As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!

Don’t Donate to Katrina Victims

This article was written by in Charity. 13 comments.

You can file this in the “I never looked at it from that point of view” file. Charities are for suckers. The article argues it’s supposed to be the government’s job to support those less fortunate, as that is one of the purposes of collecting taxes, and shouldn’t be up to the collection of private donations.

Government has been shirking its basic responsibilities since the ’80s, when
Ronald Reagan sold us his belief that the sick, poor and unlucky should no longer count on “big government” to help them, but should rather live and die at the whim of contributors to private charities….

There’s only one reason flood victims aren’t getting help from the government: because the government refuses to help them. The Red Cross and its cohorts are letting lazy, incompetent and corrupt politicians off the hook, and so are their donors…

The U.S. government can easily pick up the tab for people inconvenienced by bad weather–if helping them is a priority. That goes double for Katrina, a disaster caused by the government’s conscious decision to eliminate the $50 million pittance needed to improve New Orleans’ levees.

It’s kind of a cold-hearted view. When people are in trouble, it’s human nature to want to help. It does sound that the government has a plan now, although some would argue it’s a bit late.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published September 16, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

Email Email Print Print
About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .


avatar Eric


avatar Luke Landes

Thanks for the link, Eric. Of course, a portion of the money given to those in need will be misused. It’s a shame, but you can’t punish the majority who use the money for aid because of the actions of a few.

avatar Luke Landes

Hehe. Normally I steer away from political articles, but this one was related to Katrina relief charity. Personally, I agree with your view Caitlin, and I believe the government has an obligation to do more, but drying up the charity well will not have the effect desired.

avatar DS Dan

The article’s view: “The Red Cross and its cohorts are letting lazy, incompetent and corrupt politicians off the hook, and so are their donors…”

The conservative view: “The reliance on federal government and its cohorts is letting lazy, incompetent citizens who should be donating to their fellow man off the hook.”

Which one would you believe?

avatar Anonymous

This article (that you quote) seems to be just ignorant rhetoric. I get the sense that it’s slanted towards one person’s ideology.

Of course not every cent of donations goes to actually helping, and yes, I bet there are some people out there that try to use the money for their own gains.

But look at the government? I can think of no greater example of misused citizens funds. From pork barrel politicians, to $300 toilet paper, we’ve all seen the effects of a group of people in charge of large sums of money.

I don’t think we should forget that, for a multitude of reasons, we didn’t all start out at the same place in life. If we all had the opportunities that were presented to most of these politicians, there would be a lot less poverty in our country, but the reality is that many people are born in to circumstances that aren’t easy to rise above.

avatar Caitlin

Boy that got me fired up!

avatar Anonymous

“people inconvenienced by bad weather”

Wow, the author has a gift for understatement!

avatar mmb

I don’t disagree with the author’s point of view on governmental responsibility but just because the government isn’t doing enough doesn’t let us off the hook. Seriously, no one above the age of 4 should be allowed to use any kind of argument that relies on the logic that “x isn’t doing it and therefore I shouldn’t have to either.”

avatar Anonymous

This is the social-ist viewpoint. Lets let the government take over everything, they are better at it right? If you want that world, Europe is already most of the way there.

I would argue the opposite. If the government wasn’t already taking so much of the private money under the promise of using it to help people and then flushing 80% of it down the toilet, the outpouring of private donations would dwarf what they are now. How much of the 200 billion that the government is planning to spend do you think is going to get wasted?

Here is a good test for who you think does a better job. If you were going to give 100 dollars to the relief effort would you sooner give it to a private organization that is down there or add it to the relief packages that the government is currently passing. Lets all donate some extra money to push that 200 billion dollar relief package from the government to 300 billion. Anyone want to sign up for that? Count me out.

avatar Guest

It’s stuff like this that really bothers me:


HUNDREDS of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned, Britain’s Daily Mirror reported Monday

avatar Oscar98

I disagree with this 100%. Government is inefficient at best, wasteful at worst, at
spending money. I should know… I’m a federal employee. I believe that most
people with money give to charities not for the tax incentives– but b/c it makes
them feel good OR makes them look good as a PR move. Either way, if wealthy
individuals are making more money, they will donate more money AND it will get to
those who need it faster. Sorry to get into religion here, but I believe the Bible
tells me to give to people in need, not governments. This guy is a communist. Last
time I checked, that has failed…

avatar Gamecock

Less taxes, more charitable contributions like D-Man said. I’m new here, so if you
guys don’t like links on your site, my apologies…

avatar D-Man

If that story is true, its so ironic because we complain about how our food aid to dictator controlled countries are intercepted by the warlords and powerful tyrannts and never reach the people.

That is so evil. We would never try to steal the food from the starving people. Instead we tie it up in red tape to protect the people and then destroy it.

Different means, different motives, same result.

What is the road to hell paved with again? Government paperwork maybe? :)