As with any administration, tax and spending policies are telling indicators of priorities. President Obama's plan to reduce the tax incentive for giving to churches and charities, while massively increasing spending on bureaucracies, indicates that civil society is to be weakened and bureaucracy is to be strengthened.
Asked whether he thought the tax policy would hurt charities, the President insisted that it would not. Harvard professor Martin Feldstein disagrees, estimating that Obama's proposal will result in a loss of $7 billion a year to churches and charities.
William Daroff, vice president of public policy and director of the United Jewish Communities, says that with "a huge increase in the demand for social services, and a simultaneous decrease in resources to fund programs, governmental policy should be to incentivize charitable donations — not to create more reasons for donors to forgo making contributions."
The President says he thinks "it is a realistic way for us to raise some revenue from people who've benefited enormously over the last several years."
It would seem that the President views churches and charities that heavily rely on the generosity of donors as front operations whose sole purpose is to shield wealthy donors from paying their fair share of taxes — money Obama says Washington bureaucrats need more.
While $7 billion can do enormous good in the stewardship of churches and charities, it is a pittance in the federal budget.
If you are keeping track, the stimulus spending is currently more than $800 billion. AIG has received $180.5 billion in taxpayer money so far. The U.S. share of the global bailout agreed to at the recent G20 meeting in London will likely be hundreds of billions of dollars. ...1