In his latest article for the Nation, one of my favorite progressive publications, David Nasaw wrote a piece detailing his opposition to tax breaks for donations to charity.
Nasaw specifically blitzes the liberality of those “elites” that progressives so love to hate:
I’m delighted that Harvard was able to raise $596 million last year, but if we assume that most of it came from those in the highest tax bracket who itemized their deductions, that $596 million breaks down to about $387 million from the donors and $209 million from the Treasury in forgone tax revenues.
Oh, those forgone tax revenues. They surely don’t belong to the people that made the money, but rather the state who is losing out on that possible tax revenue! The worst part is yet to come:
Defenders of the charitable deduction argue that any downward adjustment will lead to a substantial reduction in the amount given to charity. And that may well be true. But is a reduction in the income, assets and expenditures of the philanthropic sector such a terrible thing, especially when we take into consideration that every $100 donated to charity by a high-income person means $35 less to the Treasury?
$35 dollars that are stolen from the Treasury by those greedy philanthropists!
The question we have to ask in the end is, Who do we want to decide how our money is spent: wealthy donors or our elected representatives?
So now the assumption is that these good-hearted people benefiting charities are donating our money. That money belongs to everyone else, and not to the individual that made it through the use of their own labor and private property. The money and wealth in general does not belong to individuals but, rather, the state. And those that run the affairs of the state, the politicians, are the best equipped to allocate that wealth to charities that they see fit.
But I, for one, would rather see a democratically elected body, accountable to the voters, make basic decisions about our schools, healthcare institutions and cultural priorities.
Here it is once more, the crux of the argument. Nasaw wants all charity, effectively all surplus income that individuals voluntarily give to worthy causes, allocated by the state, who do such a great job with our tax money. He wants it spent by majority, who shall take it from the minority. Why not have them take most of our money and spend it as THEY see fit? It reminds me all of a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, transcendentalist, who stated that “you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it.”
The Nation, and progressives like Nasaw, seem to believe that they do know what is best for you, and that they should have control of all your income so that they can best allocate it. The hubris of these types of progressives is enough to puncture a hole in your left cornea. If the state is the best manager of money and income, why don’t we all just work for the state and forget all about individual freedom and autonomy? What has the ability to choose how we spend our own income given us but complete control and ownership of our own lives and well-being?
Please tell me that there are true progressives out there who will see through this veil of totalitarianism and present a reasonable alternate to the crooked ideas of the Nation.