We are all aware that Barack Obama is on the path to move the USA towards his vision of a socialist paradise. Hidden in Obama’s budget proposal is another plan to raise taxes – but this time it’s being done on the backs of those who are trying to help the needy and unfortunate: charities. His budget proposal calls for reducing the deductibility of charitable contributions for high-income taxpayers (> $250K/yr). The deduction would be limited to 28% instead of the 35% in place today.
The leftists who are in favor of this measure – yet another soak-the-rich strategy – piously claim that “they should give out of the goodness of their hearts and not for the deduction”. This is true, but it’s not reality and it’s not relevant. In reality, many give not only to benefit the charity, but also to get the writeoff. No matter what the motivation to give, this will inevitably impact charities by reducing that motivation. And this impacts not only the giver, but the charities that receive the donations.
Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt has been one of the more vocal Congressional critics of this part of the Obama budget. Last Friday Blunt sent a letter to Speaker of the House Pelosi to voice his displeasure with the charitable contribution hit job. In that letter, he states:
I am puzzled why this President – who has frequently called upon Americans to take responsibility for building their communities and institutions – would hinder many Americans from continuing to contribute voluntarily to our nation´s charitable organizations. These civic, educational, and faith-based organizations and groups are the backbone of our communities and can move quickly in times of crisis to react to the needs of the local, regional, and national communities they serve. We should be encouraging, not penalizing, the country´s good Samaritans during a time when millions of Americans are relying on their work more than ever.
(In 2005, Blunt championed a bill known as the “Charitable Giving Act” that sought to “provide incentives for charitable contributions by individuals and businesses” – one key aspect would have been to allow non-itemizers to deduct charitable contributions. That bill never passed out of committee)
But as bad as the financial implications might be, the social implications are even worse. Today the National Review’s Peter Wehner & Phillip Merrick published an article titled “An Assault on Authentic Compassion”. They point out how this measure belies the so-called “progressives” claims of “compassion” and “care for the poor” – in fact, it takes money away from them. But should we be surprised? Of course not – this is simply a continuation of the socialist policies of the Obama administration. Wehner & Merrick state:
The Obama administration’s unprecedented intrusion into the private sector betrays its underlying philosophy. In his speech before a joint session of Congress last week, the president declared that he doesn’t believe in bigger government. Oh yes he does, in ways we have never quite seen before.
With this proposal, President Obama is saying as directly as it can be said that the federal government is better able than private citizens and the charities they support to decide how these donation dollars are best distributed. Conservatives, by contrast, believe in the principle of subsidiarity — which in this instance means that charity is best performed at the most local and immediate level possible, and by “mediating” institutions rather than large, distant, and bureaucratic ones. This is not an abstract doctrine; it is based on the accumulated wisdom of the ages.
President Obama is willing to see private charitable giving to the poor decrease in order to see the scope and size of government increase. These are the actions of an ideologue, not a “pragmatist.”
Yes, indeed. Obama is simply revealing more of his left-wing, socialist/Marxist ideology and attempting to move the care of the needy to Mother Government and away from charities.
Take action today by writing to your Senator and Representative and voice your opposition to this move to socialize charity.
UPDATE: I am quite embarrassed that I missed Ben Domenech’s coverage of this story over at The New Ledger. Ben does a wonderful job of reviewing the situation, in a much less acerbic way than I did. I was glad to see that one of Ben’s sources saw the same Obama motivation that I did:
“This is a frontal assault on the non-profit sector aimed at undermining alternatives to government provision of social services. Nobody likes competition, and that goes for those who think government is the answer to all our problems.”
Be sure to read the entire article.