Friday, March 27, 2009

Helping the less fortunate

What’s Your Favorite Charity?

Several of the folks who criticized my essay, “I’m Tired” suggested that I’m a typical Republican, well-to-do, and with no compassion for the less fortunate. They said that rather than “just complaining,” I should do something to help others.

Of course, the stereotype of Uncaring Conservatives so beloved by the left has been well debunked by researchers, most recently and thoroughly by professor Arthur C. Brooks:

“In Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism (Basic Books), Arthur C. Brooks finds that religious conservatives are far more charitable than secular liberals, and that those who support the idea that government should redistribute income are among the least likely to dig into their own wallets to help others.

“Some of his findings have been touched on elsewhere by other scholars, but Mr. Brooks, a professor of public administration at Syracuse University, breaks new ground in amassing information from 15 sets of data in a slim 184-page book (not including the appendix) that he proudly describes as "a polemic."

“‘If liberals persist in their antipathy to religion,’ Mr. Brooks writes, ‘the Democrats will become not only the party of secularism, but also the party of uncharity.’”

Here’s the full article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

It turns out that Conservatives help the less fortunate from their own pockets, while Liberals prefer the Robin Hood approach, taking money from others to help the causes they like. (Liberals say they prefer “science” and “data” until presented with data like this, or data about tax cuts, free trade and the economy. Then they prefer to go with what their gut tells them.)

My wife and I, of course, have the lavish wealthy-conservative lifestyle that liberals love to criticize. Not only does our 1,000 square foot apartment have two bedrooms, but it has a half bath as well as a full bath. To add to the luxury, there’s a coin laundry right in the building, just down one flight of stairs. Sure, we’d like to have a garage for the Chicago winters, to keep our 4-Cyl 2002 Toyota covered. It has over 100k miles on it, and we both depend on it for our commute. But we are content to live the simple life, much like Al Gore, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, the Clintons, the Kerrys, Michael Moore and George Soros.

Our current major charity, unfortunately, is that we are fully supporting two households, hoping that our daughter will finish college and be able to support our granddaughter, now 8, before we can no longer work.

And friends biking-for-this or running-for-that or walking-for-something-else know we are good for a touch, for a good cause.

Despite the costs of both households, and giving to the church when we can get there (we are out of town weekends a lot on business or visiting the granddaughter), we try support some other charities, with modest contributions, as we can. They are pretty personal, and conservative readers will have their own, but I list them in case some of my liberal readers are looking for something good to support by spreading their own wealth around.

Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
Helping Marines wounded and disabled in the wars. We also give to individual vets when we can.

Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
Provides Christmas for thousands of disadvantaged kids.

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
For the kids of fallen Marines and Corpsman.

The Vietnam Healing Foundation
Helps disabled ARVN soldiers who were our allies, who get no help from the communist government, as well as Vietnamese kids.

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

American Diabetes Association

Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation

I invite readers to post their favorite charities in the comment section below. We rich conservatives must give what we can, with what we have left after the liberals take their chunk in taxes to give to their causes, such as public art that they like but won’t pay for, and public TV & Radio carrying programs liberals prefer, but don’t want to pay for themselves.


  1. I would like to post "I'm tired' on every bulletin board in every post office, courthouse and public facility in the United States. I would like to see it on all the banners that run across the bottoms of our news screens. I wonder how many would actually read it. A friend sent it in my e-mail and I'm forwarding it to everyone on my list. Thank YOU, first for your service to our country and second, for being so candid. God Bless you and all who think like you and especially those who have the guts to stand up and say so. Mary Fricke

  2. I just read "I'm Tired" (forwarded to me by my dad, an Air Force vet), and decided to check out your blog. I'm glad I did. I can't say I agree with you on everything, but I think mostly your comments are dead on.

    Incidentally, other than my church, my favorite charity is the Veterans Guest House here in Reno, NV. You can read more abut it here, but in short, it's a place where the families of veterans can stay while thier loved one is at the VA, at little or no cost. This way, families don't have to compete with tourists for hotel rooms, or worse, stay someplace crawling with methamphetamine addicts.

    Anyway, I am thouroughly enjoying your blog.
    Keep up the good work!


  3. Being poor is bearable until Christmas arrives ...
    No parent should ever have to explain why Santa didn't come to their home, and the Bedford, Virginia, community is making sure that Christmas comes in to all homes:

    Melissa from Bedford

  4. GySgt Taylor BattenMarch 28, 2009 at 10:11 AM

    Hello sir, I am GySgt Taylor Batten. We loved your 'I'm tired' spot and we have spread it around to everyone we know.

    I would like to add to this list. I have seen first hand the work they do and they do make a difference!

    Keep attacking!

  5. The USO is one I give to. It is NOT a government agency.
    "Whether its helping a young soldier find her way in a foreign airport... counseling a child whose parents are both overseas... or providing a place of refuge and a chance to call home for troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Korea: the USO delivers a touch of home to military personnel and their families at a time when it’s most needed and most welcomed."

  6. Hey Tartan. YOU ROCK!!! Just finished reading "I'm Tired" and forwarded the link to several like-minded friends. It is nice to see someone so eloquently express an opinion that addresses the issues without candy coating them. Keep it up!


  7. Hello Mr. Hall,

    Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for your charitable spending habits. I love your blog. May God bless you. Check out Take the "good person" test!:)

  8. Thank you, sir, for your service/protection to our great country. Please see and take the "good person" test! God bless you.

  9. Having a mentally and physically handicapped sister, I have always been a fan of the Special Olympics. Even if you don't have money to donate, you can always donate your time to this worthy cause. And the participants are some of the happiest people on the planet. You will never feel more appreciated!


    Navy-Marine Corps Relief.

    Granted, it's sailors and marines for sailors and marines, but for this active duty girl, it's the one organization that I'm more than willing to pour a good amount of my tiny little paycheck into. Nothing like the warm fuzzy of knowing that your funds helped a sailor get off his ship to visit his family in times of need, or that the families of my brothers and sisters in the service received much-needed aid in Katrina's aftermath.

    ET1 (SW/AW)

  11. We're one of those wealthy conservative selfish type families as well. My husband and I and our six kids live in a three bedroom 1400 sq ft house way out in the country in North Idaho. After the government has taken their 50% of our $50,000 a year pay check we give 10% of the gross to our church (which uses 100% of that money to serve people directly both around the world and right in our own community). The rest of our charity is mostly in the form of service rather than dollars. Both my husband and I serve as volunteer leaders in the Boy Scouts of America. My husband is also a volunteer fire fighter in our community. We've also been volunteer coaches in youth sports for our kids teams.

  12. I'm tired of having my money go to CEO's of oil companies and wall street company bonuses, why are AIG and others being rewarded for their companies failing after taxpayers bailed them out? I don't think this particular travesty was mentioned in the "I'm tired" letter emailed to me.

  13. I'm working to create a national fast on 9/11 to honor the significance of the day. Folks choose to go without food and donate the money they would have spent to the charity they choose.

    I know, I'm full of projects. But hey, I'm in the business of trying to save the world... Wanna come along?

    9/11 National Fast

    Citizen, Patriot, Veteran

  14. I suppose your single parent daughter is not taking any kind of public assistance since you are so opposed to it and you are providing all her groceries, etc. But of couse, your tired. Too many parents are teaching their children to live off others. They need to be responsible for themselves.

  15. I have often had the same argument with my "liberal" or "democrat" friends. The great thing is that I have friends that are open to discussion and banter and quite frankly many of them concede and then rethink their position when I explain the same concept. While they want to assume that "save the world" type things are only reserved for them I point out that it may indeed be a set of causes that resonate with both sides of the fence, but that the fiscal conservatives are less likely to force the "upper echelon" to pay for the whole pie, not that they don't want to help. In fact, one day when speaking about recycling issues I was being berated for not living in a forced recycling neighborhood (which I can agree is a bit odd,) I pointed out that they needed to remember that it was us terrible people "with money" that funded technology to make recycling a possibility and also us terrible "conservative entrepreneurs" that consistently fund technology and science ( and in many cases set up the companies to make this stuff happen) so we DO indeed help out the cause - and in this case, probably with more impact that the 100 water bottles that she could recycle in a year. Therefore, in some cases, we do MORE. And we do with OUR money, not everyone elses.

    Anyway, I'd also like to add to "anonymous" that it's interesting you assume that his single parent daughter is without a job - maybe that's more introspect banter.

  16. I've thought for MANY years that welfare should be taken care of by churches, synagogues, mosques, etc., and taken out of the hands of government. Like Michelle in Idaho, I give a full 10% to my church. (I have a feeling she and her family are LDS, as I am.) But I also give to the Boy Scouts of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America (by way of a Thank You to our service men and women for their sacrifices), the local Food Bank, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, my favorite classical music radio station (Univ of Oregon's KWAX-FM), and to the Special Olympics. And when the Spirit says it's OK, I'll hand a few dollars to the man or woman on the street corner. With the downturn in the economy, I see more of those who have lost their jobs, homes, and hope on the street corners.

    Thank you for asking us to share our giving habits. I am a compassionate conservative and have been all of my life. I do believe people should stand on their own two feet, if they are able. If they cannot, then I don't have any problem with helping when I am able.

    Keep up the good work and thank you for your service as a Marine. God bless you and yours.


  17. Another good charity is the Families of the Wounded Fund

  18. I am always amazed when I read that MS is the poorest state in the Union but we are 1st in giving. I live on social security and a very small pension - $1600/month - before my mortage is taken out, my utilities are paid, my taxes are paid, food is purchased, gas put in my 1998 car (over 139K miles on it), my insurances paid (house, health, medicare (did you know you will pay at least $96.40/month for Medicare once you retire - that was a unexpected surprise - just another expense I hadn't planned on), my IRA has been cut in half by the economy & there is not alot left any longer etc. And I still have to maintain this house (a service call, just to *come to the door* is $75 without doing a thing - the labor, parts, time all are added to that (bless the honest contractor or business though!) and I simply pay them a little each month til they are paid off. My AC repair took me 6 months to pay off $246. that trip. But he was patient and he didn't charge me interest. I am honest and he was going to be paid even if I couldn't do it in one fell swoop. But I WILL pay my bills. My now departed father was a plumbing contactor and having customers be honest and paying their bills & not expecting the government to bail them out kept my daddy and mother afloat. I am doing my part now, too.

    But my daddy taught us to give to others. Sometimes I do it by cooking and by tithe. I can't imagine not giving - God has given greatly to me, although its not always with $$$. Its still enough - He never leaves me starving or without a roof over my head. Most of all, He never leaves me.

    But after going through Katrina, having 3 contactors walk out after I paid them - one had worked for me for 2 yrs and I trusted him totally! (it was only later I discovered he had been in prison for 17 years 'for taking something from someone').... I still need the things left undone to be completed, the shoddy work repaired and I have to remember that God says we are not to be prideful. So, when my church has offered to repair the soffits the contractor poorly constructed and lied to me about why they looked like they were falling down - I was grateful. I am still grateful. I still have doorknobs not on my doors, holes in the walls and ceiling, recessed lighting now falling out of the ceiling (this was from the 2- yr-known contractor who still managed to cheat me)... but my church just called this week saying a group was coming in to help people - did I need help? There is a part of me that wants to say 'no' because I feel like I trusted too easily and caused my own problems - but would I give up choosing to trust others because of a few bad apples; no. So, I will ask for help again and I will give back in whatever way I can.

    I just wish $1600 went further! My best friend is on disability and she lives on less than $800 a month and cannot work. Fortunately her home is paid for (although was totally rebuilt by faith based groups after Katrina! God is good!) but she relies on the goodness of God providing and he never fails her, either.

    So, we are conservatives, my friend and I but we are scared of what is going to happen when our new president starts taking out more taxes, potentially cutting Medicare, social security, etc. How can we live on less. My IRA will be gone one of these days and I will have absolutely NO backup. I remind myself all the time: God is faithful and has shown himself to be that way in good times and bad so I need not worry. He says over and over, "Fear not!" so I choose not to fear. The faith based organizations have shown the face of God each time I see what they have done on the MS Gulf Coast. God is all colors and all face structures. The next time you see a bell ringer outside Home Depot at Christmas time, you see God standing before you. Give. Don't forget: give. That's what we do here in Mississippi.

  19. How sad that "Anonymous" failed to read the part in your missive that stated that you own the condo your daughter is living in. How sad that "Anonymous" failed to read also that your daughter is a student, trying to get an education so she can make a better life for herself. How sad that "Anonymous" assumes that a single mother MUST be on welfare. How sad that "Anonymous" hides behind "Anonymous".

  20. I salute you!!! I too am tired. I am just a youngster compared to you, im only 62 but I too was a child at war in Vietnam 1966-1969 I have aquired a great taste for TEA and will be attending at least one TEA PARTY on the 15th. I cling to my guns and my bible and I am sure there will be many many more with me on the 15th that will be doing the same. We need not wait till then nor stop after that our voice and our vote must and will be heard in DC. Look for a Gitmo detainee deposited in a theater near you. Coming Soon.

  21. I am not tired...not yet...but maybe charged by
    new knowledge. I was never a politcal person, until this past election. I have become passionate and see the real need for a real reaction to what is becoming of our GREAT NATION.

    These words spoken I am sure are shared by many,
    but I think a major reaction is needed. Many people share the values, and to just talk of how we feel is not enough. We need to react, to make a significant impact. In the Constitution it states, the government is by the people, and if it gets out of hand the people have a right to set it straight and over throw it. This time is near....we need to rally, we need to unite.
    We need a Who, When,and a Where...we all know What the problem is, we all know Why.....