Obama: Charity begins with government

If you need a chuckle, just imagine the incandescent outrage on the left if George W. Bush had proposed this. Clearly, Obama hates charity:

The White House is expecting to collect an additional $291 billion over the next decade by reducing the write-off for families earning over $250,000 despite the fact Congress roundly rejected such a measure last year. While the administration is portraying this as a populist move, experts have said the end result will be a significant blow to charities and non-profits already reeling in the midst of the recession.

“It’s frankly surprising to see this proposal come back this year, it was very controversial last year,” said Tom Riley, vice president for communications at the Philanthropy Roundtable. “This of all times isn’t the time to take actions that would discourage charitable giving. The need for non-profits hasn’t been higher for a generation.”

Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center said the rule change would make it about 10 percent more expensive for individuals affected to donate to charity. He estimated that would correspond to a $10 billion drop in donations out of the $300 billion Americans give annually.

Americans are extremely generous people, and those in higher income brackets tend to make larger donations. Obama’s budget would punish the wealthy for being generous, which would harm not-for-profit organizations dependent upon those dollars.

I once worked for a not-for-profit healthcare organization that relied upon such donations to survive and provide services to clients. Grants provided some of the funds, but members of the community played a very large role in allowing the organization to continue its work. Most who gave did so because they believed in our mission, but I’m sure the ability to write off donations helped. I would go so far as to say without those donations, the organization would not survive.

Obama’s budget proposal balances the budget on the backs of such not-for-profits. As I said above, just imagine the reaction if the GOP had proposed this as a budget-cutting strategy. This should, and will, be shot down by Congress. The fact that Obama included it in his budget shows his preference for “charity” via government. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s not entirely encouraging.

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