Comments about ‘Elder Oaks testifies before Senate committee, defends charitable deductions’

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Published: Tuesday, Oct. 18 2011 2:01 p.m. MDT

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Richie
Saint George, UT

Elder Oaks is probably one of the most brilliant people on the face of the earth. Please listen and read his writings. The Government is ill equipped to render aid to those in need. Giving money and goods to the LDS church, Salvation Army, Boy Scouts of America is worthwhile because their leaders don't skim huge paychecks for themselves and their decision making process is almost instantanious. I am sure other religious organizations operate in the same manner.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

I didn't realize conservatives loved gov't handouts so much (and that's all these tax deductions are).

Mickey
Houston, TX

Kami and DeltaFoxTrot- so what you are saying is the Federal Government is more efficient at administering relief than private non-profits and charities?! That's laughable. Of course the government is more inefficient because it has to rely on PAID employees to administer relief/programs while charities by in large rely on Volunteers! We don't need less charities in this country we need more! I'm for increasing the deduction because right now if you don't go over the standard exemption ($11k) you're already in the same boat as everyone else. Part of the reason they give a tax break for charitable contributions is because it REDUCES the pressure on the Federal Government to provide those same services!
And you want to talk about fair? Is it fair that certain people receive food stamps and welfare who don't really need them? Is it fair that government favors certain special interests (like Solyndra) and gives them guaranteed loans that they'll never pay back? Is it fair that parents who'll never send their kids to college subsidize the parents and kids that do? As long as the government is in charge of doling out the resources, nothing ever will be fair.

Kami
Bountiful, Utah

To Done That and Others,

Actually I think many of you are choosing to look at this issue with blinders on. By allowing a tax deduction for charitable giving, every citizen in this country is being FORCED to support the charities that people are receiving a tax deduction for. That is what is wrong, to me, about the whole aspect of giving the tax deduction. I don't want to have to support the charities my neighbor chooses to deduct, not do I want my neighbor to be forced to support mine. This whole concept of receiving a charitable deduction is not all that old. People gave before it. People will continue to give if it were abolished. Apparently some one you have little faith in whether or not American even have charitable hearts.

Yorkshire
City, Ut

Paul in MD mentioned the word "afford". Sadly, that's what it sometimes comes down to.

Many, of all economic levels, want to be charitable.

Obama's way would reduce the ability of some, to put their hard earned money into programs and causes THEY personally find important--and instead force it to fund programs and causes and Pres. Obama find important.

ClarkKent
Bountiful, Utah

aMEN ATL134 .. but look at how they rationalize. Amazing!

ute alumni
Tengoku, UT

can you spell Katrina?
I'm thrilled that the government will handle all needs of US citizens. They have a stellar record.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

To those that feel by paying to these charities shouldn't be taxed. Well lets take a look at Brad Pitt, Anglie Jolie and many other celebs that pronounce their contributions in the millions of dollars. One they are able to and second it gives them a tax deduction. Both of the names mentioned are liberals who generally will flaunt their money but are generous as well. What do you think would happen if you take away their tax break? Do you really think they will continue to give? There are so many different charities for the celebs to give too. The thing is many give just so they get that tax deduction. Elder Oaks brings out that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints donated around 13 million dollars to the relief effort of Hurricane Katrina. This doesn't include the man hours that were done out of generousity to help clean up and rebuild along the entire Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast. That in and of itself was another million dollars. Taking that a full membership means that every member gave 1 million dollars to the relief effort of Hurricane Katrina.

Cats
Somewhere in Time, UT

To eliminate the charitable deduction is to eliminate many charities. That will in turn make the needy more dependent on the nanny state. That's what socialists want. It will help destroy our nation as we know it.

morpunkt
Glendora, CA

I'm sure the proposed "complicated formula" will include denying less politically correct institutions their duly earned tax exempt status. We all smell a rat in that scheme. Thank you Elder Oaks.

Canuk
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

And how many billions did obama usher out the door a couple of weeks ago to his pet green jobs? I think 7 billion! I do not want to give him any more money until we know where all the rest of the money went. Did it go to his boundlers, his re-election committee, his unions, his pet projects, where exactly? If you look at the amount of donations the dem admin gives - it is a shock, but then a lot of them don't worry about paying their fair share - right Geitner?
If you anti's will get your head on straight and look at all the good that churches and organizations do you would see the money is best used in the communities and not sent to Wasington to take their share!

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Considering that not all those members give donations then for those who do it is greater than that.

We are taught that blessings come to us when we give freely of ourselves. We give because the Lord promises untold blessings shall be given to us. I count as many, one of those blessings is to releave the tax burden we pay at the end of the year.

I wonder how many of you recognize that an individual in the middle class pays anywhere from 10-20 percent of their annual income in taxes to the Government. Additionally they pay about 5-10 percent in state taxes on top of that. This doesn't count the amount paid into Social Security and Medicare of which there is no deduction. Overall most citizens are paying from 15-30% of all income in taxes. These leaves the individual anywhere from 65-85% to spend their own money. However, every time they go to the store they pay a sales tax which is from 4-8% of what they buy. They pay taxes for gasoline, cigarettes, alcohol and other items. They must also pay property taxes for their homes.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Take all of that into consideration and we end up being taxed on 50% of our income nationally. Add in many's charitable contributions and you can see our money basically disappears. You take away this tax break and overall the charitiable contributions across the country will decrease drastically. This means now all of the funding must come through the government. So how do they resolve this problem, increase our Federal Income Tax to what the charitiable contributions would have been. Now all the giving is intangilled in Red tape and the govenment decides who gets what and when. United Way, the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society and others would all of a sudden CEASE to exist. Is that really what you liberals want to get rid of. If so, then see how the rest of the world does and the United States will be a third would country.

Jared
Average, SE

Re: atl134

Is it a handout to receive a tax deduction? It's only a handout if you don't view your money as your money.

Here's what Elder Oaks said about this issue (you say "handout", he says "tax expenditure" - it's the same thing): "Some economists and other scholars contend that this is, in effect, a tax expenditure because tax revenues are reduced by the benefit granted. In other words, because the government could have denied the charitable deduction there is a government expenditure in its granting the deduction and forgoing the revenue. By that reasoning the personal income we think is ours is really the governments because of its choice not to take it away by taxation. That is surely an attitude not shared by most Americans."

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

@Clark Kent - I merely mentioned LDS since this forum is naturally aimed that direction. Certainly there will be others who follow their convictions and continue to pay to churches or charities, but I seriously doubt the numbers will keep up if the deduction is done away with. Many many people look to this deduction as a way to decrease their taxable income, those are the people who will stop giving.

Madden
Herriman, UT

I will still give if the tax deduction is removed, but I can promise you that as a family at the end of the year, we give more because of the deduction - it is built into our budget.

So yes, we should donate, and do it out of the goodness of our hearts, but the exact amount to give is often determined by using simple accounting, and removing the deductions means changing the amount I would give. The math is easy to follow, not sure why so many people on here attack a straw man argument on the topic.

NT
Springville, UT

@atl134 and @ClarkKent

Do a little research...there is a difference between a tax DEDUCTION and a tax CREDIT. A DEDUCTION (unlike the CREDIT) does not result in a "handout" - charitable contributions reduce taxable income, meaning that your tax payment is reduced. It is lumped with other DEDUCTIONS such as your home mortgage interest, certain other taxes paid, certain employee expenses, possibly some medical expenses, etc.

Again, it boils down to who gets to use other people's money to re-distribute. IN approximately 100% of the cases I am aware of, charitable organizations are more efficient AND more effective than the federal government at this.

Of course, if you are one of those who do not make charitable contributions and who rely more on the assistance (redistribution) of the gov't, then I can see why you have the viewpoint that you do.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@Jared
"Is it a handout to receive a tax deduction? It's only a handout if you don't view your money as your money."

Does your tax deduction increase the deficit? Yes. Therefore... it's a handout, just a different type of handout than being given welfare (one is you getting money from the gov't in the form of lower taxes, the other is you getting money in the form of some sort of service/money... both have the same affect on the deficit).

Neuron
Average, SE

I think Madden hit the nail on the head. Earlier there were people stating that we should give without reward (we should but we also need to acknowledge that everything we do has some sort of reward - that's just not the best reason to give). If someone pays tithing, for example, and receives 30% back in tax deductions, then couldn't that person just give that extra money to the church or some other charitable organization? That's the purpose of tax deductions for charitable giving - they encourage giving recursively. NGOs and NPOs are usually more efficient than the government. We might or might not like what a government is doing with our money but with charities we can make sure money goes to causes we really support - whatever those causes are.

The point of Elder Oaks' testimony is that America is unique in part because of its history of giving (something most other countries do not have, at least not to the extent of the U.S.; this is true even for countries with lower tax burdens than the U.S.) The extent of our private giving is unique in the world.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Deduction or not, I'll still pay my tithing.

I don't do it for the tax deduction.
I do it for blessings.
That is the test.
That is the sacrifce.

I see it as putting some feet to the refiners fire.
Sifting the wheat from the tares.

Those who love their money more than God wil stop paying their 10%.

Press on.

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