The Charitable Deduction Should Stay

Carol Platt Liebau

12/13/2012 3:45:29 PM - Carol Platt Liebau

No conservative should really welcome tax increases of any kind.  But if there is one for which we should really hold the line, it's the charitable deduction.  It's not surprising that the Obama administration would want to do away with it; charities are one of the most important ways that a society can take care of itself -- and its poor and needy -- without relying on government.

Lessen charities' funding means reducing their reach and power.  Doing that through effectively increasing taxes -- that is, the state taking more instead -- is helping President Obama put the government at the center of every American's life, especially for those in need.

No doubt many of "the rich" (and Americans generally) take larger deductions on their mortgages and/or state income taxes (especially those in blue states). Pure self-interest would require arguing in favor of those deductions rather than charitable ones.  But the need to preserve America as a place where there are plenty of healthy institutions -- where government isn't the only powerful force -- requires putting preservation of the charitable deduction front and center.

The linked piece indicates that the administration is trying to pressure non-profits behind the scenes into supporting tax increases on "the rich." Those non-profits should realize that by playing along with Obama's plan, they are setting themselves up to be next on the chopping block -- and conservatives should remember (as they have with groups like AARP) which groups allow themselves to be used as hte pawns of the president.