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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

What Kind of President Seeks to Effectively Tax Charitable Contributions?



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During last night’s program, I mentioned that a recent Gallup poll showed people giving generally positive marks to Obama’s budget proposal.

I don’t think this is because people are following the specific ins and outs of Obama’s budget, or they like the ballooning deficit, the tax increases, or the rosy scenarios that it assumes in the economy’s performance. It’s that 52 percent or so of the public voted for the guy, he gives good speeches, he’s got an adorable family who are on a million magazine covers, and they want things to get better, so they’re putting their faith in him. If he said everyone hopping on one foot would improve the economy, a large swath of America would respond by asking which foot should be lifted and which foot should be hopping.

So those of us who disagree with Obama need to break through apolitical Americans’ general sense of “he’s a good guy, I trust him, I’m not going to look too closely at what he’s doing.”

I suspect his proposal to lower the deductions on charitable contributions is a good example. The Wall Street Journal notes:

The impact would likely be concentrated on churches, educational institutions and arts programs, which rely largely on individual contributions.

By lowering the deduction, Obama is effectively raising taxes on donations to charity.

Of all the places to raise taxes, why here? How can you be a “good guy” and say you want the government to take a bigger bite in this particular use of taxpayers’ spending? The White House response is to offer a hypothetical example of Bill Gates and contend that it’s only hitting “the rich.” But aren’t rich people’s contributions to charity a good thing we want to encourage? Why does Obama want the government to take more from those who donate to good causes?

Can he really believe that the government should be punishing those who make these donations by lowering the deduction, and still be “a good guy”?


Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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