Proper tax treatment of charities thwarted by welfare state

The Denver Post published my letter to the editor in their March 31 edition:

Joel Stein’s commentary against tax-deductible charitable donations is penny-wise but pound-foolish. By favoring some types of spending and punishing others, the tax deduction indeed violates our freedom to spend our earnings as we please. He suggests that the increased tax revenue from eliminating the deduction could “help pay for health care.” But compared to the tax deduction, this is a much worse violation of our freedoms.

Tax-funded health care is mandatory charity. Unlike voluntary charities, government charities need not compete for and earn your donations. The penalty for tax evasion effectively encourages your “donations.”

If Mr. Stein wants more fairness toward charities, he’d support allowing taxpayers to opt out of funding entitlement programs by donating to charities of their choice. For example, if you donate $100 to a low-income medical-care charity, Medicaid loses that funding and you pay $100 less in taxes.


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