Sunday, March 8, 2009
The unprecedented expansion of the state that has occurred under the Obama administration is seen by many simply as a response to an economic crisis. But, each day it becomes clearer that the massive shift of resources from the private to the public sector represents something more profound than simple crisis management; it is Obama's very raison d'être (reason of being).
Obama recently proposed changes to the tax code that will greatly reduce the deductions available to many Americans for making charitable contributions. His plan will start by raising the highest marginal rate from 35% to nearly 40% (for couples earning more than $250,000) and then it will reduce the charitable deduction rate from 35% to 28%. Economists estimate that this will result in at least a $5,000,000,000 reduction in charitable giving. So, by every definition this equals a shift of resources from the private sector and civil society to the state.
Even groups that are supportive of Obama are troubled by these developments. William Daroff, the Vice President of Public Policy for the United Jewish Communities, stated that "numerous studies confirm that any reduction in the tax benefits available for charitable giving will have a significant negative impact on giving...at a time when charities are literally going bankrupt...and we are seeing a huge increase in the demand for social services and a simultaneous decrease in resources to fund programs, governmental policy should be to incentivize charitable donations - not creating more reasons for donors to forgo making contributions."
Anyone who believes that this represents a move towards fiscal responsibility and away from subsidies must be blind, because Obama has raised government spending and subsidies for countless programs. Rather, this reflects Obama's Euro-socialist vision in which charity, social responsibility and individual initiative are outsources to the state. Why should individuals and private organizations strive to help their fellow man, when it's the job of the state to provide food, housing, medicine, mortgages and higher education to all?
On a deeper level this is a manifestation of Obama's BLOB like state that grows and expands through the consumption of all economic and social resources that cross its path. The BLOB started with free enterprise, now it turns to charities, what will it consume next? Stay tuned for the next episode of the BLOB...