microfinance is about building a viable economic community with what is presently available in a country that can be harnessed for economic development not to develop a perpetual stream of aid.
Anyone that’s been involved in philanthropy eventually comes to “realize that . . . when you try to help, you try to give things, you start to have [negative] consequences,” Greer says.
“There’s an author Bob Lupton, who really nails it when he says that when he gave something the first time, there was gratitude; and when he gave something a second time to that same community, there was anticipation; the third time, there was expectation; the fourth time, there was entitlement; and the fifth time, there was dependency.”
The model for overseas aid is not much different from the way we claim to help the poor in America. We now have tens of millions of people dependent on government aid. The majority of poverty programs disincentivize people. In some cases, the aid pays more than a job would, so why get a job when I can stay home and cash a government check?
Higher taxes are not the answer. Unleashing the market is. Consider Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShop Program:
“The Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShop Program is a form of social enterprise, in which nonprofit organizations leverage the power of business for community benefit.
“PartnerShops are Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops that are independently owned and operated by community-based nonprofit organizations. Ben & Jerry’s waives the standard franchise fees and provides additional support to help nonprofits operate strong businesses.
“PartnerShops offer job and entrepreneurial training to youth and young adults that may face barriers to employment. Ultimately, they help people build better lives.”
The people at Ben & Jerry’s know how to make money. Governments don’t. Taxation is the disease, not the cure.