A Wonderful Way To Fight Extreme Poverty

As a conservative, I believe that people occasionally need help to access the American dream, but I don’t believe that the American dream should include two or three generations of collecting benefits from the government. We handled poverty much better when it was a local issue done by local charitable organizations.

The chart below is from the U.S. Census Bureau:

PovertyChart

In creating “The War on Poverty,” we have created a huge bureaucracy that has no incentive to actually decrease poverty. As you can see from the above chart, we have not made significant progress in ending poverty. Instead, we have created a vehicle for those who choose not to develop the discipline of going to work every day to live quite comfortably while the rest of us earn the money to support them. This is not a workable long-term arrangement.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Albuquerque has a much better idea. On Thursday, The Washington Post told his story.

The article reports:

Next month will be the first anniversary of Albuquerque’s There’s a Better Way program, which hires panhandlers for day jobs beautifying the city. In partnership with a local nonprofit that serves the homeless population, a van is dispatched around the city to pick up panhandlers who are interested in working. The job pays $9 an hour, which is above minimum wage, and provides a lunch. At the end of the shift, the participants are offered overnight shelter as needed.

The article cites a few examples of the how the program has made a significant difference:

The There’s a Better Way van employs about 10 workers a day but could easily take more. When the van fills, people have begged to get a spot next time, she said. That’s why the city has increased funding for the program to expand it from two to four days a week. And it inspired St. Martin’s to start its own day labor program, connecting the jobless to employers in the area who could offer side jobs.

Tillerson (Kellie Tillerson, director of Employment Services at St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, the organization that facilitates the city’s program) said a lot of the people who get picked up by the van were not aware of all the services available to them. One man who recently got out of prison returned to St. Martin’s the day after taking one of the city’s jobs. She said it enrolled him in the day-labor program, told him about behavioral health services and are helping him get an ID.

…The program hasn’t weeded out all panhandling in the city, and supporters say that’s not really the point. It’s connecting people who would otherwise not seek help to needed services. And it’s showing them when they are at their lowest that they have real value, and that others are willing to show them kindness to help them have a better life.

“It’s helping hundreds of people,” Berry (Republican Mayor Richard Berry) said, “and our city is more beautiful than ever.”

This program makes a lot of sense.

Charity Begins At Home

Charity begins at home. I wonder sometimes how the Internal Revenue Service feels about that, but that is the conventional wisdom. Exhibiting their usual talent for taking things to the legal limit, the Clinton family obvious believes that charity should begin at home.

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about Hillary Clinton’s tax returns for 2014.

The article reports:

The Clintons earned more than $28 million in 2014 and claimed around $3 million in income as charitable tax deductions, according to tax returns released by Hillary Clinton’s campaign last Friday. The campaign emphasized Clinton’s charitable giving in a press statement, saying that it “represented 10.8 percent” of her income in 2014. But roughly half of that money—$1.8 million—appears to have been channeled to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

According to the tax returns, the Clintons gave $3 million in 2014 to the Clinton Family Foundation, a small private foundation that the family uses as a pass-through to other charities. Records show the CFF disbursed $3.7 million in 2014, including $1.8 million to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Just for kicks, let’s look at how the Foundation spends its money. The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation evidently funds a good deal of the travel expenses the Clintons generate. It must be nice to have a Foundation that helps with the expenses of your Presidential campaign.

The article further reports:

Americans for Tax Reform slammed Clinton on Tuesday for forming an “Article 4 trust,” which the group said appears to be a method to avoid paying estate taxes—a tax Clinton has supported.

“Clinton has consistently voted for the Death Tax throughout her time in public office and forcefully condemned attempts to lower it,” ATF said in a statement. “But when it comes to her own finances, it is a different story. The newly released tax returns buttress earlier reports outlining the ways Clinton uses financial planning strategies that shield her Death Tax liability.”

Another example of taxes for thee, but not for me.

Would You Give To Any Charity That Gave So Little To The People It Was Claiming To Help?

The Clinton Foundation has been in the news a lot lately. There are some real questions as to what some of the donations actually bought or why they were given. Now there are some real questions as to how wisely the money was spent.

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted an article about the expenditures of the Clinton Foundation. The article reports:

Charity Navigator, who we have on the show all the time, placed the Clinton Foundation on a watch list,” she ( Fox Business Network’s “The Willis Report,” host Gerri Willis) continued. “They think there are problems with this non-profit.” She added, “Any Democrat—they say what a wonderful charitable organization it is doing to help people in need, people who are hungry, people who have AIDS. Listen, 6 percent of the money it collected in 2013, 6 percent — $9 million, of the $140 million in total it collected, went to help people.”

Washington Free Beacon’s Liz Harrington weighed in saying, “The numbers just don’t add up. One of the biggest offenses of the Clinton Foundation came out yesterday — 88 percentof the their expenditures go directly to their charitable programs. That is just simply not true. As you mentioned, they raked in $140 million. They only spent nine million on direct aid. Most of their money goes towards salaries, bonuses, to close friends, folks tied to the Clinton campaign.”

Willis read the $140 million 2013 spending breakdown from the New York Post, saying, “Here is a list of foundation spending—where the money goes: $30 million on payroll expenses, $9.2 to conferences and meetings, fundraising — $8 million. Nearly $8.5 million on travel.”

Unfortunately this problem is not unique to the Clinton Foundation. It is a good idea to do some research before you give to any organization in order to find out how much of your gift will actually be spent on the mission of the organization. Charity Navigator rates charities according to their financial transparency and overhead. For example, Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey is rated at 89.62, the American Red Cross is rated at 85.25, and Operation Blessing is rated at 92.12. The Charity Navigator has placed the Clinton Foundation on a watch list. That says it all.