Sunday, October 10, 2004

Words Without Deeds

Washington Monthly's Amy Sullivan has a good article on how the GOP and Bush have touted their faith based initiatives, but not delivered. Here's a snip:
Currently, only individuals who itemize their taxes (usually those at the higher end of the income scale) are entitled to deduct their donations to charitable organizations. Bush's proposal was simple: Allow the nearly 85 million non-itemizers to take a charitable tax deduction, while also increasing the amount of money corporations can give tax-free to charities and permitting tax-free charitable donations from individual retirement accounts.


Potential givers and recipients lobbied on behalf of the plan, which the White House sent to Congress in early 2001 as part of its faith-based legislation. Universities, fund-raising associations, religious groups, advocates for the poor, and corporate lobbyists all urged that the provision be included in the tax plan barreling through the usually sluggish legislative process on the Hill. Quickly incorporated, the charitable giving provision seemed destined for speedy enactment and flew through both houses of Congress.


And then the plan that everybody liked, that would have unleashed the armies of compassion with an injection of eighty billion new dollars, ran into one insurmountable obstacle: greed. [...]

"In reality, the bottom line was that their priorities were in the rates, the death tax, marriage penalty, and the child credit," a senior Republican staffer told The Washington Post at the time. The charitable tax deductions were "never high on anyone's list," including the White House's. A Democratic aide involved in the negotiations agreed: "There wasn't a lot of push coming from the White House." Even worse, for advocates of charitable giving, was the fact that the repeal of the estate tax was expected to hurt charities by depriving them of an estimated $6 billion each year from bequests, a traditional way of getting around tax payments.
Words without deeds. Remember this on November 2nd.