Private vs. Government Aid for Tsunami Victims

The Ayn Rand Institute has published an op-ed, below, arguing that any help for Tsunami victims in Southeast Asia should come from private, not government, coffers.
Is such private fundraising really a practical solution? Consider this: alone has already raised well over $9 million (from 124,000 separate donors) in private funding for the Tsunami victims.
The money will be donated to the American Red Cross, which, according to at least one government source, is the same organization that will receive the initial funding from the U.S. government.

U.S. Should Not Help Tsunami Victims

By David Holcberg
As the death toll mounts in the areas hit by Sunday’s tsunami in southern Asia, private organizations and individuals are scrambling to send out money and goods to help the victims. Such help may be entirely proper, especially considering that most of those affected by this tragedy are suffering through no fault of their own.
The United States government, however, should not give any money to help the tsunami victims. Why? Because the money is not the government’s to give.
Every cent the government spends comes from taxation. Every dollar the government hands out as foreign aid has to be extorted from an American taxpayer first. Year after year, for decades, the government has forced American taxpayers to provide foreign aid to every type of natural or man-made disaster on the face of the earth: from the Marshall Plan to reconstruct a war-ravaged Europe to the $15 billion recently promised to fight AIDS in Africa to the countless amounts spent to help the victims of earthquakes, fires and floods–from South America to Asia. Even the enemies of the United States were given money extorted from American taxpayers: from the billions given away by Clinton to help the starving North Koreans to the billions given away by Bush to help the blood-thirsty Palestinians under Arafat’s murderous regime.
The question no one asks about our politicians’ “generosity” towards the world’s needy is: By what right? By what right do they take our hard-earned money and give it away?
The reason politicians can get away with doling out money that they have no right to and that does not belong to them is that they have the morality of altruism on their side. According to altruism–the morality that most Americans accept and that politicians exploit for all it’s worth–those who have more have the moral obligation to help those who have less. This is why Americans–the wealthiest people on earth–are expected to sacrifice (voluntarily or by force) the wealth they have earned to provide for the needs of those who did not earn it. It is Americans’ acceptance of altruism that renders them morally impotent to protest against the confiscation and distribution of their wealth. It is past time to question–and to reject–such a vicious morality that demands that we sacrifice our values instead of holding on to them.
Next time a politician gives away money taken from you to show what a good, compassionate altruist he is, ask yourself: By what right?
UPDATE: More on this subject from Terence Corcoran at Canada’s National Post:

If there’s an emerging lesson in the aftermath of the tsunami, it is this: Beware of aid efforts that must be trumpeted in press releases and hyped at news conferences. The bulk of world relief to tsunami victims, soaring to hundreds of millions of dollars, had been registered by private agencies collecting donations from individuals who sought no public recognition, issued no media release and made no effort to get their names into the papers. It was only after it became obvious thousands, if not millions, of individuals wanted to help that the world’s governments — in Ottawa and Washington and elsewhere — suddenly saw an opportunity. Absurdly, Ottawa announced it would “match” the private donations of individual Canadians — as if Ottawa got the money from some magic fountain behind Parliament Hill rather that from taxes on the same individuals who had already volunteered.