There are two weeks remaining for Washington to take action before the George W. Bush tax cuts expire and $1.2 trillion in spending cuts are triggered. And President Obama is in his normal duck-'n'-blame mode: "If Congress fails to act before the end of the year, middle class families' taxes will skyrocket $2,000."
What the White House is telling you is how it wants to raise taxes on high-income earners to raise revenue to run Washington. What the White House isn't telling you is how it's going to slash charitable tax deductions, which, in turn, will trickle down to cripple charities, the middle class and even the poor.
Part of Obama's prescription to raise $600 billion in new revenue is to overhaul the tax code by closing loopholes and capping deductions, including tax deductions for charitable giving. The latter would add $239 billion between 2013 and 2017 to federal revenue, according to the White House budget.
Reducing tax deductions for charitable giving was set in motion the very month Obama took office. Way back in February 2009, then-Director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag told exactly how the taxes would be used: "The money raised from the limits on itemized deductions would be used as part of the historic $634 billion reserve fund to fund health care reform."
Orszag confessed: "Some nonprofits have argued that the administration's plan to limit the amount that high-income families (those with income of more than a quarter million dollars a year) can deduct from their taxes for charitable contributions will hurt these organizations -- and do so at a time when these organizations' resources are stretched because of the recession we inherited."
And just two weeks ago, on Dec. 4, Obama himself conceded, "If you eliminated charitable deductions, that means every hospital and university and not-for-profit agency across the country would suddenly find themselves on the verge of collapse."
In order to get his way, Obama is overgeneralizing and twisting some Republicans' opinions to use scare tactics and bully charities into accepting his higher tax plan for the wealthy. The president is saying that charities will face total charitable deduction elimination under the Republicans' budget plans, unlike his plan to merely "reduce" them.