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Obama, Congress consider cutting deductions for donations to charities, churches

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  • fish8 Vernal, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    The first of the article says that congress is under pressure to cut costs - so what do they do instead? Increase taxes!! Making people pay more taxes has nothing to do with cutting costs.

  • Clarissa Layton, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    Cutting deductibles for charity is the best way I know of to get people and companies to stop donating money to worthy causes. Obama is wrong. I would say more, but I refuse to be uncivil.

  • djc Stansbury Park, Ut
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    Everyone wants tax cuts, no one wants to pay for the government services they use. The leadership is vilified if they propose changes to the tax structure. I agree with one comment in this story, that most with money will not donate to charity if they don't get a tax benefit.

    I believe that we should have a simplified tax code based on net cash available rather than income taxes or sales taxes. It would be counter-productive to reduce or eliminate the mortgage, education, and charity deductions. These three are of the most benefit to the middle class. But there could be changes, with no mortgage deduction for second homes or after a set amount of home value for primary residences. Charity deductions should be carefully monitored for legitimacy. Minor tweaks would make the system better.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:21 a.m.

    The government knows how to spend your money better than you do.

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    Cut out all deductions to charitable organizations, including churches. I completely support this concept. The government needs to get out of the business of favoring certain organizations. If Americans stop giving, then let us pray the price. But don't hold a carrot in front of us to get us to give.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:32 a.m.

    Cut the tax credit for children. Having children is a personal choice. One doesn't need a reward for procreation.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    This will only create more dependancy on the government, which as we all know, is inefficient, wasteful, corrupted and misguided. Let's eliminate Obama in 2012 instead of limiting charitable deductions! Much better idea!

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:35 a.m.

    One more example of Obama missing the point and doing the completely incorrect thing. This would end most charitable giving in the US and would have terrible results. Think of all the food pantries, the goodwill stores, the medical aid groups, all would go without and the poor, the truly needy, would be hurt yet again. Obama has no idea what he's doing and is merely grasping at straws at this point. How very disappointing.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:36 a.m.

    re:Kami

    Hey Kami, do you trust the Federal govt to redistribute your money to the right places? How about Obama funneling huge amounts of money to BIG UNIONS and so-called green energy companies that are now bankrupt? Yes let's not provide any incentives to give to charities - let those darn charities dry up for all we care ... right? Let's let Obama and his cronies funnel our money to corrupt unions and other "needy" organizations. Kami, you would love Cuba and Venezuela - their BIG BROTHER government gets to decide where your money goes and not you. Geez, education yourself Kami!!!

  • Two Cents Springville, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:40 a.m.

    "Others argue, though, that the money might be better spent in the hands of the government."

    This is laughable. I would rather give my money to ANY non-profit (a church, Red Cross, United Way, etc.) than to the federal govt. who I KNOW will squander it.

    Obama is killing our economy, and this is one more step in that direction. You can't force people to be charitable (Occupy Wall Street, etc.), and now they want to make it harder for us to give. Stupid!

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    Kami,

    What do you believe the purpose of government is, if not to encourage the behavior that is seen by the majority of its citizens as beneficial to society? Can I assume that if you're against the government encouraging people to act charitably, you are similarly against the government encouraging people and companies to act responsibly towards the planet with its EPA regulations or encouraging Wall Street investors to act responsibly with regulations?

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    There is a great deal of discussion about this, but one thing I'd like to see explored is the relative overhead cost as a percentage of the "donated" amount, including Federal welfare services.

    I seem to remember seeing a chart addressing this a long time ago, that showed what percentage of donated funds actually went to the people served by the charity. Some good ones actually use 90% or better directly in assistance, with less than 10% going to overhead costs. I'd like to see how much overhead there is associated with Federal programs supporting the needy.

    Another item I'd like to address is the economist's comment (Uwe Reinhardt) on page 3. He says $4500 of a $10,000 donation is actually government money. He's essentially saying that the only money that is yours is the amount the government decides to let you keep. I'm sorry, but that is backwards. The money I earn is all mine. I pay a certain amount in taxes, and it is only the government's money after I pay it.

    Washington needs to learn this little fact.

  • Abeille West Haven, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    Does it really make sense for the government to cut charitable donation deductions? Let's think about this for a few minutes.

    The article said that the amount of tax revenue lost over a 5 year period of time was 187.5 Billion dollars. Although the tax deduction for anyone donating to charity will range from 0% to 35%, and although the most wealthy donate a larger percentage of their income to charity, let's say that the deduction received amounts to an average of 30%. That means that the $187.5 Billion lost to the government because of tax deduction was the result of $625 Billion in donations over that same period of time. This is very conservative, as a 25% average deduction would show $750 Billion in donations. Let's say half of this 625 Billion went to help the poor (again conservative. It was actually a much higher percentage). That means that the poor among us received $312.5 Billion in benefit from charitable organizations over 5 years, which cost the Government just $187.5 Billion in taxes. What President would be dumb enough to mess with that? He's received an extra $125 Billion to help the poor!

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    To put this in simple terms. We cannot decide what charities we donate to. We should pay the money to the government instead so that they can use our money to help those they want to help.

    The money that is given to legitimate charities to help those in need goes so much further than any money given to the government. We should be encouraged to give more money freely to charities, thus taking the burden away from government. In my opinion, Obama could not be more wrong.

  • MC Ute Midvale, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:56 a.m.

    Moderate, I could not agree more. I get so frustrated in this state when people start to complain about the lack of money for schools. People need to realize that income tax is the major money source for education in this state, yet those who are using the system pay nothing into it. I always hope every election year that one candidate will run on this platform, however I do not think there is anybody out there willing to sacrifice their political career to say what needs to be said or do what needs to be done. If we would limit the amount of deductions to 2 on every return, then you would see fair taxation. Anybody with school age children who receives a tax refund check from the state is robbing their childs ability for a better education, they need to put their money where their mouths are and return that money to the schools.

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:56 a.m.

    screenname | 10:44 a.m. Oct. 18, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Kami,

    "What do you believe the purpose of government is, if not to encourage the behavior that is seen by the majority of its citizens as beneficial to society? "

    screenmame: the purpose of government should never be to favor certain organizations. The purpose of government should never be to indirectly force its citizenry to support certain organizations, which is exactly what it is doing by giving a tax donation for charitable giving. Every dollar that I would get back if I deducted chariable giving (I don't take the deduction) is a dollar that the rest of the country is paying. Now do you think it is fair that your neighbor should have to give to the gov't pot to support YOUR charities?

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    @ patriot, I feel sorry for you if your charitable giving is conditioned on receiving a tax deduction.

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    The best course is to eliminate Obama via the 2012 election. His policies are designed to transform America. It is not that he does not understand; he is doing this on purpose. People who think he is naive and misinformed need to wake up and pay attention. He knows what he is doing, and it is not good for the country.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:08 a.m.

    Yet another example of "change we can believe in" I suppose.

  • IJ Hyrum, Ut
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    This is rich! During the campaign, Sen. Obama encouraged people to give more. Now, Pres. Obama is encouraging people to give less. ?????

  • plyxply SLC, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:19 a.m.

    how about Obama start cutting non-essential government jobs that have stolen billions of dollars from taxpayers. And how about Obama stop spending tax dollars on his campaign to get re-elected, and how about Michelle Obama stop spending tax dollars on her vacations? That would be a good start, but to start taking money from charitable donations is a horrible way to pay for an inflated government and their frivolous spending.

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:21 a.m.

    informed

    You hit the nail on the head. Obama is simply trying to get as many people as possible more dependent on government, then the votes will never stop and the power will never end.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:21 a.m.

    Republicans accuse Democrats of being charitable with other people's money but isn't tax deductions for charity donations literally being charitable with other people's money?

  • cymrul West Valley City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:24 a.m.

    So how is it that a hate crimes law would equal "special treatment" for those it protects, but we can have tax laws that provide special treatment to churches? If a person wants to give to a charity that's great, but if the only reason you are giving is for the tax deduction wewhat does that REALLY say about you and your donation? If you only give because you get in return, is it REALLY giving?

  • IDC Boise, ID
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:27 a.m.

    Obama is asking us to trust him with more of our money. The only result I see from this is increased dependency on the government and more power for politicians. We are giving up our freedom for promises from the government. I for one trust myself more than I trust politicians.

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    Pres. Obama is a mere child in understanding how the economy of a free society works...or, he is very keenly understanding of it, and seeks actively to destroy it...either way, a strong and free America is under attack from within!

    Mitt is the only sane choice. We have at times an insane and really dumb media that is looking for stories, but oblivious to the damage they do, and the dereliction of duty to press for freedom, economic solvency, patriotism.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    Everything needs to be on the table, everything. Not everything needs to be hit with a change, but due diligence should include thoughtfull consideration of all expenses, not just the ones that don't impact me personally.

    Why this has become a partisan topic again, who knows. If a "conservative" were to be doing a review of all deductions, would this be a problem? Would this be yet another attempt a redistribution of wealth? This anit-everything really is silly and shows a lack of depth. You can not honestly say you have done all you can to fix the problem unless you are willing to look at ALL the options. Anything short of that is just more mindless partisan talking points.. not a serious attempt at a solution.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    Fundamental truth: conservatives hate gov't handouts unless they're the ones getting them (and these tax deductions are most certainly gov't handouts).

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    it seems to me that kami and biden are the two biggest philathropists in the country. Just keep giving that money away and let the government dictate where all monies flow. btw, look up how much our generous VP donated to charities over the last 10 years. Google joe Biden's tax returns. He certainly won't miss the discontinuance of the deduction.

  • Done That Monroe, CT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:33 a.m.

    All one needs to do is look to Michele Obama and how she spends tax dollars for her vacations and boondoggles - she's as bad as most other government agencies and officials - why would we want to let them spend MORE by increasing taxes. I have friends who work for the IRS and talk about wasting money - anyone working in government can tell you if they are honest of the waste, fraud, corruption that happens which as a percentage is ALWAYS higher then commercial and non-profit organizations. The government in NO way can out perform private and charitable giving. Just a bad idea giving more to the government.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:35 a.m.

    Another case of "don't touch mine"

    "we need to simplify the tax code"

    But, don't touch any of my deductions.

    Lets talk fairness.

    2 families.

    Family one - Makes $75K per year, one kid, $200K house.

    Family two - Makes $75K per year, 6 kids, $200K house, tithes 10% on gross.

    Anyone want to venture a guess as to how much LESS in federal and state taxes Family 2 pays than Family 1?

    Anyone want to venture a guess as to how much MORE in federal and state services family 2 gets compared to Family 1?

    Now, I do understand that charity does help the community as does educated children. I am just using this example to emphasize a point.

    But, it is hard to justify that, based on personal choices, Family 2 should pay significantly less than Family 1 while using Considerably more resources.

    Hence, the talk of simplifying the tax code.

    How is that not fairer? What am I missing?

  • Richie Saint George, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    Obama and his socialist buddies want us to pay more taxes so they can line their pockets. A good example of government waste is FEMA. No matter what they do to tax chartable contributions it won't effect my tithing because that is part of a God given request and promise.

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:47 a.m.

    This is a strong contender for the dumbest idea the President ever had. It will work against causes he is on record of supporting. Ugh.

  • Abeille West Haven, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:51 a.m.

    atl134 says: '..isn't tax deductions for charity donations literally being charitable with other people's money?' Answer: No. My money is my money. I pay taxes, I donate to charity. It was never your money. You didn't earn it. It's my money, I earned it, and I decide where it goes (except for Government taxation). Therefore, I'm not being charitable with other people's money.

    cymrul says: 'If you only give because you get in return, is it REALLY giving?' Answer: Yes, it is. If I earn 5M next year and I need to keep 1M to live, the other 4M will go somewhere - the Govt, my bank account, charity, etc. Let's say the Govt will take 40% in taxes. If I want to give all the rest to charity, but I don't get a charitable deduction, I'll only be able to give 2M to charity (2M in taxes, 1M in living expense, 2M to charity). If it's deductible, I'll be able to give 3.6M to charity (400,00 in taxes, 1M in living expenses, 3.6M to charity). If no deduction is given for Charitable contributions, the result will be less charitable giving, since I have less.

  • Hawkeye79 Iowa City, IA
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:57 a.m.

    The bottom-line question is this:

    Do we believe that the government can do a better, more efficient job of caring for the poor than the charities who currently do so?

    If the government can, then it would be worthwhile to direct more resources on the government's services. If the government cannot, then it makes little sense to focus resources on an inefficient means of helping the needy.

    When I see the government's ability to deal with crises like Hurricane Katrina, and compare that to the ability of charitable organizations to help out, I am fairly certain of where the resources will be best used.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Oct. 18, 2011 11:57 a.m.

    GUESS WHAT, charities, churches don't help out the homeless, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the hungry, Veteran's, Father's after a divorce etc., they could give a rats-behind less that real living human people needed a place to sleep, some need to see a doctor or dentist and some need help finding a job. ANYTHING that's called "generosity" are called by the Tea Party and GOP as entitlement's. The only "good-hearted Americans.", are your imaginary friends on Facebook, that dump you, telling you their keyboard just caught some plague and they don't want you to catch it. Plus seeing you refuse to tax more the ultra rich Koch Brother type's, who stash their stash in off shore tax safe havens, then you'll pay for it them with no tax deductions. I also believe that Sen. Hatch is on the Senate Finance Committee, and the axing the tax write-off incentive couldn't come at a worse time for the less fortunate, but he don't care either, and, he's a tea sipping Mormon. NAME ME these 1.5 million nonprofit organizations operate in the United States, all they do is pay themself a HUGE paycheck, while being tax exempt.

  • Pugman TREMONTON, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    Obama knows exactly what he's doing. The world knows militarialy it will never be able to bring down the United States. Thus it will need to be brought down from within. This president, his cabinet, his czars, and the liberal media are doing their best to make this happen. Years ago a woman asked Benjamin Franklin after all the meetings, the battles and struggles that went on forming this new country....What have you given us sir? His reply, a Republic....if you can keep it. My greatest fear...this nation will not stand if this president is given 4 more years. May god bless this great country and bless the people who reside here, that they may be able to recoginize and understand constitutional principles as compared to tyranny and this government running amuck.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    No matter what they do to tax chartable contributions it should also effect your tithing, that should be taxes along with all Church's because the LDS's over $30 Billion a year should not be any part of a God given request and promise, just another GOP tax to grab for the Koch Brother's and BIG BUSINESS entitlements only.

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:08 p.m.

    A Republican and a Democrat come across a homeless man. The Democrat reaches into his pocket and hands the homeless man his last two dollars. As he walks away, he thinks to himself, "I need to send out an email to my congressional representative and tell him the government needs to do more for the homeless." He feels good about himself.

    The Republican removes the last two dollars from his pocket and hands it to the homeless man. As he walks away he thinks to himself, "What more can I do to help the homeless? He then makes a generous donation to a local homeless shelter while committing himself to find ways to do more. He feels good about himself, but knows there is more to be done.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:11 p.m.

    Interestingly there is no mention of the "T" word (tithing) in the comments section today so far. The question boys and girls is: Would MaCain have made a similiar proposal eliminating charitable contributions had he been elected? In all fairness eliminating the AMT (Alternative Mininium Tax) or tweaking it would have made the sting less painful.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:13 p.m.

    JoeBlow - our family would be an example, more or less, of your family 2. We have seven kids ages 12 through 1. We home school. We have never used any kind of welfare. We do everything we can to follow the advice of our church leaders to be self-reliant. How much taxes do you think we should pay?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    @Abeille
    "I pay taxes, I donate to charity. It was never your money. "

    Actually... it was (if your means gov't). You just said you pay your taxes. Alright, you paid your income tax. Then you file your tax return and deduct your charitable donations. That's you asking the gov't to give you money back. Simple as that. No different than asking for other deductions from the gov't or asking the gov't for welfare because you qualify for it. That money you're asking the gov't to give you so you can give it to charity... that's being charitable with other people's money.

    "If no deduction is given for Charitable contributions, the result will be less charitable giving, since I have less. "

    Notice how in your example your tax burden went from 2 million to 400k. That 2 million is what your hypothetical tax rate was. That IS the gov'ts money that you want to turn around and give to charity which is fine and all but... you just decreased federal revenues 1.6 million. You just increased the federal deficit 1.6 million. You just handed future generations the bill. You spent their money.

  • justaguy Out There in, WI
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:18 p.m.

    I'm seeing a recurring theme in these articles about charitable deductions: if your motives for giving are not 100% pure (giving soley for the purpose of helping those in need, without regard to any benefit that may accrue to you)there is somehow something wrong with it and you shouldn't do it. Does every donation have to be one that hurts? Instead of complaining about why people donate, we should just continue to encourage people to donate, as has been the case in the tax code for years and years. Its a good policy and for those who feel the government is in their life too much, it sure beats the government's inefficient and corruption laden efforts to help those in need.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    To "JoeBlow | 11:35 a.m." but you forget that your buddy FDR designed SS to require the labor of those 6 kids to pay for YOUR retirement. While those kids represent a tax deduction of $1000/child right now, in the future, if those children earn the same amount as their parents, they will result in 500% increase in SS funding compared to the family with only 1 child.

    So, at the end of your life, when those 6 kids are paying for your SS and Medicare for 20 to 25 years of your retirement, are you going to complain that they didn't pay enough taxes or are you going to be glad that the system didn't collapse because everybody only had 1 child.

    Remember, the government gives tax breaks to encourage desired behavior.

    Also, there is nothing stoping the family with 1 child from donating 10% of their income to charity.

    Why do you want to force others to conform to your ways?

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:36 p.m.

    TAX the untra rich Church's and all deductions for donations to charities,

    Why?

    BECAUSE - I'm not part of the ReaganBushClintonBush-villes economics!.

    That's Utah's own Sen Hatch and Lee and their government's inefficient corruption plots in back stage deals.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:38 p.m.

    @justaguy
    "it sure beats the government's inefficient and corruption laden efforts to help those in need. "

    The gov't is fairly efficient actually, and I don't think charity is any better. Let's take an example most everyone here would be familiar with... the LDS church. Now, I don't need to be told the church has a significant contribution to charitable type things. But what about tithing? Tithing is primarily upkeep of the church. It's the fast offerings, humanitarian aid, the continuing education fund, the missionary trip funding thing, that thing mentioned during conference about flying people in isolated areas of the world to temples, and so on and so forth; that is the real charity work in the church and there's a lot of it. All of those including tithing can be deducted and I'm sure tithing is the largest contributor to church income and I'd bet that the majority of members report tithing for deduction purposes. Because of that, the church is operating at less than 50% charitable efficiency which is lower than the gov't. So I'm not so sure the claim that private organizations are more efficient is accurate.

  • Wiley Old School RIC, VA
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    atl134: The money that is withheld from one's paycheck is an estimate of possible tax, not the actual tax. It's when you file your taxes that you pay your tax. Getting a refund for over-estimating your withholding during the year is NOT asking the government to "give money back." You can shift your estimated withholding substantially, one way or the other, depending on how you fill out your W-9. You must not be among those paying taxes if you don't understand this simple fact

    JoeBlow: What you are missing is that the parents of Family #1 will need much of the FICA revenue from the children of Family #2 to pay for their social security and other benefits they will receive as they age (the FICA they paid over the years plus the FICA from their single child won't begin to cover their benefits

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:46 p.m.

    re:Kami

    my 10% to my church will continue no matter what however that isn't the case for many other folks especially for those that aren't millionaires and want to give to charity but also need to be rewarded for that generous act by government that they pay taxes to. Isn't it the government that is supposed to look out for its people and what better way than to incent people to contribute to the charity of THEIR CHOICE. You seem to want to take away that choice and hand it over to old trusty Uncle Sam.

  • Hawkeye79 Iowa City, IA
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    @atl134,

    What you fail to take into account is that these organizations are lightening the burdens placed on the government. In the example that you highlight, the key question is: would the government be able to provide the same needed help for less than $1.6 million?

    If these organizations are able to provide the help more efficiently than the government, then the government is receiving $1.6 million less, but would avoid having to pay, say, $2 million to meet the same needs. This would result in a greater loss for the government than if it allowed a charity to take care of the needy.

    Simply collecting more money doesn't make a difference in how well off you are if your expenditures increase at a faster rate.

    So, what do you think? Has the government proven that it can operate more efficiently than the private market when it comes to taking care of the needy?

  • sparkey Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    It appears to me that this is a potential maneuver by the government to create more dependency upon the government...to see the government increasingly as the be-all and end-all of all our troubles.

    If we can get the private sector to have a harder time taking care of each other, we can justify the need for government programs to take care of those who are struggling and we can justify taking more and more taxes to do so. Ultimately, this just creates more slavery of the American People, both those in need and those who are forced to give up their substance in order to help those in need.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    This is how much Obama cares for all of us I'll tell you that.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:13 p.m.

    Sasha "We have seven kids ages 12 through 1. We home school."

    I commend you. you are certainly the exception. However, you still pay significantly less taxes than Family one. Could you explain to Family one as to why they should pay more than you?

    To those who claim the Social Security angle.

    I agree that something needs to change. But,an ever increasing population is certainly a bigger problem than Social Security.

  • Abeille West Haven, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:31 p.m.

    Thanks, Wiley Old School and Hawkeye79. These were the exact points I was going to make in responding to atl134. You've made them so well there is nothing left for me to say. You both get a 'Recommend' from me.

  • MGB Saint George, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:55 p.m.

    Revenue is not the problem. Spending on non-essential and entitlement programs is the problem. If charitable people give less to private charities, that shortfall falls back on the government to help those receipients. In order to meet that shortfall the government will need to tax even more. Government will never be able to tax enough to make up for the efficiency of the private sector. Forced charity through taxation has never and will never work. Planned government programs always lead to a lose of freedom for everyone.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:55 p.m.

    For starters:

    "...Under pressure to deal with the face of burgeoning national deficit, Congress has been considering more than a dozen different proposals to reduce or do away with tax deductions for donations to charity...".

    Congress is considering more than a dozen proposals.

    Will the DN give readers the "specifics" on the other 11 different proposals?

    It would be great fun to bash the sponsors of those other proposals.

    Finally:

    "...If the government does away with tax breaks for charitable contributions many worry donors will give less and needy people will go without...".

    I, somehow, missed the part, in Malachi, where it "says" I should tithe, as an example, in order to obtain a tax break.

    Thank you.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 2:31 p.m.

    I have to look at this whether or not it will help people. I just don't see it...

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 2:51 p.m.

    Some of your "logic" in this post is completely amazing to me. We have conservatives who, on many many articles on DN, will post that the government is giving too many handouts, that people should not be entitled, that people should go to work ... blah blah blah. Yet when it serves your purposes, you are arguing that donations to charities should be deducted because otherwise the government will have to give more handouts. So here, you seem to be supporting the notion that someone give away freebies to those without and apparently would accept that the government might have to do that. Are you all flip floppers like your poster boy is?

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 3:45 p.m.

    SuperMan

    The thing you are not understanding is that Obama is using his social engineering tacticts to leave less money in the pocket of the individual at the end of the day. When that occurs those same individuals will have less to contribute to their church or charity. Whats more, you don't seem to understand how the disciples of Alinsky work...they want everybody to be in slavery to the central government. sabe?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 3:49 p.m.

    To "ClarkKent | 2:51 p.m." sorry, you are a liberal. It is well documented that liberals use their emotions to guide their understanding of the world. Conservatives have been shown to use logic for their understanding of the world.

    See "The Worldview Problem for American Politics" at the University of Chicago by George Lakoff.

    The article is quite balanced in its description of Liberals and Conservatives, and why they don't understand eachother.

  • Hawkyo SYRACUSE, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 3:57 p.m.

    My biggest fear in all of this is the possibility that Obama knows exactly what he's doing and believes it to be right. Scarier than if he had no clue and were at the helm, eh? I think he and his cronies know exactly what they're doing and they don't care. When the government fears the people there is liberty, when the people fear the government, there is tyranny!

  • nosaerfoecioveht NSL, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:13 p.m.

    Kami,

    In coming across a few of your comments, it seems clear that you view tax breaks for charitible contributions as a gift from the government, as though they are just giving you money you haven't already earned to incentivize you to give to charity.

    This type of flawed thinking is something I'm sure the government would be very pleased with.

    One of the greatest things about our nation is the generosity of its people. Our citizens donate more to charity than any other country on the planet. The idea of the government penalizing that charity by dipping into what we're not even keeping for ourselves makes me sick to my stomach.

    Maybe our government should prove they know how to responsibly spend the money they already take before they start stealing more of it.

  • JustAsking Saint George, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:23 p.m.

    I have not read the actual proposal. However, if this article is correct then passing a law like this could be a catastrophe for all charities. Seems counter intuitive to the idea of sharing the load. Could very well be the final nail in Obama's political coffin. I can only assume that there is some huge PAC money being thrown at this to explain any defense of such a horrible piece of legislation. Talk about adding fuel to the OCCUPY movement. First, kick the little guy, then take away his only shelter. It's time for citizens to rise and take back our country from all those who seek only power and money. Major Wall Street reform is needed as well as a fundamental shift in how politicians are held accountable to the citizens. PAC control equals political control. How long will it be before we as a country realize that there has already been a corporate takeover of our country?

  • libertarian Cedar City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:36 p.m.

    The government will ALWAYS make the people suffer first for it "cuts" or increases. Why not just eliminate the useless income tax, then we would have plenty of money for charitable giving. You think the Dems care about you? Think again.

  • speed66 Heber City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:39 p.m.

    This is a complicated issue and not a simple decision of good vs. bad.

    I'd have no problem eliminating the tax deductions to churches and requiring those charities that directly help to do so under some formula for funds utilization. While some charities may give 90% (The LDS church's record has been exemplary in this regard) many do not and use the charity as a mechanism to funnel huge salaries and benefits to very few.

    I believe churches should lose their tax exempt status altogether as well. No property tax, no income tax...this lead to the invention of Scientology. Let's eliminate it.

    For those who oppose the idea of eliminating this "deduction", you will have to reconcile that with the ardent support with a flat tax, the 9-9-9 plan and a national sales tax (of the FAIR tax...ironically named). None of those plans will provide a tax haven for charity.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    Let's not pretend this article is about anything other than trying to convince people that religions are charities.

  • TheAtheist SLC, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:03 p.m.

    As a tax profession I am adverse to the idea of eliminating the deduction for charitable contributions. Would I would like to see are non-profits that have mandatory contributions (i.e a tithe) should be taxed on the contributions they receive. Research foundations and aid foundations would be exempt form reporting such incomes as the contributions they receive are discretionary.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:04 p.m.

    No more tax deductions for shopping malls!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:07 p.m.

    but wait ... aren't the demo-rats the "compassionate party"??? Yes the same party that is trying to kill charitable contributions as well as cut 500 billion from medicare to fund Obamacare. I think most folks would agree to do without that upside down compassion!! Dem's are such hypocrites!!

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:08 p.m.

    One important element that many are forgetting is that the families that have 4, 5 or 10 kids (especially those in Utah) are also likely to grow up to be taxpayers too. They will be the ones who will have to support the rest of us when the government files bankruptcy for out of control spending on useless pork barrel projects.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:21 p.m.

    If charity is about tax deduction, it isn't charity at all.

  • Built2Last Provo, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:21 p.m.

    I have an idea... how about before we start cutting deductions we get Obama's several cabinet members and cronies to start paying their taxes first. That seems like a good place to start.

    If they get rid of the charitable donations deduction, it wouldn't affect me in the least. I'd continue to donate to my favorite charities and to my church just as always. I don't do it for the deduction; I do it because it's the right thing to do.

  • Abeille West Haven, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:52 p.m.

    TheAthiest -

    As one Tax Professional to another: What happens when the non-profit doesn't have mandatory contributions (i.e. a tithe)? As an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I can either pay tithing or decide not to. It's up to me - and up to each member. I will never be excommunicated for lack of tithing payment (although I wouldn't be eligible to attend the temple). If I choose to live the Law of Tithing as I understand it, does that mean paying tithing to my church is a 'mandatory contribution'? No - the funds are as discretionary as those for Research and Aid foundations. And, knowing how tax law changes, what happens if personal income tax does revoke the deduction for charitable contributions? I wouldn't think you'd be in favor of double-taxation (once personally, once through the church). Finally, why is this only a problem for you when a church is involved? You might be an Athiest, but everyone doesn't see things the same way you do. What do you think - would it be fair to assess a tax on everyone contributing to Atheism? If not, your thinking is biased.

  • Mick Murray, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:57 p.m.

    For all of those scathing accusations against the LDS church and tithing; consider this-

    All of the jobs that the LDS church has including a very good insurance and benefits program. Including building consrtuction, upkeep and general office jobs.

    Subsidized schooling- I am sure Occupy wallstreet would appreciate this.

    Buying cars, equipment and other furnishing for chapels and temples.

    Airfair to all those visits all over the world.

    I know this is very capitalistic for all you dems/commies but this is all purchased with tithing money. It is a economic stimulus and provides jobs all over the world.

    This is in addition to the humanitarian aid, perpetual education, missionary fund and fast offerings that we use to keep our members off the goverment dole. You're welcome USA for the LDS church's ability to take care of their own so the goverment doesn't have to!

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 5:57 p.m.

    Obama is a marxist. Marxism is hostile to religion and wants all things to come from the state, not from individuals, groups, or churches. So it is no surprise to see him pushing this kind of nonsense...most everything he's pushed has been Marxist at its core. Please remove this guy from the white house in 2012.

  • TheAtheist SLC, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Reply: Abeille

    I am not biased against the Church. You presented me holding a position that I do not. Your logical fallacies aside, whether or not you choose to recognize it, you receive a service for your donation to the church. Abeille, as you stated you are only eligible for a temple recommend while paying a tithe, in hand, a good or service for your donation.

    Once again, atheism has nothing to do with this discussion and yes if an atheist foundation were to render a service for the donation it receives then it shouldn't be tax exempt. Furthermore, I would like you to point out anywhere in my post where I stated that the donors should not receive a deduction for their contributions. I stated that the receiving entity should be taxed.

    If you chose to reply, please do not address positions I do not hold.

  • TheAtheist SLC, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 7:48 p.m.

    Reply: Abeille

    Also quick note as I ran out of room, I used churches as an example as they are the most common example of a entity receiving donations in exchange for goods or services.

  • Engineering Econ Loudon, TN
    Oct. 18, 2011 7:49 p.m.

    Essentially our president wants the government to have more power and private citizens & organizations to have less. This is simply a transfer of power that I'm strongly opposed to. What he is suggesting will not strengthen our nation. The proposal suggests that government expenditures are superior to the work of charitable organizations and that the government is better able to spend the wealth created by its citizens than so-called do-gooders. I believe that the more power & control that the government obtains, the higher the likelihood that corrupt individuals will seek & obtain positions of authority within the organization. This is not a direction I have. There needs to be a balance of power among the government, other organizations, & individual citizens. Let's not shift even more control to the organization that is the worst at managing its resources.

  • Rainman Syracuse, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 8:09 p.m.

    Every idea Obama comes up with means I pay more in taxes.

  • TheAtheist SLC, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    @Rainman - I am not certain you clearly understand the current tax code. Assuming you have the average American who pays zero income taxes. Obama has cut the one tax you pay on all of you wages, again assuming you are a average income earner. Obama made cuts to social security/medicare taxes and his job plan which for the record, I did not agree with was to cut the tax even further. I believe to 3.2% I could be wrong on the exact number, however under Bush you were paying 7.65% of your wages into ss/mc taxes.

  • Engineering Econ Loudon, TN
    Oct. 18, 2011 8:27 p.m.

    Correction, "This is not the direction we want to go."

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:41 p.m.

    The rich can pay alittle more? How about government spending alittle less?

    BO= Boot-him
    Out

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:59 p.m.

    With our tax money--Obama will decide which charities get money and how it's to be used. This is no different than having the feds controlling our childrens education. Corrupt with a small bang for the buck.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:27 p.m.

    "aren't the demo-rats" - ah, there you go, all the makings of a well thought out and fact based argument.... insults. Why do people actually think comments like this make them look smart or clever.

    Once the "conservatives" figure out that they can influence people to their position when they do so respectfully, people might start listening. But encouraged on by the political shock jocks on radio, they somehow think flinging insults will get to take them seriously. Conservatives will only get respect when they give respect.

    I am still trying to figure out what part of "christian values" involves slander and insults. Even President Benson, a tried and true conservative never resorted to lowering himself to insulting those who did not agree with him. He defend his positions with passion, but resort to insults and name calling, this would be far beneath him.

    @Rainman, so exactly how much have your taxes gone up over the last two years.... I would really love to know. If your taxes really have gone up, I think you need a new tax person. What taxes of yours went up, or is that just another little conservative talking points..... minus facts.

  • MiP Iowa City, IA
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:37 p.m.

    Joe Blow, how about family #1 gives 10% of their income to a charity of their choice? That would lower their taxes...if they are so concerned about it. OR maybe they are too worried about sharing their resources with the overpopulated world. Selfish is always the "other guy"....

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:39 p.m.

    By the way DN, "Obama: Cut deductions for charity" - not a very accurate nor honest headline there. I get your are trying to shock people into reading the piece, but do so honestly. Really expect more from a publication own by the Church.

  • TwoBitsWorth Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 12:20 a.m.

    I have read all of the foregoing comments. Sadly, it is always the same with these forums. Most of the comments have very little to do with an intelligent exchange of constructive ideas.

    Instead, it seems, most of those who participate are engaged in bashing each other over religion (or the lack thereof), politics or the author's private peeve getting another chance to be advertised.

    And after having gotten a stomach full of trash talk, I am not one ounce better educated than I was when I started reading these comments.

    I would like to read an intelligent, in depth analysis of what cutting these deductions for donations might do to our economy - for good or for bad, without any infighting.

    Neither the article nor any of these 80 plus comments has given me an answer.

    I am left with only my own opinion - just like the rest of you - and that's all it is - "my own opinion".

    "I have more confidence in Charities and Churches, as providers of welfare services, than I do in the Federal Government. I "fear" that the current Administration will create another agency and end up spending more more money than they save."

  • L Kaiser REDMOND, WA
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:43 a.m.

    Sounds like alot of people are upset because their "charitable" donations will actually be charitable. If you need a tax credit to feel compelled to donate to a charity your not acting charitable at all, just loaning out cash until the feds reimburse you.

  • bdckpakccd Plano, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:14 a.m.

    This is a move for control. People will give less and thus the charities will have less resources to help the poor/disaster victims etc. Where will they turn? The federal government! Obama and his ilk want everyone to be completely dependent on the feds. I can't think of a worse scenario---waste, corruption, graft, etc. will skyrocket. Can you say ACORN?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:22 a.m.

    Time to stop subsidizing churches that sell tax deductions. We need to balance the budget, not give money away.

  • unaffiliated_person Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:07 a.m.

    TwoBitsWorth,
    I see your point, and will try to make a logical argument for you. I do agree that many deductions need to be removed from the tax code. Charitable deductions is not one of them. This deduction encourages philanthropy, which is for the common good of our society. It helps charities out there which in turn help keep our standard of living high. Should we start seeing nonprofits fail, it will hurt all of us (imagine no homeless shelters, no food pantries, no united way, no Boy Scouts, etc.). I would prefer to see the removal of deductions that do nothing for the common good (depreciation of personal assets such as airplanes as an example).
    Unfortunately, Congress has becomes so hyperpartisan, no tax increases can occur via removal of deductions.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:15 a.m.

    Completely off subject, but indirectly connected, much of the objection is based off the idea that the government can't do anything right.... these comments being echoed last night by Ron Paul.

    And yet each day we have tens of thousands of flights flown safely because of federal employes managing the skies. The TSA and other federal agencies have kept us safe as we travel, in the order of billions of travel miles over the last 10 years, without incident. When we dial 911, responders are at our door in minutes. If you travel to the national parks, you almost always have a safe, clean experience. Our military has successfully brought an end to several of those who would bring death to our soil. Tens of millions receive their social security checks on time each month - with little fan fare. I can ship a little from my door to my sisters door across the country in 3 days, for 45 cents, reliably.

    Yes, any entity that gets overly large can have issues, and most do. Ever been on the board trying to get a new chapel built?

    But saying the government can't do anything right is not accurate or fare.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    If you owe $10,000 in taxes, giving $5,000 to a charity that you benefit from should not lower your taxes.

    I, for example belong to an airplane club with it's full write off as a 501c. So if I give the club $5,000 I'm really getting more flying fun and lowering my taxes. Great deal huh? Aren't you glad the nation will go more in debt because I'm having fun flying? Whoo hoo, only in america!

    Oh, how about this one the rich use all the time. Ever wonder why that crazy modern art is so popular? Well, you just buy some dumb painting cheap, wait for the guy to die and have it appraised for $1 gagillion dollars. You then give it to a charity and take it off your taxes.... Only in America!

    You see for all of you craying for the government to get out of your beeswax, getting out of charity promotion is getting out of your beeswax.

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    It has come to this- this administration is for:

    -elimination of the Defense of Marriage Act

    -elimination of the government's responsibility to persecute porn

    -validation of an openly homosexual presence in the military

    -continued efforts to keep the unborn "unborn" (in other words: protection for those who practice and support abortion)

    -elimination of incentives to help support needy and worthwhile causes.

    While we as Americans shouldn't need a tax break to give to others, this isn't the purpose of this administration. No, it's purpose is to extract an ever increasing amount of money from our pockets to help fund unnecessary and, in fact, dangerous programs such as listed above.

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:14 a.m.

    This is so funny. A couple of weeks ago most of you were in here yammering about taking away Social Security because is was a ponzi scheme and now your outraged about having your deduction taken away on charitable donations. Could you people be any more transparent?

    What is it you want?

  • Harry Case CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:32 a.m.

    Tax receipts to the US Treasury have continued to grow every year, even through this recession. We don't have a government income problem. What we have is a greedy government that's addicted to spending. Hey, Congress! Before you start bleeding the people any more, get rid of frivolous and unnecessary programs. There are entire departments that can be eliminated, such as the Department of Education. Education is best run by states and localities. Severely reduce the size, scope and power of the EPA. Eliminate contributions to the arts, Planned Parenthood, public broadcasting, etc. Get rid of the president's czars. Then switch over to a flat tax or a fair tax where everyone pays. Get my drift!?

  • reenie72 Sierra Vista, AZ
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:42 a.m.

    Well Anne26, what planet did you say that you live on? The government has never been able to handle money and nothing has changed - they never will. All they want is the power to do what THEY want to do with our money. Look on the internet and find the article that shows you how much money those people(?) take home every year. My husband was in the Army for 3 years, worked for and retired from the government after 33 years of employment. I sure wish that he could get his salary every year, we could have a great time with it.

  • jmort SLO, CA
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:46 a.m.

    If you want government out of our business and the tax code simplified, then it makes sense to do away with all of the "500" code sections (establishing qualifying organizations, etc.) and related regulations, and let us all handle the charitable thing on our own (you know in families and the community).

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    atl134, you misunderstand what the tax return is for, and what a refund means. The tax return is a means of settling an account. You add up the debits and credits, figure out how much you owe, and the difference between that and what you actually paid is either a refund or an amount still owed.

    Deductions and credits are provided by the government to encourage behavior by citizens deemed to be of value to the country as a whole, or to lessen the burden on the poor. Saying that these are government handouts is like saying when Target puts something on sale, and you buy it, they are giving you some of their money.

    The money I earn is 100% mine, until I decide to give it to someone else. I pay my taxes. Once I give it to the government, then it belongs to them. If my tax return calculates I am due a refund, it is my money that I have overpaid, not a handout back to me.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    Obama wants to cut deductions for charities, because he gives very little of h is income to charities. This is another one of his clueless, baseless philosophies. His people have not done any research on how much charities keep people of welfare. Man, will this President ever get it. I doubt it. He is steeped in socialism, where the government takes care of everything. We need to make this man and his administration a ONE TERM only. IF we don't he and his ilk will destroy this country.

  • rmk South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 10:22 a.m.

    This would be the best thing for this country all of these activist groups that buy politicians would not have the money they need to exist. We could get back to the government run by the people not extremist.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:26 a.m.

    Poor Barack. He is one desperate politician who knows the hour glass is almost empty. His presidency should put the lid on the ultra liberal approach to solving economic problems.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:25 p.m.

    To "L Kaiser | 3:43 a.m." actually it isn't about not getting the tax deduction. The problem is that before I could donate $10000 to charity, and lower my taxes by $2000. Now, I have to pay that $2000 in taxes, which leaves only $8000 to give to charity. This idea of removing the charitible deduction, you will cut into the abilty of charities to serve the people they were designed to help. If charities can't help people, who is left to look to for help?

  • Moderate Thinking Bogota, Colombia, AA
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:51 p.m.

    As an employee of the Federal Government, and moreover as one whose work often involves making decisions on how to distribute federal funds to non-profit and non-governmental organizations, I have a few things to say on this matter.

    I disagree with many of the posters who claim that all government money is squandered. Often, it goes into the hands of those same types of organizations which are the most capable to make social changes. While there is no doubt that much is wasted, we need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Neverthless, we need to be even more careful that we don't diminish the capacity of non-profit organizations to serve needy populations. While it is the sad truth that there are many non-profit organizations which are woefully unorganized and inadequate, there are many which do function well and which, if properly supported, make our job (in the federal government) a whole lot easier.

    Don't cut incentives for charitable giving. I have supported many of the president's policies in the past, but I disagree with this approach. The non-governmental sector must not be weakened.

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 1:59 p.m.

    I am so sick of people who want to find ways for other people to pay more taxes so that they can pay less. Then they selfishly oppose everything that might impact them. Everybody is screaming for the Feds to balance the budget.

    I am not wealthy. I give as I can. I have never once considered whether the donation would help reduce my tax bills. Are all of you saying you donate for the tax benefits? That without them, you would refuse to give? That's not really charitable giving now, is it?

  • L Kaiser REDMOND, WA
    Oct. 19, 2011 2:31 p.m.

    Redshirt,

    So you donate 10k a year in charity, but also expect the government to reimburse you for 2k of it. The charities still recieve the 10k you donated, they arent taxed, it isnt taken from them. the only thing that changes is you dont get 20% of it back. Again, it seems like your trying to justify donating less the next year because your not getting part of your "charity" reimbursed from the previous year. You dont want the big government spending your money, but you want them to reimburse you for your charitable donations?

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    Oct. 19, 2011 2:45 p.m.

    Instead of cutting deductions for charitable donations, the most efficient way to fix the financial nightmare we are in:

    Get rid of Obama and all of his cronies - now.

    The new President (Anyone but Barrack Hussein Obama) should appoint Ron Paul (he will never be elected as President) as US Treasury Secretary, and Donald Trump as Foreign Ambassador to China.

  • caleb in new york Glen Cove, NY
    Oct. 19, 2011 2:58 p.m.

    "The other $4,500 would come from fellow taxpayers who might not even know your favorite charity or, if they did, might not much like it," Reinhardt.

    Mr. Reinhardt's statement is interesting because it indicates that he does not trust the American people to decide what the better choices are for deciding how money in their control should be spent to help improve the country.

    This portion of the tax-code as it currently stands is also not written in bias for church-goers. For the anti-church folks out there, you can still use this specific deduction by donating to some other approved charity besides a church.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    @Paul in MD,

    "I seem to remember seeing a chart addressing this a long time ago, that showed what percentage of donated funds actually went to the people served by the charity. Some good ones actually use 90% or better directly in assistance, with less than 10% going to overhead costs. I'd like to see how much overhead there is associated with Federal programs supporting the needy."

    - Would love to see those numbers with the LDS church. Some claim the average member donates about $4-5/year to humanitarian aid, the rest of their donations go 'elsewhere'.

    @Johnny Triumph

    "This would end most charitable giving in the US and would have terrible results. Think of all the food pantries, the goodwill stores, the medical aid groups, all would go without and the poor, the truly needy, would be hurt yet again."

    - I don't know about you, but when I donate, I donate. I don't expect tax deductions, I do it directly to help someone else, not myself.

    Those who stop donating when they don't get a tax deduction ... aren't donating for the right reasons.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:49 p.m.

    @Informed Voter

    "The best course is to eliminate Obama via the 2012 election. His policies are designed to transform America. It is not that he does not understand; he is doing this on purpose. People who think he is naive and misinformed need to wake up and pay attention. He knows what he is doing, and it is not good for the country. "

    Do you know Obama? You know for a fact that he's purposely doing this? And you know, for a FACT, that it's bad for the country?

    If you're so informed I want some facts. Either your speaking 'truth' or your talking nonsense. I want some answers.

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 3:58 p.m.

    Use taxes to raise revenue for the Government, not promote or punish behavior. Charities should prosper or fail based on their own merits, not upon the Government's subsidy of them.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Oct. 19, 2011 4:22 p.m.

    How is giving to a megachurch a benefit to society? They give very little to the poor, there are no laws that they must give away the donations they recieve.

    Many 501c charities are terrible and run by charlatains. They call about donating to the fire department and then give only 20% to the fire department.

    There are clubs set up as 501c's so people can go flying, boating, golfing and reduce thier taxes for having a good time.

    There needs to be some sanity brought into the equation instead of a loophole that puts the country in greater deabt by avoiding taxes.

  • GiuseppeG Murray, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2011 4:32 p.m.

    re: Dart Thrower - "Use taxes to raise revenue for the Government, not promote or punish behavior." So it sounds like you're saying taxes shouldn't be used to fund law enforcement? I'm pretty sure law enforcement promotes and punishes behavior deemed by society to be desirable or undesirable. Sounds like we could get rid of most of government under your plan, starting with Congress, since we wouldn't want any 'laws' on the books promoting or punishing behavior, then we could get rid of the Judiciary branch of government since no laws to enforce. Let's see, no military needed since we'd hate to punish other countries behavior like invading. Yep, let's just throw it all away, sounds like a great plan to me, were I an anarchist.

  • sanpaco Sandy, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 5:15 p.m.

    Heaven forbid Congress cut their salaries, now let's punish people for being charitable. I swear this President never ceases to astonish me with his disregard for traditional values.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 5:40 p.m.

    I sure grow tired of the anti-government rhetoric I read from many of you.

    This government IS "of the people, by the people, and for the people." If you don't like how your fellow citizens are performing their roles in government, then RUN for office yourself! See if you can do better!

    If you are too frail in spirit, intellect or ability to run for public office, then at least have the courage to VOTE for one of your fellow citizens you can support.

    If you are too cowardly and inept to run OR to vote, you are barely a nominal citizen of this great nation, and are more like a parasite, sucking benefit from those who DO run for office, serve in public positions, and vote.

    Our Government is not inherently evil, inefficient or corrupt. It is comprised of YOUR fellow citizens! It was designed NOT to be an oligarchy, aristocracy, plutocracy, theocracy, or even a nationalistic bipartizan crony capitalism-opoly!

    To the degree it has become any of these, it is because YOU are content to sit around whining and criticizing instead of getting involved and SERVING the greater good!

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Oct. 19, 2011 5:59 p.m.

    Wow! Our country went a hundred thirty seven years without federal income tax.

    Freedom is endangered when people allow government to steal from them.

  • MacMan Somewhere, ID
    Oct. 19, 2011 6:40 p.m.

    Let me make sure I understand. Take away the charitable donations (or part of them) and tax revenue goes up. At the same time we'd have more needy who would need government help since conceivably those providing help from the charitable donations could not longer provide such help....woops there goes the increased tax revenue back out the door

    Unemployment goes up since many who work for charitable organizations may not be paid.....woops. There goe that dang unemployment rate back up again.

    You, that's our president, once again ding the wrong thing for the right reasons.

  • Deserthiker SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:00 p.m.

    Encouraging charitable giving is one of the biggest bargains the government gets. The many individuals helped by private agencies need less help from government sources. Nearly always private organizations provide that help much more efficiently than government can. Cutting charitable giving deduction would be a huge false economy and only hurt us financially in the long run. I can only shake my head in amazed dismay at the reasoning of the esteemed Professor Reinhardt of Princeton fame and others of his philosophic ilk. To carry his reasoning to it's logical conclusion one can only conclude that we should give ALL our money and property to the government, which possesses all wisdom, altruism, and knowledge, and allow it to distribute the people's resources as it deems proper, receiving whatever is doled out to me in gratitude, trusting the government to see to my physical, mental, and spiritual welfare in all things. Of course Marx already came up with this idea, and several countries- like the former Soviet Union- tried hard to put the idea into practice. DIdn't exactly work out so well, but why should we pay any attention to history.

  • Engineering Econ Loudon, TN
    Oct. 19, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    If I make $50K gross per year and the government takes $10K in taxes. That leaves my family with $40K. If I choose to give the Red Cross $5K and claim the charitable donation, the government will return $1K of the original $10K I paid in taxes. So now with my charitable donation and tax return, I'm left with $36K annually to spend on my family's needs. Yet if I hadn't donated to charity, I would have $40K annually to spend. So how does having a charitable tax deduction make my giving less charitable? It doesn't! With the deduction, when one donates to charity, he/she still ends up with less money than if they hadn't donated. Not sure how removing the tax deduction would make my giving more charitable as some have state. If my family requires $36K for the mortgage, insurance, food, clothing, etc., then removing the charitable deduction will cause me to only be able to afford a $4K donation to charity. Elimination of the deduction is simply a transfer of financial power to government. People would have to sacrifice more if they want to donate the same amount... or they will likely donate less.

  • Abinadis friend Boise, Idaho
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:16 p.m.

    What happened to the soup kitchen Obama was pushing regarding 911? He doesn't know what he wants. Except our money to pay for the spending he has done. He may have had some of you fooled last election. I sure hope you, who voted for
    him last time, have learned your lesson. Lets get him out of office. We cannot
    afford to give to the poor if we loose our deduction.

  • yurana SANDY, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 8:47 p.m.

    charitible contributiona is win/win. why would you make the poorest suffer if you claim to care. instead make rules to make sure as much of the donation as possible gets to the intended recipient...and I do not mean the overpaid CEO's of these non-profits.

  • Normal Guy Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 6:50 a.m.

    I laugh at those suggesting the dependent's tax is unfair - that the family making 75k with 6 kids should pay the same taxes as a the family making 75k with one kid. One family is raising 6 future tax payors, the other 1. Every country has tax incentives to have children - it's an investment in future tax dollars.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Oct. 20, 2011 8:22 a.m.

    Raising 6 future taxpayers...

    Others are paying for thier education so don't take all the credit. And the chances of them al being able to afford college and pay a lot of taxes is diminishing every day.

    There's no reason anyone should subsidize YOUR family choices.

  • Y-Ask-Y? Provo, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 9:11 a.m.

    Normal guy,

    An incentive?

    Yeah, that's exactly why people have children:

    "Hey, honey, I just did our taxes, and you know what? We need to have some kids so we can get some deductions!"

    Right.

  • Normal Guy Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    Postulate all you want about how much taxes the future tax payers we're all raising will pay, but America is relying on the future generation and is encouraging us to have even more with tax breaks.

    No country on earth has figured out how to keep an economy vibrant without population growth. To that end, Germany now provides one year maternity and one month paternity for the parents of every child born. They also have a national holiday where citizens are encouraged to say home and make future tax payers. Why so drastic? Guess how their econonmy went when the pipe of future tax payers started drying up.

    I don't even like future tax payers all that much. The tax breaks and government funded education don't cover a tenth of their cost and especially the mess. However, I'm very aware that we need future tax payers in the country to ensure I'm taken care of as I grow old so I still slave away at it...

  • caleb in new york Glen Cove, NY
    Oct. 20, 2011 9:41 a.m.

    @screwdriver 4:22 pm

    I'm not familiar with all big churches, but I am familiar with the biggest church in Utah. That one gives substantial amounts of money and resources and training to the poor.

    Churches generally teach people to live moral, honest, industrious lives. If people generally lived moral, honest, industrious lives, there would be a lot fewer problems for the government to try to solve through welfare, prisons, social services, increased police force, regulating business, etc. That was a main point of Dallin Oaks's testimony.

    Even though our government accomplishes many good things, it accomplishes little in teaching the citizens what good things to be involved to live productive lives that contribute to a healthy society.

    So if the law is tweaked so that donations to the boat club don't receive the deduction, then that's great. If the law is tweaked so that donations to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and other churches that at least mostly promote good behavior from the citizens, don't receive the deduction, then that's a bad thing for our country.

  • Allen#1 West Valley, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 11:51 a.m.

    I again agree with Kami. Donating to charity should NOT be based on receiving an income tax deduction.

    How many of our senators and congressmen from Utah voted AGAINST starting the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? How much is the cost of these wars adding to the federal deficit?

    How do the conservatives propose to pay for the Iraq War and Afghanistan War that President George W. Bush started and at the same time gave the tax cut to the rich?

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Oct. 20, 2011 12:55 p.m.

    Keep in mind that Obama and his kind have no respect for private organizations that do charity work. His goal is for the government to do everything and own everything. If he can wipe out these organizations they he will replace them with government union employees at a cost of 5x or more. Once you understand Obama, you will understand why they do things.

  • Allen#1 West Valley, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 5:46 p.m.

    WHY do conservatives blame Unions and the Federal Government?

    Wasn't it Wall Street and the Bankers who caused the financial duress? How many Wall Street Brokers and Bankers are members of Unions?

    How much of the hundreds of thousands of dollars Kirilenko saved because of the tax cut for the rich went to charities in the United States?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Oct. 21, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    To "Allen#1 | 5:46 p.m." no, it wasn't Wall Street and the Bankers that caused the financial duress. It was the government regulations that forced banks to make more subprime loans that caused the problem. That was combined with very low interest rates (again Federal Government controlled) that encouraged more speculation in the housing market.

    So, do you blame the rule makers for the results of the bad rules, or the people playing the games?

  • Engineering Econ Loudon, TN
    Oct. 21, 2011 1:07 p.m.

    @ Allen#1: "I again agree with Kami. Donating to charity should NOT be based on receiving an income tax deduction."

    Donating to charity solely for the purpose of receiving an income tax deduction wouldn't be very smart as you would always end up with less overall money than if you hadn't donated. Do people understand basic tax deductions and how they work? If one understands the basics, why would someone give $5K away to charity to get a $1K tax refund?

    The charitable deduction allows people to contribute more to charity than they otherwise would because the government is essentially matching your charitable contribution at the same percentage as your individual tax rate. The tax deduction is essentially funneling some of your income tax dollars to the charity of your choice. So basically you are able to control where some of your tax contributions are being spent rather than letting a politician decide where to spend those dollars.