Why Did We Get So Involved? (June 19, 2014)
For some, politics is a hobby. For others, it is a career. For us, it’s much more important than either of those two things. As we have just finished the “primary election season,” we wanted to share with you why we got so involved in some of our local and statewide races.
We believe that it is our responsibility, if possible, to try to leave this world better than how we found it. It’s why philanthropic giving has been such a priority for our family over the years. But charities can’t do it alone, and often times, they treat the symptom, not the underlying disease. If we want to make a sustainable difference in our communities, getting involved in politics is essential.
There was a piece written in the San Francisco Chronicle by David Crane last month that does a good job of explaining this philosophy. It was entitled, “Tithing to democracy – donate to well-meaning candidates,” and we’d like to share some excerpts that make the point:
- States’ governments spend $3.2 trillion per year on education, welfare, infrastructure, environment, etc. $600 billion is spent on K-12 education alone.
- In contrast, charities raise and spend only 1% of that total ($6 billion) for education and have no voice in setting education policy and regulations.
- The Robin Hood Foundation raises $75 million per year for social services, which sounds like a lot…but for perspective, California’s government has reduced social services spending by -$2 billion per year.
- The California state government will spend $240 billion dollars this year, educate 9 million students, write laws affecting 18.7 million workers and job seekers, incarcerate 187,000 prisoners, build & maintain roads, railways, parks & levees, and determine outlays for health, universities, courts, parks, the environment and welfare.
- While the expansive role of our state government is impressive, their track record is not: Since 2007, they’ve increased spending on salaries, pensions, debt & health care by +38 percent, cut spending on universities, courts, welfare and parks more than -20 percent, raised taxes and fees +30 percent, and allowed retirement debt to rise by +149 percent. Despite economic activity in some parts of the state that is the envy of the world, 25 percent of Californians live in poverty, the highest rate in the country.
Systemic and sustainable changes that will affect our poverty levels, economy, and education are dependent upon our government. And the effectiveness of our government is wholly dependent upon those we send to Sacramento to represent us. It’s crucially important. That’s why we’ve gotten so involved in politics. We hope you will too.
Entire article at this link: http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Tithe-to-democracy-donate-to-well-meaning-5484784.php