Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of December 13, 2010
Readers write in about charity, wealth, taxes, and the housing crisis.
Coercive taxation vs. charity
The Nov. 22 editorial, "The wealth of givers," would do better to recognize the gulf between the essential foundations of charitable giving and taxation. Charitable giving is a fundamentally peaceful process that recognizes people's inherent desire to help others.
If we are unable to convince someone to give at this juncture or to give in the way we think he should, then we must live and let live in peace. On the other hand, taxation relies on the threat of incarceration and assumes that free people cannot be completely trusted to assist others in need.
Let us minimize taxation and instead express our natural desire to help others through charitable giving.
Regarding the Nov. 22 chart of "The 50 largest US charities ranked by total income": Thank you for listing the percentage of total expenses spent on programs.
I was amazed to learn that one of my favorite charities – that my family and I have been contributing to for years – had one of the lowest percentages of funds spent on programs. This group spent over $130 million on fundraising alone last year.
Your publishing such data is very helpful to the public as a guide to contributors, but should also have a positive impact on charity management.