That’s Called Charity

There was a recent story in the Red Star about Comcast’s new program that allowed students to get online access at a greatly reduced rate. As usual somebody is complaining:

I see that Comcast is making a big splash on your editorial pages (“Comcast helps poor get online,” Short Takes, Sept. 15).

Why don’t you give the credit where it is due — to the other Comcast customers who pay full price every month?

The ones who receive their bills and say, “Hey, hon, Comcast raised the rates again.”

Lower access fees, no equipment rental fees, computer vouchers for the poor– full-paying customers are the ones who gave away all these niceties.

Are we really to believe that Comcast is not passing the costs along?


What Edward doesn’t seem to understand is that this concept is known as charity. Personally I’m all for Comcast’s new service so long as they aren’t receiving any government subsidy to provide it and I’m a paying Comcast customer. I realize that programs such as this aren’t free and customers such as myself are likely paying for the offset but as it’s a means of giving voluntarily I’m all for it.

Unlike the government Comcast hasn’t put a gun to my head and said that I will pay more money to provide subsidized service to those who can’t afford the standard Comcast service. Comcast has said they will provide this subsidized service and I’m more than welcome to either continue using Comcast or find another Internet provider. If Mr. McHugh is unhappy with the possibility that some of his money may be going to provide cheaper Internet access to families who can’t afford Comcast’s standard service then he can demonstrate his unhappiness by using a different service provider.

Unless there is a government subsidy involved anytime a company gives money or subsidized products or services it comes from the profits they obtain through their customers. When Glock writes a big check to veteran associations that money originated from paying customers. When Apple matches employee donations to charities that money also originates from paying customers. If you believe you’re paying too high of a price for your good or service due to the manufacturer’s or provider’s charitable donations then you can simply stop doing business with that company.

I’m a huge fan of voluntary charity and it may surprise many to learn that I donate money to various causes that I support. The problem I have is when an entity like the government puts a gun to my head and forces me to give money to causes regardless of my opinion.