philanthropy.com 12 Jan, 2021 23:45 am

Our Democracy Is Faltering, but We Can’t Rely on Philanthropy Save It

Our Democracy Is Faltering, but We Can’t Rely on Philanthropy Save It
When private wealth and philanthropy continually come to the rescue, we lose sight of the benefits of a representative democracy in which taxes provide for the common good and elected representatives uphold and respect the democratic process.

During my 35 years in the field, encompassing nine presidential and countless local and midterm elections, I’ve watched our democracy become more dependent on private philanthropy and our civic infrastructure grow weaker as a result.While private philanthropy has a place in supporting civil society and advocacy organizations, public dollars must be invested in rebuilding and fortifying the foundations of a functioning democracy.All of these should be backed by public dollars, not private philanthropy.Unless private philanthropy supports the taxation and redistribution of wealth, it only preserves its power and stays in the unaccountable position of determining priorities for the rest of us.

Instead, our system allows wealthy donors to freely pour cash into elections, resulting in policies that increase the wealth gap and make our democracy more fragile and unbalanced.Skepticism grows when wealthy donors and a majority of Republicans oppose remedies such as the John R.

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