Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Faith-based initiative

This WaPo article summarizes this report, which provides grist for any number of mills. On the one hand, there are those who argue that what the Bush Administration’s "faith-based initiative is really all about is de-funding social programs and dumping responsibility for the poor on the charitable sector." The study shows that some categories of social spending declined from 2002 to 2004. Hence while the faith-based share of the pie remained the same (roughly 18%), the pie got some $230 million smaller over those three fiscal years.

Others could point to evidence that more groups shared in the federal largesse, indicating the increasing vitality of the grassroots and a salutary movement away from the usual suspects to smaller, perhaps more innovative groups closer to the people they help.

Stanley Carlson-Thies observes that the relatively constant faith-based share

"gives the lie to alarmists" who think the administration is funneling vast sums to churches.


"Look at the huge percentage of money that continues to go to secular organizations," said Carlson-Thies, who formerly worked in the White House faith-based office. "The image that there’s this Bush push that’s going to turn the government into a religious apparatus -- if people think that that’s what’s happening, they’re wrong."

Jim Towey, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, doesn’t like the study at all:

The study did not count grant-making programs that were created after 2002 and ignored such programs as Head Start, which he said was the second-largest source of federal funds for religious organizations, after the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 housing program for the elderly poor.


"They have picked rotten cherries and come up with a rotten pie," Towey said. "They took a very small sample of programs and grants and are drawing conclusions that are completely inaccurate."


Towey said the White House has been collecting growing amounts of data on grants each year, beginning with two federal agencies in 2002, five in 2003, seven in 2004 and 10 in 2005. When it issues its report for 2005 in March, he said, "we’ll look at 25,000 grants in just one year" and "will show there’s been an increase every year in the category of competitive, nonformula grants for social services."

I’ll reserve final judgment until I see the White House report, though I would take issue with those who measure the character of a government’s "compassion" (as if a government can have compassion) simply by the amount of money it spends.

And while I’m at it, here’s a commentary on the state of the faith-based initiative that doesn’t just look at money.

Hat tip: Get Religion.

Discussions - 5 Comments

"I would take issue with those who measure the character of a government’s "compassion" (as if a government can have compassion) simply by the amount of money it spends."

What kind of issue? Come on, you can’t be against funding for the poor.... when you say this..."On the one hand, there are those who argue that what the Bush Administration’s "faith-based initiative is really all about is de-funding social programs and dumping responsibility for the poor on the charitable sector." But you imply that you would also take issue with this and disagree that this is a good thing... so which is it?

Even the (republican?) White House hurries to argue that it is spending more.....

Comment 2 by John Lewis

Even the (republican?) White House hurries to argue that it is spending more.....

Gee ... is that at issue?!!

John,

All I meant by the comment you cited is that I don’t agree that more is always better. It is possible, is it not, to throw money at a problem without considering how it can be spent effectively, not to mention whether and to what extent the expenditures actually might harm the intended beneficiaries?

The "de-funding" comment came from the article, and is not a sentiment I endorse, merely one I note.

I would like to propose not to hold off until you earn big sum of cash to order different goods! You can get the loans or just collateral loan and feel yourself free

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