Friday, January 12, 2007

Surge or Rage? Guns or Butter?

From the Stanford Social Innovation Review

Nonprofits across the country are scrambling for charitable dollars because recent experience has taught them not to depend on government funds to address public problems. Economist Arthur Brooks used The Wall Street Journal (a strange choice of vehicle, it seems to me) to advise nonprofits to rely more on private contributions than on government “subsidies,” suggesting that tax-fueled funding is undependable when it comes to paying for human services and meeting societal needs; it seems the money just isn’t always there. Or is it?

Surprisingly, even while handing out more than a trillion dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest among us in recent years, the Republican-controlled Congress passed enough off-budget special appropriations to pay for about 50 years of HeadStart for each of the million or so kids enrolled in that program. These same appropriations could cover about 16 years of medical insurance for every child living in poverty in the U.S.; or pay four-year state tuition for every undergraduate at every U.S. college and university--and still have a bit left over to send some on to grad school.

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