Is Public Charity Appropriate?

How can Congress award charity equally to those that deserve it? Do you think Congress would give your family $1.6 million if your spouse, child, or parent was murdered at work or school?

Using the law to force taxpayers to give to some and not others is not a proper function of government. The letter below was published in the Gwinnett Daily Post on January 2, 2002.
— 01/05/02


Did you know that Congress is going to give the families of victims killed or injured in the Sept. 11 attacks an average of $1.6 million per family? This money will be tax-free, and total approximately $6 billion. Those with loved ones killed or wounded on Sept. 11 stand to collect a small fortune, courtesy of the US taxpayer.

I’m trying to understand why deaths caused by terrorists are any different than deaths caused by drunk drivers, stupid laws, or foreign wars.  Drunk drivers have been destroying families for years. Federal seat belt laws have killed innocent babies and broken up loving homes. We are all familiar with collateral damage from errant bomb strikes.

None of these families were compensated with million-dollar government awards or exempted from taxes. Why should the Sept. 11 families be treated differently? For that matter, why should murdered New Yorkers be treated differently than our military volunteers being killed in Afghanistan?

The hearts of all Americans go out to those who lost loved ones Sept. 11, and millions have made gifts to ease their suffering. More than $1.5 billion in cash has already been donated, as well as goods and services worth hundreds of millions more. The way to help the victims and their families is through the compassionate generosity of individuals.

Congress has no business appropriating charity. Nothing in the Constitution authorizes it, and it cannot be done with fairness. Senators and Representatives should do what the rest of us have done by reaching into their own pockets.

Not Yours To Give Away by Davy Crockett