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WaPo Misses the Point on Meals on Wheels

Voluntary contributions to Meals on Wheels, a charity that delivers food to poor seniors, have spiked since the White House announced a budget reducing funding for the program, according to the Washington Post:

Senior citizens in one suburb could see Meals on Wheels deliveries cut in half if President Trump’s budget cuts become reality, a spokeswoman for the network told CNN, as it anticipated “deep cuts” to a nonprofit that serves 2.4 million Americans.

But private donations have surged in response, a spokeswoman for the group told The Washington Post. The national office has taken in more than $100,000 since the White House announced plans to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program on Thursday — compared with about $1,000 on a normal day.

The Post presents this as evidence of the savagery of planned Republican budget cuts. In fact, is an argument for getting the federal government out of the Meals on Wheels business.

MoW is an excellent program. It performs a much needed service. And American civil society is perfectly capable of keeping it going without federal dollars. Eighty-five percent of the group’s funding already comes from private sources, according to the New York Times, and state and local governments also pitch in.

There are times when a need is so overwhelming that only federal government is up to the task. At times like that—wars, depressions, natural disasters—Americans have a strong federal government and should use it.

But the goal of American governance shouldn’t be to replace private charity and public self-organization with bureaucratic structures and legal mandates. That will hollow out the vitality that makes America work.

Local communities should build, fund and develop the institutions that serve local needs; that’s what they are doing, and will continue to do, in the case of this charitable program.

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  • ARMSTROB

    For an article that put some work ( research) into their effort go to National Review and read:
    Outrage On Wheels by Walter Olson. Why do I pay for my membership here?

  • PCB

    This phenomena (uptick in private donations to MoW) hollows-out the Progressive argument as to why overly robust government social programs are not only justified, but vital.

  • Andrew Allison

    You omitted the fact that the money the President has proposed withholding represents just 3% of the MoW budget. That the WaPo uncritically parrots the suggestion that delivers could be cut in half due a 3% reduction is just one more example of how low the publication has gone.

  • BigGuy

    Bureaucratic structures and legal mandates produce fairer and better results at less costs than relying upon private charity.

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