Congressman Davy Crockett is criticized by a wise constituent regarding his use of taxpayer money for charity. Based on a true story. [ Not Yours To Give: credits: Dir: Brad D. Fisk/ James Webb/ 17 min/ Short Film/ Libertarianism 101, Law & Liberty, Anti-Socialism/ 1982]
This story about American icon Davy Crockett was originally published in Harper’s Magazine in 1867. The events recounted are true. The Mises Institute has reprinted the full text. This short film is one of a series of films produced by WRI Education, which also include The Incredible Bread Machine and Libra.
Inasmuch as it appears President Joe Biden just gave away a trillion dollars to college graduates by unilaterally “forgiving” their student loans, it’s worth underscoring the words of Horatio Bunce — who is featured in the film above as the constituent who gave Davy Crockett an earful regarding the danger of publicly-financed charity:
“The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.”