Can charities end homelessness & poverty without government help?

Tom Boland (
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 22:53:50 -0700 (PDT)

Can "private charities" end poverty and homelessness?
Without help from government?  Without help from corporations?

Who benefits from assuming that solving social problems are "private
rssponsibilities" and not government or corporate responsibilities?  Who

Who benefits from assuming that "public-private partnerships" are best
suited to solve social problems?  Who loses?

For related opinions, see the letters to the LA Times below:
FWD  Los Angeles Times - Sunday, June 6, 1999
     [Letters to the Editor]


Your May 29 editorial, "Civic Life, With Spirit," seems to endorse
Vice President Al Gore's plan for government officials to work with
religious leaders to provide social services to the needy. Does anyone
really believe that poverty in this country is going to be relieved by
private charity? When the U.S. government wants something done it uses
the tools of subsidy and tax benefit. To build up a steel industry and
railroads for western expansion, these industries were heavily
subsidized. Space technology and the Internet would have been impossible
without government subsidy. The entrepreneur is rewarded by favorable tax

Poverty in this nation can only be cured by properly applied
government subsidies and tax benefits. Industry should be subsidized to
provide training and jobs and/or a negative income tax should be
instituted so that each citizen is assured an adequate lifetime income.
Economists don't like proposals like these because of the danger of
inflation. To be worthy of their calling they must design proper

There will be also be understandable opposition from the wealthy. But
they must ask themselves what kind of country they want for themselves
and for their children: one where everyone can lead a decent life in
humanity and dignity? Or one of a growing underclass, unsafe
neighborhoods, increasing crime and violence, homelessness and

One final point: I believe the vice president's proposal for
religion-government cooperation to resolve social issues to be

Santa Monica

So Gore wants to start giving money to churches if only we'll vote for
him come the next presidential election, eh? If anyone out there thinks
that government control doesn't come with government money, they're
bigger fools than I can imagine.

La Habra


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