NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Obama Tax Proposal Would Reduce Charitable Giving by $9.4 Billion

February 12, 2015

When taxpayers go to file their taxes, they can deduct charitable contributions they've made in order to limit their tax liability. But President Obama has proposed to limit the value of those deductions for high-income households -- a move that will have a major, negative impact on charitable giving.

Howard Husock, vice president for policy research at the Manhattan Institute, says the proposal ignores the role of high-income taxpayers in contributing to charitable causes:

  • American households give more than $200 billion to charity each year.
  • In 2009, 2.6 percent of American households had incomes above $200,000.
  • Not only were those households responsible for 25.1 percent of all household income, but their charitable deductions were 29.5 percent of the value of all charitable donations made that year.

 With high-earners being such large contributors to charity, what would reducing their charitable deductions mean? According to Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, a $9.4 billion decline in charitable giving.

Husock says that perhaps the government has not realized the impact of its proposal -- or, perhaps it thinks the government can address the needs of the poor without private charity. That would be a mistake -- the NCPA's latest report shows how government policies intended to help the poor actually hurt low-income Americans, especially black Americans, and an op-ed from NCPA CEO Allen West and Senior Fellow Pam Villarreal highlights the failure of Lyndon Johnson's big-government Great Society plan.

Source: Howard Husock, "Obama Charity Tax Proposal: Hurting the Ones Who Love Him,", February 11, 2015. 


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