Tax deductions for charitable giving mean the rich can fund their pet causes while the government loses vital tax revenue. This loophole effectively takes the public good out of the hands of voter-elected representatives and subjects it to the whims of wealthy donors.
US generosity, and its network of charitable giving, comes with baffling inefficiencies. That’s no secret. But consider, too, that for every dollar donated and deducted by wealthy taxpayers paying taxes at a 35 percent marginal tax rate, the US loses 35 cents of potential income tax revenue. While the government struggles to provide essential health and education services, with tax breaks, wealthy Americans are funding both Planned Parenthood and the Pro-Life Action League, the American Petroleum Institute chapters and the Sierra Club, churches and mosques.
Charitable giving is a good and admirable part of the American spirit, but charities can also serve as tax havens for the wealthiest citizens. Tax deductions for charitable giving effectively put the public good in the hands of wealthy donors and their pet causes – at the expense of government revenue for the fair and reliable provision of services.
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