Joel Berg: Charities should support Obama’s proposal to reduce tax deductions for donating to charity
March 27, 2009
In an op-ed appearing in Friday’s Washington Post, Joel Berg, author of All You Can Eat and executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, explains why antipoverty organizations and charities should be embracing, not opposing the Obama plan to “roll back the amount of the tax deduction the very wealthiest Americans can take for donating to charity.”
From the op-ed:
While many people assume that the rich amass their wealth on their own, the truth is that their business interests are almost always aided by public efforts, such as roads, bridges and ports through which they ship their goods or public schools that educate their workforces. Given that even the wealthiest benefit greatly from this modern “public commons,” it is wrong to give them unilateral power to decide whether their taxpayer-subsidized donations should go to, say, well-heeled operas or lavish care of pets rather than to organizations that meet more pressing communal needs.
It is fashionable these days to say that “the community,” not government, should solve social problems. Yet no nonprofit leader, myself included, was elected by the community as a whole. Elected officials, whether we like them or not, are picked by voting citizens. In America, the government is the most legitimate voice of the entire community.