On the April 16 broadcast of Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.,” Rick Dunham, CEO of fundraising consultant Dunham & Company, weighed in on the new budget proposal that would scale back charitable deductions for families making over $250,000.
“Do you think you’re going to take a really big hit in terms of lower donations to charities? How big a hit?” host Stuart Varney asked.
“Well the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University did a study last year to look at the impact of the rise in the marginal tax rate and the capping of charitable deductions at 28-percent and they believe that it’ll be about almost a $4 billion hit based on 2006 dollars,” Dunham said. “So we’re probably looking at about a $5 billion hit.”
“That’s a sizable chunk of money,” Varney said. “There has been some talk that the administration wants to control charitable giving, and direct where your charitable gifts should go, therefore do it through the government and not through private charities. You think there’s anything to that?”
Dunham didn’t reject the idea out of hand. “I think all the actions kind of lead that direction. Part of the challenge charities are facing right now is they’re coming off of two years of a decline in giving to charities,” Dunham stated, citing the approximate $12 billion decrease in charitable giving the last two years.
“The government has always encouraged it through the tax incentive. And I think that’s been a huge part of giving in America – that the government has stood behind private philanthropy by saying ‘we want you to invest in charitable institutions for the good they do to our society.’ And I think that’s what they’re beginning to undermine.”
This is similar to what happened in Europe. As the secular leftists welfare states grew, people paid more and more in taxes. People had no money after the high taxes to give to charity, because they had “already given” to state. It was the state’s job to take care of people, not private charities. People became very selfish and hedonistic, and religious practice and charitable giving declined.
The problem with this for Christians is that the state never uses tax money to achieve Christian goals. With a Christian charity, the goal is usually to give the person with money, but also to help the person up and out of their current situation. Christians aren’t trying to give a man a fish, they want to teach him how to fish. It also helps to feel a little humble when someone is helping you.