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Opinion/Philanthropy Journal – Under siege, charity shines

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By Todd Cohen

Without intending it, George W. Bush is spurring charity.

Billing himself a “compassionate conservative” and vowing to speed government dollars to charities, Bush instead robs the poor to feed the rich.

He doles out huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, while gutting social services for the most vulnerable.

And he is mute when Congress cuts funds to charities like AmeriCorps that put young people to work for those in need, yet he would spend more on religious charities that will not hire some people because of their faith or race.

After Sept. 11, 2001, instead of launching an aggressive campaign to enlist Americans in a massive effort to give, volunteer and sacrifice in fighting the huge social ills we face, Bush asked us to shop and travel.

He did invest billions of our tax dollars to wage war, and has left it to charities to clean up the social chaos the war left in Iraq.

As Americans celebrate our birthday, Bush sheds light on the critical role charity must play in our democracy.

Our form of government aims to curb those who would use their power to keep us from living the way we choose.

Government commands vast resources it could use to give a hand to the most vulnerable among us.

Yet as Bush shows, we cannot count on government, but must count on one another.

Liberty in the end depends on charity, the act of people helping people help themselves.

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