Skip to comments.To Hell With Charity? (Part 2 of 2)
Posted on 12/24/2012 11:15:25 PM PST by Kaslin
Imagine it's Christmas Eve in your local church and the offering plate is passed to help a local orphanage build an addition because there's "no room in the inn." But just when you're about to give generously to the cause, you recall that politicians in Washington recently voted to reduce tax deductions for charitable giving.
Would you give as much under reduced charitable deductions?
Despite the fact that charitable deductions are the 10th-most popular tax break (nearly 40 million Americans claim them annually), those in Washington are willing to gamble that you're going to give as generously in the future without it. But is their roll of the dice with your wages a good one?
Here are four reasons that reducing charitable tax deductions in any form would be bad business for America:
1) Reducing charitable deductions would be the wrong solution at the wrong time (bad economy) to fix our country's budgetary problems.
Reducing, capping or eliminating charitable deductions would yield a minuscule amount of revenue compared with the massive increases in the debt, deficits and future expenditures brought on by the Obama administration -- with Obamacare, for example. Even according to the White House, reducing charitable deductions would add only $239 billion between 2013 and 2017 to the federal income.
As Seth Giertz, the University of Nebraska economics professor who co-wrote the Congressional Budget Office's May 2011 analysis of options for the charitable giving deduction, told ABC News, "given the fiscal problems we're looking at, you can't just scale back the charitable deduction. Problems are just too big for that."
2) Reducing charitable deductions would trickle down, tying the hands of the wealthy, crippling charities and hurting the middle class and the poor, who often are managing nonprofits or the benefactors of them.
As Stephen L. Carter, professor of law at Yale University and the author of "The Violence of Peace: America's Wars in the Age of Obama," wrote, "maybe in a perfect world nobody would worry about whether gifts to a particular organization were tax-deductible. In the imperfect world in which we live, however, charities fight to preserve their 501(c)(3) status, and with good reason: The deductibility of contributions affects people's willingness to give."
Carter added: "But the argument once more misunderstands the purpose and function of the deduction. Its principal beneficiaries are not those who give, but those who receive. If I donate money directly to a local soup kitchen rather than requiring it to wade through the layers of paperwork and volumes of regulation required for obtaining even the mere chance of a direct government subsidy, everyone is better off -- especially those who eat there."
3) Charitable tax deductions were granted to motivate Americans to contribute and build up the public good -- something needed now probably more than at any point in America's history.
The charitable tax deduction was first enacted during the War Revenue Act of 1917 -- four years after the income tax was legislated and taxes increased to cover World War I costs -- for the very reason that legislators worried that wealthier Americans would not give to charity after paying their taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center and ABC News.
The thought behind the deduction, as explained by then-Rep. Carl Curtis, R-Neb., was that charitable giving should be "exempt from taxation" for the very reason that it represents "an expenditure for the public good."
4) The additional costs of reducing charitable contributions would be that Americans would have less freedom over their finances and less incentive to give to charities, while the federal government's power would grow exponentially.
As Carter eloquently explained, "Democrats and Republicans alike have come to refer to the charitable deduction's 'cost' to the government. This language, however, only makes sense if one concedes that government has first call on every dollar earned in America. It isn't obvious why this starting point is the correct one. It is just as easy to begin with the proposition that the earner owns the money, in which case it is the removal of the deduction -- or the tax itself -- that is a cost."
That is why I said last week that this president and his administration are taking their cue not from the best interests of the American public but from the playbook of their coach, Saul Alinsky, who encouraged this narcissistic, dog-eat-dog dogma: "To hell with charity. The only thing you get is what you're strong enough to get -- so you had better organize."
In the very midst of the season of giving, the last thing we should be discussing is transforming America and Americans into the scrooges of charity. What would our forefathers say to an America that, instead of pondering ways to help charities in December, discussed ways to penalize them? It's foolish, pointless and preposterous!
Gone are the days when presidents such as Ronald Reagan fought for churches and charities and celebrated the Christian faith in a national broadcast.
If you care about the future of America, call or write the White House today at 202-456-1111 or at Whitehouse.gov, and then call or write your representatives and tell them all to stop penalizing givers and charities to appease their political whims and wild spending. My wife, Gena, and I share a mission with our nonprofit foundation for kids (http://www.KickStartKids.org), which is dependent upon the generous gifts of others. I speak for thousands of charities when I say, "Thank you!"
There is still no greater example and charitable act than the gift that God gave the whole world on Christmas Day: his son. More than 2,000 years ago, the angel proclaimed to the shepherds, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Now that's charity worth believing in and modeling!
From Gena and me, have a merry Christmas and a happy new year, and keep fighting for America!
I do not know about other people but our family gives because its the correct thing to do being Biblical and all.
The charitable deduction is not the reason.
God loves a cheerful giver. So get cheerful about your giving and not a care to the deduction. Government Charity has so many strings attached, and it will get worse, that any Christian organisation ought to avoid Govt. money like the plaque.
Ditto that. I have never claimed the charitable deduction for my giving. Charity should be charity.....not tax avoidance.
Sorry, but the government DOES have first call on every dollar earned in America. Thinking otherwise is naive. If the governments get to take my money, it can damn well support all the widows, orphans and indigents. If the bleeding hearts want ME to support them, then their government needs to give me back my money. This is why I have reduced my charitable contributions.
Merry Christmas Mr Scrooge!
Such a liberal tirade. Sorry, won’t work with me. You can have big government or charity, but not both.
This is how I feel to. I believe to give, just so you can deduct it from your income taxes is rather hypocritical. You might as well not give at all
It furthers the communist’s agenda. The more people dependent on the government, the more secure their power.
Put the competition out of business. It’s the Chicago way.
A well-written and well-thought-out article.
I think each FReeper is smart enough to figure out the best way to handle this in light of his personal situation.
We’ve always been very careful about organizations who receive our donations — who their leaders support politically, whether their services support abortion and/or homosexual lifestyles, the percentage skimmed by administration, etc.
Since charity isn’t truly “charity” if done for tax write-offs, we’ll continue to give to our local (not convention) church’s missions programs (a write-off), and to people we KNOW need help (not a write-off).
And, in line with being good stewards of our money, one of our 2013 Resolutions will be to re-visit and revise our wills and living trust. Any beneficiary organizations or people (including family) who supported Obama in either election will be deleted. Period. We work(ed) hard and long for our money and the thought of it being passed down to people who care so little about America... well, screw ‘em. I mean that in the spirit of charity ;)
The point is not the altruism of giving to charity. The point is not giving the government the power over deciding what charity is worthy. Every dime government takes is about power and control. The government is out of control, and “we the people” need to change the paradigm and stop allowing them to get away with framing the debate with terms like “costs the government”.
Contrary to what another post proclaims, all wealth does not belong to or come from “the government”. The government is a leech on the backs of productivity and prosperity.
On the other hand, I would love to see the power and money stripped from the left wing supporting tax exempt foundations that keep funding the socialist propaganda.
I give to charity generously, take the deduction accurately, and then give the money saved through the deduction to my favorite charity. If the deduction is eliminated, that last donation would also be eliminated. It’s not a question of being Scrooge. I simply give as much as I can afford, and the deduction increases what I can afford.
As a separate issue, I used to overlook liberal ties for charities that were sufficiently important and efficient. Now I consider anyone with liberal ties, even an otherwise useful charity, to be an enemy of America. I do not support my enemies.
Pardon please, but your claim is somewhat naive.
WE are not the government. This is not a democracy, nor is it any longer a representative republic. Our republic framework is at best an organization for crony capitalism, at worst fascism, literally.
Decisions are made by this government that the people as a whole find horrendous. Corporate bailouts, wars, currency debasement - both liberal and conservative are against these, and yet they happen, siphoning money from me, you and others against our wills. There is little remaining to provide to “charity” of choice.
I do bitch about:
These are all bubbles inflated with citizen income taxes and outrageous public debt. Because they represent the bulk of my taxes and provide self-sufficiency for the poor, the poor do not need my further assistance, for they are taking nearly half my income today. Half is a lot more than a 10% tithe.
>> Weve always been very careful about organizations who receive our donations ...
BTW, check the Red Cross pix accompanying the article. Gag! What a bunch of overpaid, self-serving publicity grabbing pimps. After working post-hurricane relief in Florida, and observing them up close, my choice is the Salvation Army.
This is, with me, simply a matter of personal ethics. It is for similar reasons that I am, and have been since I first registered to vote, an INDEPENDENT by registration, though a strong fiscal and social conservative by voting pattern, which, these days, practically always means voting Republican.
Charity may simply morph into the “caring for thy neighbor and brother” instead of giving to formal charities.
I do not like charitable deductions in the tax code.
Most of the money goes to United Way, the symphoney, the opera, the college athletic dept often in exchange for preferred seating, the art museums, PBS stations, IVY league college endowments (like they need them), little bricks inscribed with your name that are in front of the alumni center, the Sierra Club, the Heritage foundation, etc.
Worst of all, there are a lot of private foundations that are all about avoiding the inheritance tax. You set up a foundation that has about 90% overhead and 10% giving but the overhead is spent on salaries, perks, benefits and “travel expenses” for your heirs. Plus your heirs get a cool title like “member of board of directors of Blah Blah Blah charity” and people will kiss up to you because you occassionally award a real grant.
“my choice is the Salvation Army.”
That’s our favorite non-local-church charity as well, and I do bell-ringing for them every year. They do great work, are humble, and the admin takes very little of the total. I’ve heard that the first group to show up at a disaster, and who gets zero publicity, is the SBC men’s relief organization. Don’t know if it’s true or not, but I understand they’re there before Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Uncle Sugar/FEMA.