The essential difference between liberals and conservatives comes down to the role of government versus the social responsibility of individuals. Conservatives see government as a necessary intrusion into individual liberty, but in no way supplanting individual responsibility to be productive, charitable, and useful members of society. Liberals see individuals as servants of the government’s ends, to enforce arbitrary social contracts in the name of so-called “progress.”
Meals on Wheels serves as an almost perfect example of this division, and why liberals have it so wrong in America. CNN reported Monday that last Thursday, the organization received 50 times the typical amount of daily donations after liberals reacted in outrage over President Trump’s proposed budget cuts.
I’d bet that the average American wouldn’t have known whether Meals on Wheels was a government organization or a private charity before the while brouhaha began. But in fact, the national office of the organization only receives 3 percent of its funding from the government, according to CNN.
Local offices, of which there are more than 5,000, receive varying levels of government funding through the HHS Community Development Block Grant program which the Trump budget proposes to eliminate. Some offices, such as one CNN cited outside Detroit, up to 30 percent of the budget comes from CDBG money.
But now, the public has stepped up and given, both their money and their time. Jenny Bartolette, a spokeswoman for Meals on Wheels America told CNN that volunteer sign-ups increased by 500 percent.
Several local Meals on Wheels organizations said they had received similar support. Metro Meals on Wheels, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul, said the group received about 40 donations in the past 24 hours, well over the usual average of three or four donations a day.
“The good news that it has rallied folks around the cause and reminded folks that they can’t really take these kinds of services for granted,” said Patrick Rowan, executive director of Metro Meals on Wheels. “It’s reassuring that the public has stepped up.”
Similarly, Ellen Horwitz of Meals on Wheels of West Los Angeles said there’s been an “abundance of people calling in the last two days saying, ‘Can we help?'”
Liberals would like to claim that this increased support somehow validates the argument that the government should continue to fund such a critical organization. But that’s simply not true. Public reaction points us to precisely the opposite conclusion.
When a charity organization doing good works is allowed to share its message wide and far, Americans respond quickly and effectively–and privately. Americans are giving people, and support all kinds of charities from Compassion International, to World Vision, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, Nechama and Convoy of Hope. And those are just the religious organizations.
The problem is when charities become too reliant on government funding. Then they start jumping through hoops to get grants rather than presenting their needs to the community they serve. When those needs are brought to the forefront, people respond.
Trump’s OMB Director Mike Mulvaney got it right.
“I think it’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do,” he said. “I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to [taxpayers] and say, look we’re not gonna ask you for your hard-earned money anymore … unless we can guarantee to you that that money is going to be used in a proper function.”
Liberals want taxpayers to fund everything, and let government to decide who is worthy of help. Conservatives realize that we all have a responsibility to help our neighbors, the poor, sick, widows and orphans.
Liberals believe that government is a panacea because they believe the worst about people and therefore lower expectations of society. Conservatives believe that individuals will rise to expectations if they are given the truth and an opportunity. Meals on Wheels is the Rorschach test for both, but in reality proves the latter.