Saturday, February 28, 2009
Elections have consequences, and so I'm resigned to the fact that any number of policies pursued by the current Administration and Congress will be, in my view, misguided. This one, though, seems particularly regrettable. According to the Chronicle on Philanthropy:
Some charities and nonprofit experts are worried that President Obama’s proposal to impose new limits on charitable tax deductions for wealthy people would dampen giving at a time when charities are under severe strain because of the recession.
"Wealthy people", in this context, refers to households with incomes about $250,000. Put aside doubts one might have about the economic merits of tax increases on such households in times like these. For purposes of this blog, a particularly pertinent question would seem to be whether we should worry about policies -- like this one -- that threaten to expand the state-sector at the expense of the non-profit, charitable, and religious sectors. Now, people with expertise in these matters have suggested to me that churches are less likely to suffer from a change like this than are other charitable organizations. If true, I suppose that's good news. (But what about, say, private scholarship funds for children in Catholic schools?) But, we are hearing hosannas from some quarters about the extent to which Pres. Obama's budget and economic agenda are increasing dramatically the role and energy of government. Some think that's a good thing. Fine. But, need this increase come -- should, from a Catholic perspective, it come -- at the expense of civil society and religious institutions?