Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Government Soul: Taxing Generosity

I'm concerned for non-profits as we go into the Obama era. I understand the economic fix the USA is in right now: we all feel it. And I understand the need to remedy it. HOW we remedy it is up to the particular hired "experts" who have the power to push buttons.

While government is concerned about the needs of the poor (education, health), I've seen an unprecedented rise in justice work from religious groups, especially evangelicals. The poor are receiving aid and attention from every direction, including from the generous "wealthy" person. I'm very encouraged to see so much work by private citizens on the local level. This, to me, is the heartbeat of repairing many social evils in our world.

What does not receive attention so much from the government is soul-care and an answer to appropriate humanness from a religious (Christian) perspective. One one level we might say that a secular government may not find enough "experts" on their side to justify that a soul even exists...so why care for it? On another level if they did do this kind of work, they'd likely do it poorly. One reason I'm not in favor of public prayer in public schools is that it is likely children will learn horrible ideas about legitimate prayer. Better off letting students "feel" the secular vacuum than allow them to be misled that civil prayer fills it.

Obama's adminstration has some new tax strategies to help repair the deficit and "economy," all directed at people who make a little over $200k a year. It doesn't matter if $200k earners have a large or small family, living in high or low cost-of-living areas, or are already generous with their income to help people on the local level. It doesn't matter if they were responsible during this economic crisis and had practiced saving money rather than consumerism. Either way, the new tax strategy is to move money into the federal level to help with federal needs with the tools the feds have to decipher who needs help and who doesn't (after FEMA and Iraq, you can just for yourself how good these services will be), shouldered by hard working Americans who found success with their hands.

Regardless of how the government wants to tax, that isn't as much of the moral issue that concerns this post. What concerns this post is the rhetoric I'm reading, including disingenuous (intentionally misleading) comments. Yesterday's Wall Street Journal, page 4, has this article, "Charities Say Tax Changes Add to Pain."

Tomorrow, I will explain... but for now, share your own opinion...
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