This is very much one of the worst natural disasters of modern memory. Some are saying that the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami pales in comparison.
As I wrote here yesterday, our thoughts and prayers should be with the people of Haiti. I have certainly held them up in my own time with God.
Just wanted to make it clear that I do have sympathy for what the Haitian people are going through. I can't say that I have understanding though, 'cuz honestly I've never been through something on this vast a scale. But does my heart break for the people there? Absolutely.
And I can understand why a lot of folks are going to think that it's mighty good of President Barack Obama to pledge $100 million from the United States government to aid in the recovery of Haiti.
So I can hear it now: "Chris you're a heartless bastard!" when I write that Obama should not be using our tax money to help out Haiti.
Longtime readers of this blog might know where I'm coming from. I can't think of a better way to articulate it than the story of Horatio Bunce, as shared by Davey Crockett. But if you want a synopsis: Crockett and some other well-meaning members of the House of Representatives voted $20,000 (a huge sum in those days) for relief for victims of a fire in Georgetown. When Crockett went back to his district in Kentucky to campaign for re-election, a well-respected local sage named Horatio Bunce harshly reprimanded Crockett for his "act of charity". Using the money of the public treasury in such a fashion was a violation of the citizens' trust, Bunce told Crockett: it was "not yours to give"! And as a result, Bunce told Crockett that he could not vote for him again.
Davey Crockett realized that Bunce was correct, and he never again voted for funds from the taxpayers to be used for anything other than what is called for in the Constitution. As for Horatio Bunce: he was satisfied that Crockett had learned his lesson, and promised to throw Crockett a fine barbecue and fundraiser the following week.
If only more of our politicians today had the wisdom of Horatio Bunce... or the humility to acknowledge that they are in the wrong, as Davey Crockett had.
I've never been comfortable with our elected officials sending our money abroad in the name of "humanitarian aid". For one thing, it's not a power given them in the Constitution of the United States. For another and far more practical reason: there is no accounting of how the money is being spent. Does anyone seriously believe that $100 million of American taxpayers money is going to all be used for disaster relief down in Haiti? If past history is an indicator, most of it will be wasted sloppily at best, and no doubt much will be outright stolen. Money that we barely have, that isn't our government's to give to begin with.
Now if you want to really help out the folks in Haiti, there are many worthwhile organizations that you can contribute to, if you choose to. The Salvation Army is one that comes to mind. These are agencies that have a tremendous interest in being accountable to the public. That is something that can not be said of the federal government. Indeed, I would dare say that $10 million of privately raised funds by the Salvation Army would go much further to sincerely helping the people of Haiti than $100 million from the United States government.
It's astounding that the United States still leads the world in providing disaster relief, in spite of ourselves (or our government anyway).
Kinda makes you wonder: if politicians like Barack Obama would not waste the citizens' money on "charitable" but unlawful expenditures, how much more could this country's people be able to give aid to those who need it most?