This is what you get when you try to soak the rich.

President Obama proposes to pay for his $447 billion jobs bill mainly by limiting tax deductions for wealthy Americans. Unfortunately, if enacted, this policy will likely dampen charitable giving and further shift perceived responsibility for social welfare from individual donors to the state.

The President’s plan calls for lowering the rate at which wealthy taxpayers can take itemized deductions—from the current rate of 35 percent down to 28 percent, beginning in 2013. The change would affect individuals making more than $200,000 (and families making more than $250,000) per year.

So how much would we be talking about?

The result of President Obama’s proposal will likely be several billion dollars in decreased revenue each year for hospitals, educational institutions, and nonprofits that help the poor. While giving would probably drop only a small percentage, the anticipated amount would total more than the combined annual operating budgets of the Ameri­can Cancer Society, World Vision, St. Jude Chil­dren’s Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and the American Heart Association.

Those who are served by these institutions aren’t the only ones who would be hurt by decreased giving. Many people’s jobs would also be threatened.

Perhaps most importantly, Obama’s proposal sends the message that federal bureaucracy can deploy the resources of the wealthy more effectively than civil society can. Decreasing an incentive for charitable giving implies that the state should assume responsibility for people’s needs, even at the expense of vital nonprofit organizations. Churches, ministries, and other community-based institutions, however, are often better equipped to serve people in need. And they often do so at reduced costs.

If Republicans vote against this, be sure that this analysis will not be mentioned. Instead, by protecting charities, Republicans will be said to be "against jobs".

    Filed under: EconomicsGovernmentPoliticsRepublicans

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