Government or private charity? The debate behind the debate over reducing the tax deduction for charitable contributions

14 Dec

For the recipients of generosity, the health of civil society, and the American experiment in self-government, reducing the charitable giving deduction, something both Republicans and the Obama administration are considering, should bother conservatives and Christians far more than raising the top marginal income tax rate. If it doesn’t, that says a lot. A difference in public philosophy over the extent to which government services should compete with or even replace private charity in society would be a far more meaningful discussion than tweaking tax brackets, IMO.

From the Washington Post:

In a series of recent meetings and calls, top White House aides have pressed nonprofit groups to line up behind the president’s plan for reducing the federal deficit and averting the year-end “fiscal cliff,” according to people familiar with the talks.

In part, the White House is seeking to win the support of nonprofit groups for Obama’s central demand that income tax rates rise for upper-end taxpayers. There are early signs that several charities, whose boards often include the wealthy, are willing to endorse this change.

But the White House is also looking to limit the charitable deduction for high-income earners, and that has prompted frustration and resistance, with leaders of major nonprofit organizations, such as the United Way, the American Red Cross and Lutheran Services in America, closing ranks in opposing any change to the deduction.

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