Jennifer brought up a good point in the comments to my previous post, and I got so long-winded that I figured I might as well post it. Y’all don’t have much else to read over here lately anyway. Oh, and since I wrote this as a comment, it’s disjointed and rambly. You understand.
non-profits do take on a lot of the social programs, and have been feeling the squeeze over the last decade due to drastic cuts in government fundingâ€¦not enough people give to non-profits of their own free will for your idea to really be feasible.
We would if the government would severely cut spending and then cut taxes more. America is the most charitable nation on the planet, and the more money we have in our pockets, the more we’ll give. I’m sure the non-profits would feel the crunch until people started getting more money in their paychecks, but I truly believe we’re benevolent, and once people stop expecting that the government should take care of the less fortunate, we’ll step up and do it like we did in the olden days. But I think the subconscious mindset these days is that the government is taking our tax dollars for this purpose and is therefore supposed to take care of the less fortunate people, so there is no need to give to non-profits. When the government gets out of the way and we don’t have to pay so much to fund the social government agencies, we’ll give more. And if I’m not mistaken, the cuts started coming after 9/11 and it was less of a cut in program spending than a shift to different programs (big agencies with big names saw more money, and smaller agencies with smaller — but not lesser — programs saw less). That was the complaint at the non-profits I audited, that money was being shifted to bigger agencies, and you couldn’t get any money without the United Way, because all of these corporations were basically pressuring their employees to give to UW, so the UW was administrating most of the smaller programs, which were having a harder and harder time getting UW money. But I could be totally talking out of my butt on that one.
I used to audit a lot of non-profits, and I was there when the squeeze started happening, but so little of the money set aside within the government for the programs actually trickles down to the non-profits running the programs. Giant sucking whole of administrative costs, and that’s on the government end. There is still more money used on administrative costs at the non-profits themselves, and those are the only admin costs that make any sense. Non-profits have rules that the government doesn’t have. If more than a certain percentage of contributions and funding for a non-profit’s program is spent on administrative costs, they will lose their government grants. But the government doesn’t have that restriction and never will. You get capitalists doing the majority funding of charities, and there will be even less waste, and more of the money can actually be spent on those who need it. Any capitalist running an agency (and I don’t mean sitting on the board of directors, I mean owner or CEO or Executive Director) is going to want to compete with the capitalists running the other agencies (that’s what capitalism is all about) and make sure that their program is the best. Which means better fundraising more often.
I really think the government needs to do away with entire agencies so we’re not paying so much to run the agencies that have so many levels of bureaucracy. We pay the people who audit the non-profit programs, the people who read all of the applications for grants, the people who write the grant requirements, their bosses, their bosses, and it goes on and on and on. Why are so many people required in order for America to give to the poor? At the end of the day, so much of the money that’s spent on running the programs goes to pay salaries of government workers instead of going to the needy. America will give more if we’re not mandated to do so and are allowed to choose where our money goes. For the most part, we’re good people. The government just needs to get out of our way.