CNHI News Service

Opinion

December 21, 2012

Givers should not be treated like corporate welfare seekers

 

 

Editor's Note: If you're not a weekly subscriber to Marta Mossburg's column, you can publish this one if you notify her at marta@martamossburg.com.

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This Christmas season everyone should be upset that the president and Congress may cap charitable deductions.

Charities are very concerned and sent 250 representatives to Washington

earlier this month to talk members of Congress out of one of the worst

ideas to help avert the fiscal cliff.

Giving is not a loophole like accelerated depreciation of corporate jets.

For starters, the ability to deduct gifts to charity has been around for

almost 100 years. The fact that it was included in the tax code just a few

years after the federal income tax was established points to the fact that

it was a respected American practice and not added so that friends of

those in power could escape government obligations like in this

lobbyist-fueled government era.

Individuals would be better off financially by keeping their money and

paying taxes on it than giving it away and getting a partial write off on

their taxes.

Besides, it is a terrible idea to discourage Americans from giving back to

the community at a time when government of all types is increasingly

replacing the work civil organizations used to provide and when so many

need a job and are struggling.

And a cap means that charities that depend on government for their

existence will have more of an edge fundraising if private giving goes

down as a result of tax changes.

But it's revealing that we have reached a point in our culture where a

deduction for giving to charity is considered a "loophole" just like

accounting that can allow oil companies, for example, to buy crude at a

range of prices but pay taxes on their profits from selling it as if every

barrel was bought at the latest, most expensive price.

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