I'm disgusted by the perspective on private money that underlies this New York Times article about taxes and charitable giving.
The rich are giving more to charity than ever, but people like Mr. Broad are not the only ones footing the bill for such generosity. For every three dollars they give away, the federal government typically gives up a dollar or more in tax revenue, because of the charitable tax deduction and by not collecting estate taxes.
The government doesn't "give up" money when they don't collect it as a tax! My marginal tax rate is 40%, but the government isn't "giving up" the other 60% of my income! It's exactly the reverse: we taxpayers decide how much we want to spend on government, and we sacrifice towards that end a portion of the money that rightfully belongs to us. The default position of that money is my pocket, not some government coffer.
Elaborating in an interview, Mr. Gross [a billionaire who is against the charitable tax exemption] said he did not think the public benefits from philanthropy were commensurate with the tax breaks that givers receive. â€œI donâ€™t think weâ€™re getting the bang for the buck for gifts to build football stadiums and concert halls, with all due respect to Carnegie Hall and other institutions,â€ he said. â€œI donâ€™t think the public would vote for spending tax dollars on those things.â€
And I doubt "the public" would vote to spend the 60% of my income that Ikeep the same way I decide to spend it. So what? It's not "the public's" money, it's mine!
It disgusts me that so many Americans apparently believe that the money they earn goes first to the government, and then that by government benevolence the person who actually earned the money and created wealth gets to keep some small portion of it. I believe this attitude exists in large part because of our system of income tax withholding, which should be abolished.
(HT: Reader beesforfree.)