And thank goodness we do, because charity does things better. I notice the difference on my way to work. In my neighborhood the "Men in Blue" -- that's what they call themselves -- clean streets. I wondered who the "Men in Blue" were. Day after day they did menial work energetically ... even enthusiastically.
It turns out that they are mostly former street people, ex-alcoholics, and drug addicts. A private charity, the Doe Fund (LINK: http://www.doe.org/), puts them to work while trying to teach them to be responsible and stay clean.
One year later, 54 percent of the "Men in Blue" are drug-free and employed. That's twice the success rate of other city shelters.
I'm still not sure exactly what makes Doe Fund successful, but they clearly have discovered something. I never see government workers clean anything with enthusiasm. Doe Fund workers do. It's why I voluntarily give them some of my money.
Charity almost always does it better.
America is a uniquely charitable country. So when you hear that "Americans are cheap," just remember: We gave $260 billion in charity last year. That's almost $900 for every man, woman, and child.
Of course some people give nothing. Some people are cheap. Which raises the question: Who gives and who doesn't? I'll report on that in my next column.
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