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Are taxes and charity equitable?
Washington Post ^ | August 18, 2012 | Rosalind S. Helderman

Posted on 08/19/2012 5:52:15 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

Are taxes a form of charitable donation?

Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney seemed to suggest that he might think so last week, when he responded to questions about how much he pays in taxes by suggesting that people should take into account his total contributions to the government and charities.

The comment was a quick one — a by-golly insistence that despite paying a relatively low tax rate on his vast income, the millions he has given to charity show that he’s not a greedy guy.

But experts who research public attitudes on philanthropy on both sides of the political spectrum said it was an inadvertently revealing moment, a brief window into the deep philosophical differences between how liberals and conservatives view government and society.

“Taxes are a form a of charity,” said Michael Tanner, a scholar at the Cato Institute who has studied philanthropy, explaining the conservative viewpoint. “If we think of the point of taxes, it’s not to be punitive. We tax people because there’s some use, some public good, for which they’re needed.”

He added that one reason a conservative such as Romney aims to push tax rates down is a fundamental belief that individuals make better choices about what society needs than government does: “A conservative might say, ‘I know of something in my local community where my dollars might serve a better purpose.’”

The flip side of the argument, the liberal side, is that the point of government is to provide a way for citizens to decide together what society needs and to get those things done.

“This is really the fundamental disagreement,” said Garrett Gruener, the founder of Ask.com, who advocates higher taxes for himself and other ultra-wealthy individuals as part of the group Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength.........................

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: charity; giving; taxes; welfare

1 posted on 08/19/2012 5:52:20 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
“This is really the fundamental disagreement,” said Garrett Gruener, the founder of Ask.com, who advocates higher taxes for himself and other ultra-wealthy individuals

This is really a topic worthy of discussion. When one is taxed heavier, one can less easily give to charity. I would rather give gladly at a local level than be extorted on a federal level. Plus there is nothing keeping these ultra-wealthy people from paying more taxes. They like to get on television and say I wish I could pay more. 15 minutes of fame whores. nothing more.

2 posted on 08/19/2012 5:59:41 AM PDT by BipolarBob (Biden: "HOPE and CHAINS for all 57 states".)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

>> a fundamental belief that individuals make better choices about what society needs than government does

That’s only part of it.

Another important point: when an individual gives charity in the name of God, God receives the glory and the recipient receives the message of love intended by the Almighty, which would tend to draw recipients of charity into His fold so that they might practice charity themselves.

When the government takes from some citizens to give to others, a whole different thought dynamic occurs. The recipient begins to think that they are “entitled” to “their portion” of the common pot. No God, no love, just a “fight for fairness”.


3 posted on 08/19/2012 6:09:13 AM PDT by Nervous Tick ("You can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.")
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To: BipolarBob
"Plus there is nothing keeping these ultra-wealthy people from paying more taxes. They like to get on television and say I wish I could pay more."

You nailed it there. The pious liberals pretend they would pay more taxes, but don't do so, even when able to check the "pay more" box on their IRS forms.

Yet, when faced with someone like Romney who actually gives substantial amounts to charitable institutions which are clearly more effective at charity than the government, they say "it doesn't count".

4 posted on 08/19/2012 6:10:55 AM PDT by norwaypinesavage (Galileo: In science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual)
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To: Nervous Tick; BipolarBob; norwaypinesavage

It seems to me that Big Government is the progressives’ god — and we all must be compelled to contribute to their religion in order to spread their doctrine and grow their congregation.


5 posted on 08/19/2012 6:22:51 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Nervous Tick

You have framed the debate perfectly. Excessive confiscatory taxes are a sin against charity.


6 posted on 08/19/2012 6:24:53 AM PDT by johniegrad
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
“If we think of the point of taxes, it’s not to be punitive. We tax people because there’s some use, some public good, for which they’re needed.”

Yeah. They keep the elite politicians living in power and unlimited luxury. Without our taxes, they'd lose their dictatorial authority, mansions, designer clothing, fine wines, caviar snacks, world wide vacations, and Delmonico steaks.

Charity is a gift from the heart. The money goes to those in need. (We can't have that nonsense, now can we?)

7 posted on 08/19/2012 6:29:59 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Taxes are NOT charity.

When I give to charity, it is my choice to be a benefactor to someone (or, ostensibly, some cause) in need.

Recalling 'as you have done for the least of these...', it is a Christian act (at least in my case), and to an extent, I can determine the likely benefactors of my gift, at least in a vague way.

No one is holding a gun to my head.

I am not forced to support causes or behaviours I fundamentally object to.

I am not beholden to contribute any more than I can afford, except by my conscience.

There is no earthly penalty for not ponying up for others, but there is great satisfaction in contributing to causes I feel are worthy.

Far more than 10% of what I give is undocumented, and does not benefit me for tax purposes (my accountant might think me a dummy, there, but there are other rewards greater than a tax deduction).

No Government agents will seek me out for failure to donate to a charity, and try to take whatever I may posess.

The difference is that between handing a couple of bucks to a panhandler versus being robbed at gunpoint. The latter is not a 'donation'.

There is no Constitutional authorization for the Government to act as my agent in any charitable endeavour, nor for the Government to act as a charity, and Government's invasion of the purview of charity has done much to damage legitimate efforts which existed prior to that expansion of government as has the increase in the demands made on the taxpayer as a result of that usurpation.

8 posted on 08/19/2012 6:33:08 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: concerned about politics

That’s about the size of it and people need to wake up.


9 posted on 08/19/2012 6:33:18 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Taxes are a governmental tool that liberals equate with charity, but in essence is only money tainted by the political whims of the ones in power.

Charity is love and grace.

The government just doesnt do love and grace.


10 posted on 08/19/2012 6:36:54 AM PDT by Delta 21 (Oh Crap !! Did I say that out loud ??!??)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

If a person is in need, and open my wallet to help him, that is charity.

If a person is in need, and a man with a gun and a badge says to me, “That person is in need. Open your wallet or else.”, that is something quite different.


11 posted on 08/19/2012 6:40:05 AM PDT by Palmetto Patriot (2010 All Over Again. Make it happen. Get Busy!)
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To: BipolarBob

When money is confiscated in the form of taxes, in a conservative administration those funds are to be used for the constitutionally mandated functions of government, or in the case of state and local taxes, for the provision of basic public services. It is when tax dollars are used to redistribute wealth to those who can not or will not earn it themselves that the line is drawn on moral grounds...The choice of who receives this assistance becomes one made by the general consensus as defined by laws that are enacted by a duly elected body, or by fiat when bureaucrats arbitrarily decide the beneficiaries. That is what we face now, and the latter must be banned or we are sunk as a nation.


12 posted on 08/19/2012 6:40:29 AM PDT by Shady (The Tea Party is the Party of the American People, Working and creating wealth in SPITE of OBAMA!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Taxes = coercive impersonal bureaucracy.

Charity = voluntary personal decisions.

It's one of the fundamental points made in de Tocqueville's Democracy in America and of course has huge implications about the kind of society we live in.

13 posted on 08/19/2012 6:40:41 AM PDT by Track9 (Ego undermines moral courage.)
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To: BipolarBob

Garrett Gruener is founder of Ask.com and a co-founder of Alta Partners, a venture capital firm. He was also a candidate for the 2003 California recall special election from the Democratic Party, finishing 28th in a field of 135 candidates with 2,562 votes.

He has been working for more than two decades in the fields of software development, systems engineering and corporate development. In 1982, he founded Virtual Microsystems, a communications software company that was later merged with a larger corporation. He also founded Ask Jeeves, now Ask.Com, an Internet search engine which is now part of IAC.

Garrett specializes in information technology and is on the board of directors of nCircle Network Security, Xelerated and Nanomix, where he also currently serves as acting CEO.

Gruener was one of the candidates to aggressively use the Internet to push his message, and also ran campaign ads in selected television markets.

However, he was concerned about eventual winner Arnold

Schwarzenegger winning and so in the last week of the campaign threw his support to Cruz Bustamante, the primary Democratic candidate. Gruener received $1.07 million in contributions to his committee.

Gruener is a class of ‘76 UCSD Alumus. He lives with his wife, attorney Amy Slater, and their daughter Dakota Gruener, in Berkeley.


14 posted on 08/19/2012 6:48:12 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I think that the reason leftists tend to equate taxes and charity is due to their belief that all good comes from the government, and the government is supposed to take care of all of us, especially those who can't take care of themselves. This is also why leftists tend to give less in charity, because it's not longer their responsibility. Sort of an "I gave at the office" attitude.

On the other hand, the more conservative one it, the greater the level of charitable giving, and the greater the belief that they are their brothers' keeper.

In short, it all comes down to responsibility. Leftists want no personal responsibility, while conservatives are willing to take it on.

Mark

15 posted on 08/19/2012 7:02:15 AM PDT by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
That’s about the size of it and people need to wake up.

When people are given unlimited power over other people, they start to lose their humanity. They become oppressors. Their testosterone levels goes up (both male and female) and they become cruel masters.

16 posted on 08/19/2012 7:02:33 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Government taxes is mandatory and not an efficient use of resources with corruption and wasteful spending. Handouts corrupts society like the war on poverty and often goes to political cronies.

Local and international organizations perform services that benefit both local and international communities on a voluntary basis, often without compensation for volunteers or officers.

Rotary clubs, for example, throughout the world provide many voluntary services locally and on an international stage has organized the elimination of 99% of polio in the world. Still working on the remainder. This will save significant dollars in health care costs for the future.

Taxes support the power structure and allows those in charge to spend other peoples money. Government gets involved in too many activities that should be private not public.


17 posted on 08/19/2012 7:03:13 AM PDT by ADSUM
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

We need to keep in mind that a majority of our taxes are FORCED charity, welfare.


18 posted on 08/19/2012 7:04:39 AM PDT by vet7279
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Taxes are taken from you by the barrel of a gun. Charity is given by you for the purpose you choose.

5.56mm

19 posted on 08/19/2012 7:07:24 AM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Estimated net worth - $340 million.

"This small monetary sacrifice is both an ethical and patriotic decision, made in the hopes of allowing the United States of America to continue to be a leader economically, politically, and morally," said Garrett Gruener, founder of Ask.com.

20 posted on 08/19/2012 7:14:06 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Matthew 6:3-4

3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Jesus promises that there is an eternal reward for charitable giving. If we help the poor via voluntary charity, we could be blessed. If that same money is instead taken from us by force via taxes, even if it is used exactly the same way to help the poor, and we are okay with the taxes and its purpose, we lose our reward.

Democrats steal our eternal reward to get votes.

21 posted on 08/19/2012 7:56:50 AM PDT by sportutegrl
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To: kcvl
Estimated net worth - $340 million.

Yep. They're all for higher taxes - as long as it doesn't affect them personally. I'll bet he uses a gazillion tax loopholes.

If he were to walk the talk, he'd have written a $300 million dollar check to the IRS by now.

Where's the check?

22 posted on 08/19/2012 8:01:10 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Seriously now, “giving” at the end of a gun is the moral equivalent as giving from the heart? We’ve descended so far that this is even a worthy topic of conversation? How pitiful.


23 posted on 08/19/2012 8:26:23 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

How should God approve that you take from Peter, and give this robbery to Paul, in the name of Christ?


24 posted on 08/19/2012 8:26:36 AM PDT by sima_yi ( Reporting live from the far North)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I watched Romney make the comment, it was when he said he paid 13%. I understood it to mean that it included taking the charitable deduction without which the rate would have been higher. Of course as an accountant I usually think in terms of the math and not morality when it comes to taxes.


25 posted on 08/19/2012 9:01:28 AM PDT by Rusty0604
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To: BipolarBob
“Taxes are a form a of charity,” said Michael Tanner, a scholar at the Cato Institute who has studied philanthropy, explaining the conservative viewpoint. “If we think of the point of taxes, it’s not to be punitive. We tax people because there’s some use, some public good, for which they’re needed.”

The naivete' shown by this statement is offensive, especially coming from the Cato Institute. Taxes are THE main way the economy is damaged badly enough for the same government that imposes the crushing taxes, to declare even more crushing taxes are needed to take care of the people impoverished by the crushing taxes. For a "scholar" not acknowledge this fundamental self-reinforcing cycle, with fully HALF the population on govenment support, is inexcusable.

26 posted on 08/19/2012 9:02:27 AM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: norwaypinesavage

I’ve had many conversations w/ some libs in the office regarding this topic.

Their only “point” is.....”no one is going to volunteer to pay more taxes”.

And I, in turn, say “well then they should shut the eff up if they can’t put their money where their mouth is.”

And I also bring up these people “crying to pay more taxes” are also the same ones who FIGHT from paying WHAT THEY OWE.

The only thing I get out of these conversations is these libs covet what others have.


27 posted on 08/19/2012 9:31:58 AM PDT by NoGrayZone (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Charity at the point of a gun is theft. Romney appears to have given well above that which was “required” of him; that’s charity.


28 posted on 08/19/2012 12:54:17 PM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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