• Never Lend A Helping Hand.

    This is the meme wealthy folks like Mitt Romney love hearing their poorer conservative relations spout off. "Why that good for nothing negro's giving people who won't get a job free shit! Why can't hardworkin' folks like me get any breaks? Why give all the lazy bastards/spics/nig*CLANG* all the breaks?"

    If anyone's wondering, helping Americans remain on their feet and their heads above water isn't "taking other peoples shit," nor is money-making a zero-sum game, where giving to the poor unfairly takes from the wealthy. But the GOP knows how to twist the issue just to rile up people who can't stand their fellow poor or those blacks or Mexicans down the street getting freebies while they struggle and scrape by*.

    I think the main issue is that many wealthy Americans see taxation, especially for the purpose of assisting the poor, as a literal robbery of their fortunes. As they see it, they should be the only ones to decide when, where and how to dispense alms to the poor as they see fit and only if the poor successfully meet their beneficiaries' carefully constructed definition of poverty. For many, Americans would have to march deeper into a Dickensian existence before receiving any hopes of charity.

    Speaking of charity, eschewing government welfare for private charities isn't all that's cracked up to be. Charity giving fluctuates with the economy and this previous recession put a big dent in charitable giving:

    The stock market may be rebounding, but for charities the negative impact of the recession has only deepened over the past year, according to a survey released this week by the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consulting group in Boston.

    Ninety-three percent of charity leaders said their organizations are feeling the effects of the economic downturn, according to the survey, which updates similar surveys of more than 100 charity leaders that Bridgespan conducted in November 2008 and May 2009. A year ago, the share of charity leaders reporting that their groups had suffered from the downturn was 75 percent.

    Eighty percent of the charities surveyed last month said they had lost financial support, compared with 52 percent in 2008.

    Even as the economy showed signs of improvement this summer, many charities continued to struggle. More than 40 percent of charity leaders said their group's financial situation had worsened over the past six months. Only 15 percent said their financial status was improving.

    Charity executives have been forced to make some tough decisions. Nearly half said they had dipped into reserves to cope with declining revenue. More than 40 percent said their groups had laid off staff members, compared with only 28 percent in the 2008 survey.

    "For many nonprofit groups, the bulk of their costs are employees," says Sarah Sable, a Bridgespan consultant and a co-author of the report. "When you have cuts of greater than 20 percent, you can only do so much on the program side. Ultimately, you'll be forced to make some cutbacks in your staff."

    Rising demand and dwindling resources have put many charitable organizations against the wall. Without government welfare around, you can imagine the flood of needy Americans rushing in, only to see a damn-near dry pool of scant charity resources.

    And let's not go into religious charitable organizations. Many have prerequisites and conditions that many people might not be comfortable with.

    *Nevermind how many of these conservatives freely and quietly accept Social Security Disability payments, Medicaid subsidies and other forms of local and state assistance. The largest group of people currently on welfare today? White women. Even people with advanced college degrees are finding themselves with EBT food stamp cards.