Apr 16, 2014
By Howard Husock
Maybe it’s because of the impending tax filing deadline, but we are seeing a sudden spate of muscular defenses of a government safety net against the alleged conservative view that private charity could assist those in need—and replace government.Both Mike Konczal, writing in Journal Democracy and reprinted in The Atlantic, and Michael Hitzik, in the Los Angeles Times, assert that a new wave of conservatism—led by Paul Ryan and Mike Lee, and following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan—would gut the current federal social insurance system based on a flawed view of history; a view, as Konczal puts it, that “before government took on the role of providing social insurance, individuals and private charity did everything needed to insure people against the hardships of life; given the chance they could do it again.” Hitkik’s title gets to the same point: “Private charity can’t replace government social programs.”
There are two considerable problems with their arguments.
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen said in an interview this week with USA Today’s Susan Page that the IRS will likely rewrite the rule it proposed defining political activity of nonprofit organizations.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy and we celebrate the triumph of those who have overcome catastrophe. Amid the horror, the American spirit of giving was on full display as complete strangers offered up their homes, their blood, their money, and other resources to help those in need. This spirit of giving is befitting of an event whose early history is centered on an act of generosity. The following excerpt from Philanthropy magazine’s Roadtrip Across Philanthropic America offers an insight into that history:
Apr 12, 2014
“I deem it the duty of every man to devote a certain portion of his income for charitable purposes; and that it is his further duty to see it so applied and to do the most good for which it is capable.” -Thomas Jefferson
April 13 marks the 271st birthday of one of our nation’s most prominent founding fathers: Thomas Jefferson. While Jefferson clearly advocated for charity during his life, perhaps his most well-known philanthropic-related effort came when he offered his vast personal collection of books to reestablish the Library of Congress.
Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) publicly voiced concern over a proposal of a “giving floor” on the charitable deduction at the annual meeting of the National Council of Nonprofits. He also reiterated his stance that the charitable deduction is a “lifeline, not a loophole.” From the National Council of Nonprofits:
Apr 4, 2014
Camp to Retire, Tax Extenders Advance, Some High Praise Offered
>> Federal: Camp Announces Retirement
>> Federal: Tax Extenders Move Forward
>> Federal: Ryan Releases Budget Blueprint
>> Consider This: Some High Praise
>> Top Reads: GOP Tax Reform’s Effect on Charitable Giving
Apr 3, 2014
By Karl Zinsmeister
Chartering represents one of the great self-organizing movements of our age. It rose up in the face of strong resistance from the educational establishment. It has been powered by independent social entrepreneurs and local philanthropists. It is a response by men and women who refused to accept heartbreaking educational failures that the responsible government institutions showed no capacity to solve on their own.
By Robert F. Sharpe, Jr.
As the scaffolding is coming down around the Washington Monument, we are reminded of the importance of protecting and preserving America’s iconic symbols.
Many might be surprised to learn that the Washington Monument restoration project was only partially funded by Congress on the condition that public dollars would be matched by private contributions. Fortunately, a generous individual stepped forward with the required matching funds.
House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced Monday that he would not be seeking reelection this year.