Right Hooks

Sanders Trashes American Charity

"No, we are not a compassionate society," he fumes.

Jordan Candler · Jan. 19, 2017

“Yes, we’re a compassionate society.” That was Rep. Tom Price, the secretary nominee for the Department of Health and Human Services, in an exchange with the king of welfare advocacy, Sen. Bernie Sanders, during this week’s confirmation hearings. He’s right, of course. When it comes to philanthropy, the U.S. is second to none. But not according to Sanders, who shot back: “No, we are not a compassionate society. In terms of our relationship with poor and working people, our record is worse than virtually any other country on earth. We have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any other major country on earth. Half of our senior, older workers have nothing set aside for retirement. So, I don’t think compared to other countries, we are particularly compassionate.”

First, as Brendan Kirby points out, the U.S. does not top the list of impoverished children. “According to a 2016 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,” Kirby explains, “Turkey, Israel, Spain, and Chile all have higher rates of child poverty than the United States.” Does Sanders not consider these “major” countries? One can argue the U.S. ranks far too high on that list, but Sanders fails to put child poverty into proper perspective. More important, he also fails to understand why America ranks so high. It’s largely (and inarguably) the result of urban poverty plantations and the leftist policies that have given rise to them.

Secondly, to accuse the U.S. of lacking compassion is to blatantly ignore the statistical evidence. The Almanac of American Philanthropy estimates that Americans charitably provide $373 billion on an annual basis. That’s a remarkable sum of money, particularly considering the U.S. population pales in comparison to places like India and China. In fact, the Almanac says, “Rates of giving are two to 20 times higher in the U.S. than in comparable nations.” The U.S. is a hotbed for wealth, but it’s also the number-one catalyst for the private distribution of wealth. And that’s the key distinction.

As we’ve written, “It’s the people of America, not the federal government, who demonstrate the virtues of charity and benevolence.” Yet when it comes to philanthropy (or anything else for that matter), Sanders and his fellow statists believe that the only effective conduit is a government program. His brief exchange with Rep. Price thus provided a harrowing glimpse of just how fundamentally warped is this thing called socialism.


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