trump's budget
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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