While charitable giving is important regardless of what services the government provides, we should always investigate the charities we're giving to. The return on the contribution is in many cases far less than the return on contribution we make in the form of tax dollars. (And the dollar amount of contributions to charities I suspect is far less than the dollar amount from tax dollars, as well.) http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/11/failing-to-serv.html In the last two years, generous Americans answering appeals to help wounded and paralyzed veterans have given more than $464 million to charities that have been given an F in a new report card from a leading charity watchdog group. Those failing charities include the National Veterans Services Fund, of Darien, Conn., which took in more than $6 million in contributions last year supposedly to help veterans' families. It got a report grade of F from the American Institute of Philanthropy, which says the charity gave out only two percent of its money for charity. ... Of the 27 military and veterans' charities reviewed by Borochoff's group, 13 were rated F, including the Amvets National Service Foundation, the Army Emergency Relief Fund, Freedom Alliance, the National Veterans Services Fund, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Services Foundation and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. ... But according to their analysis, the American Institute of Philanthropy says of the $70 million Help Hospitalized Veterans took in last year, only 31 percent went to the actual charitable cause. The rest was mainly overhead and fundraising costs, meaning a grade of F.