Last week on CNN I debated a liberal commentator who complained that the problem with the Trump budget blueprint is that it lacks “compassion” for the poor, children and the disabled. This woman went on to ask me how I could defend a budget that would cut Meals on Wheels, after-school programs, and special-ed funding, because without the federal dollars, these vital services would go away. This ideology that the government action is a sign of compassion is upside down and contrary to the Christian notion of charity. We all as individuals can and should act compassionately and charitably. We can volunteer our time, energy and dollars to help the underprivileged. We can feed the hungry and house the homeless. Most of us feel a moral and ethical responsibility to do so – to “do unto others.” And we do fulfill that obligation as Americans more than the citizens of almost any other nation. All the international statistics show Americans are the most charitable and the most likely to engage in volunteerism to help those in need. Whenever there is an international crisis – an earthquake, a flood, a war – Americans provide more assistance than those of any other nation. But government by its nature is not compassionate. It can’t be, because as George Washington reminded us, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force,” and a “fearful master.” Government can only spend a dollar to help someone when it forcibly takes a dollar from someone else. At its core, government welfare is predicated on a false compassion. This isn’t to say that government should never take collective action to help people. But these actions are based on compulsion, not compassion. Liberals are especially confused on this point. They believe that by supporting a government policy that takes money from one person and gives it to another is a sign of how compassionate and caring they are personally. It massages their consciences and egos. But why don’t they give the money themselves if they feel so strongly about the benefit of a program? It isn’t as if there aren’t enough rich, liberal millionaires and billionaires. Just ask Hillary Clinton for her list of donors and the billions and billions add up quickly. If every so-called “patriotic millionaire” would simply donate half of their wealth to serving others, we could solve so many of the social problems in this country without a penny of new debt or taxes. My friend Arthur Brooks, the president of American Enterprise Institute, has noted in his fabulous book “Who Really Cares,” conservatives donate more than the self-proclaimed compassionate liberals. The liberal creed seems to be: We care so much about poor people, climate change, income inequality, protecting the environment or whatever the cause of the day, that there is no limit to how much money they are willing to take from my wallet to solve these problems. Let’s take Meals on Wheels. Is this a valuable program to get a nutritious lunch or dinner to infirm senior citizens? Of course. Do we need the government to fund it? Of course not. I have participated in Meals on Wheels and other such programs, making sandwiches or delivering hot lunches. And many tens of thousands of others donate their time and money every day for this worthy cause. Why is there any need for government here? The program works fine on its own. Liberals say there isn’t enough money to help everyone. But turning this over to government only makes people act less charitably and leads to an “I gave at the office” mentality that leads to less generosity. It also subjects these programs to federal rules and regulations that could cripple the program. Why must the federal government be funding after school programs – or any school programs for that matter? One of my favorite stories of American history dates back to the 19th century when Col. Davey Crockett, who fought at the Alamo, served in Congress. In a famous incident, Congress wanted to appropriate $20,000 (a lot of money back then) to fire victims. Col. Crockett took to the House floor and delivered his famous speech – as relevant today as then. He said: “I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to so appropriate a dollar of the public money. … “Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.” By the way, Davey Crockett was the only member of Congress who donated personally to the fire victims, while the do-gooders in Congress who pretended to be so caring and compassionate closed their wallets. It all goes to show that liberal do-gooders were as hypocritical then as they are today.