Focus Point - Making Faith-Based Work

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Leftist critics worry President Bush's faith-based charity plans will allow mingling of church and state. Some on the right worry religious groups will come to see themselves as part of the federal welfare state, not an alternative to it.

But a Bush proposal that hasn't received much notice would silence the critics on both sides and take advantage of the good religious groups have to offer.

In this case, taxpayers would get a tax credit for donations to charities that provide relief to low-income individuals. The current proposal is too meager -- the credit would only be up to 50 percent of the first $500 and can only be implemented by state governments. But an expanded version would revolutionize welfare by letting taxpayers give some of their tax dollars directly to qualified charities, then take a dollar-for-dollar write off on their taxes. Private charities would compete with each other and with government programs for tax dollars, and no one will be forced to subsidize anyone else's religion.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, the social security commission.