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It’s all about who gets the credit for giving away your money.

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In Barack’s Name You Must Give

It’s all about who gets the credit for giving away your money.

It’s all about who gets the credit for giving away your money.

One of Barack Obama’s stated goals is to transfer money from those that earn it to those that “need” it.  When such transfers of wealth are made voluntarily, we call it “charity.”  You would think, then, that Obama would want to encourage charity.  But as with so many other conclusions based on what Obama says, rather than what he does, you’d be mistaken.

Obama’s recently unveiled, largest-in-history federal budget includes a provision to curtail the deductibility of charitable donations by many taxpayers.  Charitable donations have long been completely tax deductible in America, based on the rather obvious logic that any money you give away without benefit to yourself should not be counted as income and taxed.  If you give away your money to the poor, should the government really send you a tax bill for the gift you made?

The deductibility of donations, whether they be to churches, humanitarian groups, disease research foundations, or any other non-profit organization, is also intended to encourage charity, in the belief that a charitable society and a widespread culture of voluntary individual giving and service is admirable.

By making donations only partially deductible, Obama will clearly reduce the amount of money available to private charities in the United States.  Why would he want to do this?  Why would anyone want to do this?

I believe the answer is simple and disturbing: If you give away your money, then you get credit for it.  Whereas, if government taxes your money from you and gives it away, then politicians can take credit for it.

You can see what a painful dilemma private charity is for any hardcore career politician like Barack Obama.  Every day, people give away millions of dollars that goes to build hospitals, provide clean water, feed the hungry, clothe the homeless, cure diseases, and build monuments  — and not a single vote is bought by any of it.  MADDENING!

In addition, every dollar selfishly given away to charities not only reduces the sacred revenue of the federal government, but even worse, it reduces the very need for big government itself.  An addict saved by private dollars might haul off and vote for anyone in the next election.  A child educated by a private scholarship will not be eternally indebted to the idea of federal grants, and worse yet the child might even attend a private school with a non-union staff!  HORRORS!

These problems are compounded by an intolerable lack of control.  If you allow people to choose their own charities, then they might choose the wrong ones.  People need the guidance of a wise ruling class to know what to do with their ignorant goodwill.  

For example, suppose you are a typical all-knowing social-engineering politician.  You need my money because you have big plans to fund an interethnic multicultural art program for backward suburban kindergarteners aimed at celebrating the under-celebrated alternative cultural tradition of Inuit lesbian Trotskyite group marriage.  

Not only will you not be able take credit for funding this worthy priority if I give away my own money, but (and prepare yourself for this) you may even come to find out that I donated my money to the Catholic Church.  OH MY GOD!  THEY DON”T EVEN FUND UNDERAGE DRIVE THROUGH ABORTIONS!  How could you live with yourself knowing that diversity of thought and purpose was being allowed to dilute the social impact of wise government on an ignorant electorate?  Do you know how intolerant other people’s religions can be?  

And even if, by some stroke of dumb luck, the sort of backward, Neanderthal, charity that Mac might choose to support actually did something “useful” like build a clinic somewhere, it would surely be too stupid to name it after Robert Byrd or Ted Kennedy.  Those monuments to Ted’s glory aren’t going to build themselves!

Barack Obama and his administration are targeting the deductibility of charitable donations because private charities are a direct threat to the monopoly of power that many in government aspire to.  Private giving buys no elections, it rewards no cronies, it builds no bridges to nowhere, it enlarges no union, it builds no single social or political orthodoxy and it fosters independence for the needy.

No government needs that — least of all the newly enlarged Big Government of our Spender in Chief, Barack Obama.  Just give him your money.  He knows how to spend it better than you, even when your spending is not about you.  And if your charity takes the form of service instead of money, then he has a number of government programs you can join.

In Barack’s world, charity and service, like economics, healthcare, energy, finance, education, childcare, and everything else is the business of government, not the private sector, or mere individuals.

Written By

Mr. Johnson, a writer and medical researcher in Cambridge, Mass., is a regular contributor to HUMAN EVENTS. His column generally appears on Tuesdays. Archives and additional material can be found at www.macjohnson.com.

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