Wednesday, March 18, 2009
President Obama ran on the slogan: “Change We Can Believe In” and then “Change We Need.” I’ll be the first to admit that we’re in a financial mess, and we “need” some fundamental changes. However, one of the proposals of the President’s 2010 budget plan is to reduce the tax deduction that can be claimed for charitable donations. This includes money given to churches as well as other non-profit organizations. This effectively means a TAX HIKE for the most generous donors.
I believe that this is a CHANGE WE DON’T NEED! If you agree, then join what FoxNews has called “The Charity Revolt” and let your voice be heard. To me, this proposal is a violation of the principle of separation between church and state because the people most affected by this proposal will be religious donors.
Americans are generous givers, but studies have proven that “religious people” are much more generous than “secularists.” In the year 2000, religious Americans (33% of the population who attend worship at least once a week) were 25 percentage points more likely to give charitably than “secularists” (27% who attend worship less than a few times a year, or claim no religion). In terms of actual dollars given, religious Americans gave nearly four times more money per year ($2,210) than secularists ($642). Religious people also volunteered more than twice as often as secularists. (According to an article in The American Magazine.)
Many charities and non-profits that depend on their endowment income have been adversely affected by this recession. At a time when philanthropic giving is dropping, this proposal could drive the nail in the coffin for some non-profit ministries and organizations that depend heavily on large donations from generous givers. Most churches will survive, but they will be required to reduce their budgets if their most generous givers are penalized for making large donations.
The Obama Administration’s response to criticism of this measure is that the government is going to give money to non-profits to make up for this shortfall. Budget Director Peter Orszag said, “Contained in the recovery act, there’s $100 million to support nonprofits and charities as we get through this period of economic difficulty.” (quoted in The Washington Times, 2/27/09)
Okay, let me get this straight. The government is going to PENALIZE people who give the most to support churches and charities, and then they are going to turn around and compensate by giving government money to nonprofit organizations? How much of that $100 million do you think churches or uniquely Christian charities will receive? Don’t hold your breath. (Remember, ACORN is also a non-profit organization.) This is just another example of the government wanting to get into the business that has always been reserved for churches and charities.
We teach and practice that God’s Word instructs us to give a tithe (10%) to the Lord’s work. This proposal will penalize many people who are trying to honor the Lord by giving Him ten percent of their income to His work. This proposal doesn’t limit the amount most Americans can deduct for their donations; instead, it targets families making over $250,000 per year. It’s still a bad idea because it penalizes those who give the MOST money to churches and other charitable organizations.
The previously cited article in The American Magazine reports that the top 10% of households with an average income donate 25% of the all the money that is contributed to charity. And households with a net worth of $1Million or more are responsible for 50% of all charitable gifts. I’m surprised that there isn’t a louder outcry over this proposal from churches and other non-profit organizations.
This is certainly not an attack on President Obama because I am committed to pray for him and, unlike Rush, I wish him (and pray for) success as he leads us out of this recession.
However, we can’t be too surprised about this proposal because charitable giving doesn’t appear to be a high priority in his life. His and Michelle’s tax returns are public record, and over the past seven years, the average income they reported was $551,000 (a low of $241,000 in 2000 and a high of $1.6 million in 2005). The average percentage of their income that the Obamas gave to charity over that seven-year period was 2.17%.
But compared to Vice-President Joe Biden, the Obamas are wildly generous! Over the past decade, Mr. Biden and his wife Jill (a college instructor) gave a TOTAL of $3,690 to charity. That computes to an average of 0.2% of their income to charity. That’s not two percent – that’s two-tenths of a percent.
Contact the White House and your Senators and Representatives to express your opinion about this proposal. If you want to join THE CHARITY REVOLT then contact the White House and your representatives and say or write:
“I’m opposed to the Administration’s 2010 budget plan to reduce itemized tax deductions for charitable giving.”
As I said in the beginning of this blog, this is a CHANGE WE DON’T NEED. If you agree, then you need to let your voice be heard in Washington –NOW! I’ve included the contact information for the White House and for Texas and East Texas. You can click here to find the contact information for your own Senators and Representative.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500
Representative Louie Gohmert
1121 ESE Loop 323, #206
Tyler, TX 75701
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
284 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Senator John Cornyn
100 E. Ferguson St., #1004
Tyler, TX 75702
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