Paying for charitable giving

  • Article by: Fred Hiatt , Washington Post
  • Updated: December 3, 2012 - 11:08 AM

Essentially, average Americans are helping to pay for our billionaire's generosity, though of course they have no say in where his or her charity goes.

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swgrittDec. 3, 1211:20 AM

The problem with this piece is a common one among the Pro-taxers: The income of the person is thought of as some kind of community property, not private property. In this viewpoint, when the person claims a "deduction", he/she is withholding tax money that rightfully belongs to the community. The community should have control over where that money goes, NOT the private person, implies the Pro-taxer. The confiscation of private property through taxation should not start with this point of view. Unfortunately, our society has lost its respect for private property, and lost its admiration for those who create it. On the other hand, that position can apparently get you a nice spot on the Washington Post Editorial Board!

chavistaDec. 3, 1212:05 PM

swgritt Dec. 3, 12 11:20 AM - Since you don't seem to understand the article, let me try it another way. Say the United States needs $10 million to operate this year. With that $10 million they will build roads, dredge the Mississippi so food can be shipped by barge, protect you with a military, FBI, etc. In other words, do everything that a government should do. Now, one individual makes a $10 million donation as indicated in the article and receives a credit against his taxes which lowers them by $3.5 million. Well, the United States still needs $10 million to operate so that means that you and I have to give $3.5 million more in taxes than we want to give because this one individual doesn't pay his share of the taxes. It becomes an indirect way for you and I to make a contribution that we didn't have any say in making and I'm tired of doing it. Why should I pay for pedophile priests when I don't belong to the Catholic Church? That's what we're doing today under the current tax law. It's time the charitable contribution deduction goes away!

boris123Dec. 3, 1212:05 PM

A major source of objection to a free market economy is precisely that it (the free market).. gives people what they want instead of what a particular group (socialists) thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. The prior comment about the lost respect for private propert and admiration for those who create it, rings loud and true.

FrankLDec. 3, 1212:16 PM

Of course the Libs hate charitable contributions because people might give to charities that are not politically correct, such as a church or the Boy Scouts.

andreelcapDec. 3, 1212:25 PM

Lets look at this from another perspective. I have always tried to donat 15% of my income to my church and to charities that assist the poor. If this exemption is taken out of the tax code, I will still donate, probably the same percentage once I absorb the tax increase. The government will just misuse a greater portion of my income. Is this a bargain? Certainly not.

GalinhanDec. 3, 12 1:01 PM

When the upper income earners use the excuse that it's not good to tax them more because some of them above $250,000 are small business owners... they seem to forget to separate the personal income from the business earnings. If this is not the case, then are they saying that if the business owners have to pay more in personal taxes, they will take more out of their business, when will then cause them to charge more for their services? If so, with that type of thinking, I doubt many would stay in business very long - but it would be because of greed and not being very business minded. The rest of us have to make adjustments, why couldn't they? Maybe they'd have to buy a BMW instead of the Ferrari? So sad.

Brad57Dec. 3, 12 1:01 PM

The author of this opinion piece has it backwards. Charitable donations do not cost taxpayers money, they save taxpayer money. Let's take the charitable hospital, for example. If Joe Billionaire donates $10 million to his favorite hospital, he saves $3.5 million in taxes. If Joe Billionaire doesn't donate $10 million to his favorite hospital, the public gains $3.5 million in taxes, but has to spend $10 million extra tax dollars to support that hospital. Thus, the real reason for this editorial is the arrogant belief that certain politicians in a certain political party know better how to spend public dollars.

luzhishenDec. 3, 12 3:23 PM

And how many of these charities are those Educational organizations like Center for the American Experiment, etc.. Get rid of this junk.

larciferDec. 3, 12 4:02 PM

I give a $1000.00 dollar food donation to my church. I then help sort it out along with all the other donations into bags that I then deliver to those that are truly in need. $1000.00 donated=$1000.00 actually delivered. The gov't TAKES $1000.00 out of my paycheck and wastes the bulk of it on bureaucracy. Not to mention the top 10% pay 71% of the federal income tax. If your complaining about the rich not paying their fair share then you probably aren't paying squat!!!!

martin68Dec. 3, 12 4:29 PM

This article leaves out the tremendous good that non profits do for society. Yes, the government has less revenue, but Private non profits are much more efficient than the government in providing services.


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