Monday, March 2, 2009

Private Giving in the Age of Obama

Among others, Larry Kudlow correctly notes that President Obama has declared war on investors, entrepreneurs and businesses. But there is another less heralded group standing athwart the President’s goal of reconstructing the American social contract: givers.

To help pay for President Obama’s enormous new $630 billion health care reserve fund, certain long-standing charitable deductions will be eliminated. CQ Politics describes the proposal as follows:

Obama would raise $318 billion over 10 years by limiting the value of itemized deductions claimed by taxpayers in the top two income tax brackets to the value those deductions would have in the 28 percent bracket. A $100 tax-deductible contribution, for example, would save an upper-income taxpayer no more than $28 in federal income tax, rather than the $33 or $35 savings those in the top brackets would see under current law.

It is a truly awful policy and one that simply robs Peter to pay Paul. I am opposed to the Obama Administration’s health care plan and its incremental approach to single payer, socialized medicine because I do not care for the rise of American statism. But you need not be an opponent of government-provided universal health care to understand the slow erosion of self-directed charitable giving at play here with the new Obama policy—further evidence of a decline in American liberties in the age of Obama.

Under President Obama’s tax policy, individual value decisions about where charity is directed may be tolerated, but the principle of such self-direction will find little encouragement. Rather, the Administration is signaling that those in need of charity should look to President Obama and the federal government as their provider, not private philanthropy.

Lowering eligible charitable deductions effectively taxes the charities now receiving such assistance. After all, when the government raises taxes on an activity, less of that activity is experienced. Charities will receive less under President Obama going forward, and all Americans will be tied closer to and controlled more by their government.

Submitted by ASO member: John Kalitka


Anonymous said...

It may not be lost on the Obama Administration that in a recent New York Times editorial it was acknowledged that Democrats as a whole tend to be far less generous in their contributions to charity than are Republicans. Could this policy be a "two-fer"? A chance to tie the public more closely to the government while also taking a swipe at political opponents?

Anonymous said...

Well said. The level of anti-American behavior from this Administration is astounding.

Support free speech

Join us on these social networks:






Got a question?

Read the FAQ here

Paid for by, an organization focused primarily on nonpartisan education and advocacy on the issue of free speech and other important civil rights. is a 501(c)(4) organization.

Donations are not tax deductible as charitable contributions.