Government vs Charity

Which is to say, Government welfare/wealth redistribution vs private charity.  Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate and Senator (I, VT) Bernie Sanders has given the Progressive-Democrats’ game away.  The subject is private donors giving hundreds of millions of their own money to fund scholarships at colleges and universities.  Sanders tweeted that

Mr Smith’s gift was “extremely generous” but added that the “student crisis will not be solved by charity. It must be addressed by governmental action.”

Robert Smith is Vista Equity Partners CEO, and his gift was directly to Morehouse College class of 2019: he’s covering 100% of their college debt.  Other private donor gifts include

  • the Starr Foundation and Sanford Weill’s funding a $160 million scholarship program at New York City’s Weill Cornell Medicine to “eliminate education debt for all of its students with financial need”
  • $450 million from private donors to New York University for all tuition costs for all its medical students
  • $150 million scholarship fund for Columbia University endowed by former Merck CEO Roy Vagelos and his wife to mitigate medical students’ debt
  • $1.8 billion for Johns Hopkins from Michael Bloomberg for undergraduate financial aid

But Progressive-Democrats want government to do it all.  The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board has the right of that:

[P]rivate generosity has an advantage in that it is more accountable than public policy.

Aside from government’s subsidies inflating costs, though, there’s much more.  Private charity is much more flexible than government’s necessarily one-size-fits-all, it’s better targeted, it goes to the recipients the donors—whether private individual or private charitable organization—choose, and it goes in the form of the donors’ choosing.

And that gives private charity much broader and much deeper reach than anything government can achieve.

But that’s also outside the control of Government, and that’s anathema to Progressive-Democrats.

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