There are lots of reasons to be upset by President Obama’s massive tax hike proposals for families earning more than $250,000 a year, not the least of which is the plan to reduce the tax credit given for itemized deductions, including charitable contributions. From The Washington Times:
“Some of the reforms and offsets contained or referenced in the budget, such as the limitation on itemized deductions, raise concerns and will require more study as we determine the best policies for getting America back on track,” said Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat.
Roberton Williams, senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said it’s impossible to calculate the exact effects of all the tax changes, but said the overall result is clear – less philanthropic giving.
“This will lead people to give less to charities if they behave the way they’ve behaved in the past,” he said. “We’ve already seen a drop in giving as a result of the economic collapse. On top of that, this will just reduce the amount of giving.”
Asked about that, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said Mr. Obama took care of that by giving charities government money to make up part of the difference.
“Contained in the recovery act, there’s $100 million to support nonprofits and charities as we get through this period of economic difficulty,” he said.
He disputed that giving would drop, and said an economic recovery will help charities, too. (emphasis added)
Well, there you have it. If you can find a better example of a naked private sector power grab by the Federal government, I’d like to see it. To be fair, the article implies that both Democrats and Republicans are skeptical about reducing tax deductions for charitable contributions. But just the idea of choking off private sector contributions in exchange for government handouts allows us to clearly see the big government ambitions of the Obama administration.
Charities have already been hit hard by the recession. So why would the government want to damage their fundraising ability even further? Because when private charities are forced to start taking money from the government, guess who will eventually assume ultimate control over them? Guess who will start dictating how the money is spent, who the charities can hire, and what the charities’ ultimate mission will be?
It’s no coincidence that the Obama administration has also proposed an end to the so-called “conscience rule” enacted by the Bush administration, that gives health care providers the freedom to refuse to perform medical procedures that violate their personal moral beliefs. Notice how nicely the refusal to allow decisions of conscience will tie into the government’s new plans to pay doctors “for results rather than procedures.” And once the government’s refusal to allow decisions of conscience has been sufficiently widened in scope, any charity accepting government funds will be completely at their mercy.
I think it’s about time that I scolded my Christian friends who voted for Obama because they thought that his plans to greatly expand government benefits to the poor were more “Christian” than the conservative ideal of private charity. Is this what you voted for, private charity being squeezed out in favor of bigger government handouts? Doctors being forced to perform procedures or withhold treatments at the government’s whim?
Reacting to the proposed end of the “conscience rule,” The Anchoress writes:
If we are going to be a nation that supports the “freedom to choose,” then it seems to me that has to go both ways. Professional health workers should be “free to choose” whether or not they will participate in what they find to be morally objectionable.
Freedom that is only one-sided i.e., “she is free to have a late term, partial-birth abortion and you are not free to refuse her request” or “she is free to demand this contraception and you are not free to refuse to fill that prescription,” is not really freedom.
It is enslavement. Dress it up any way you want. If the government is forcing you to do what your conscience tells you not to, under threats to your freedom, your purse or your livelihood, then you are not free.
Of course the clues for Barack Obama’s super-sized single-payer socialist utopian vision of government were there all along. Those of us who made an effort to learn about the people like William Ayres who taught and mentored Barack Obama, shaped his worldview, and ultimately trusted him to one day carry their mantle upon his shoulders — we already knew what to expect after the luster of “hope and change” had worn off. And now, barely a month into the era of Obama, other people seem to be catching on as well.
Hopefully a significant number of Americans will soon understand that in order for an uber nanny state to be created, war must be declared on personal freedom. Right now it’s a very cleverly planned stealth war, thinly veiled as benevolence, promoted by calls for “responsibility” and the denunciation of “greed,” and camouflaged by the promise of superfluous, shallow “freedoms” like “reproductive choice” and unfettered access to X-rated entertainment. But never the less it is a war, and its eventual success or failure depends entirely upon whether we choose to surrender, or to fight back.