Minimizing poverty is an honorable endeavor, if it is done the right way. Let’s compare 2 ways to reduce poverty.

(1) People willingly giving of their resources in the true spirit of charitable giving.

(2) People having their resources taken away and given to the poor.  

There is a BIG difference between these two approaches. The first is praiseworthy; the second is pernicious.

The City of Enoch and 1st century AD Book of Mormon people are excellent examples of number 1. According to the law of consecration, they willingly gave all of their resources and received back what was needed for their sustenance. Extra possessions were given to the poor and needy. Today we are not living the law of consecration, so we are not asked to give up all of our resources. Rather we are asked to sacrifice a portion of our resources by paying a generous fast offering and performing welfare service, etc. Consecration and sacrifice are praiseworthy ways of reducing poverty.

Now for the pernicious way - political socialism. The current Obama administration stated that it plans on spreading the wealth by raising taxes on the wealthy and redistributing that money to the lower classes. What could possibly be wrong with socialism designed to assist the poor and needy? Is it so wrong to take resources from the “haves” and give them to the “have nots?” The answer is yes. Forcible redistribution of wealth is contrary to the laws of God and the Constitution of the United States (see, for example, Elder Marion G. Romney, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1966). Ezra Taft Benson said “I fear for the future when . . . governments have used and are using American tax money to pay for socialism” (Elder Ezra Taft Benson, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1963).

So what should the current administration do to reduce poverty? In addition to its current emphasis on education and retraining (which are excellent approaches, by the way), it should encourage Americans to give. There should be a mass campaign on charitable giving, not political taking. 

Why is it so hard for our current administration to see that the best way to help the poor is through charitable giving? The answer is that they are crappy givers themselves. It is difficult to encourage charitable giving when you haven't caught the spirit of giving yourself.  

How much of your money did you give to charity last year?  Did you at least pay an honest tithe and a generous fast offering? If so you gave over 10% of your income to charity last year. Care to guess what percentage of Vice President Joe “Slick” Biden’s income went to charity over the last 10 years? If you guessed 12% you’re wrong. If wasn’t 10% either. It wasn’t even 5.0%. And not even 2.0%! According to a USA Today report, “Slick” gave a whopping 0.2% of his taxable income to charity over the last decade, about $369.00 per year. (Source:

We find the same sort of thing with Obama. According to a NY Times report, Obama gave very little to charity before running for the senate and White House. In fact, his charitable donations were usually about 1% of his taxable income. For example, in 2004 Obama gave 1.2% of his taxable income to charity.  His charitable donations only rose a few percentage points when it became politically expedient for him to give more. (Source:

The bottom line: Why does the current administration want to provide for the poor by expanding socialist programs? The answer is that because they don't give generously themselves, they can’t imagine others giving generously.  

Only a stingy giver thinks that in order to provide for the poor, you must take from others. 

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